heterodox: the blog
Praising the UC Berkeley Chancellor Statement on Free Speech
New UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ issued a powerful statement on the value of free speech on campus to students, faculty, and staff. Many points echo both the mission of Heterodox Academy and the sources we use as inspiration.
After the events in Charlottesville, free speech is again in the news. Chancellor Christ cites its importance to both those on and off campus in saying, “The public expression of many sharply divergent points of view is fundamental both to our democracy and to our mission as a university.” She then quotes John Stuart Mill for justification. As we write this, we are in the final stages of preparing an illustrated version of Chapter 2 from On Libertythat we believe will help forward both Chancellor Christ and Heterodox Academy’s shared vision for dialogue as an antidote to current discord.
What makes the Chancellor’s essay of particular note is her strong defense of the need to hear views with which you disagree:
Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.
May her words ring out on every campus.
About heterodox: the blog
As an organization that prizes pluralism and disagreement — with 5000+ members holding diverse views on most issues — Heterodox Academy almost never takes positions as an organization on current events and controversies. Opinions expressed here are those of the author(s). Publication does not imply endorsement by Heterodox Academy or any of its members. We encourage readers to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — and to join in the conversation on those forums — to weigh in on this or other posts.
Heterodox: the blog is a platform for academics, researchers, professors, and students to share the challenges they face within their academic communities through both analysis and actionable solutions. We aspire to have every reader walk away with a richer understanding of the challenges of the university environment, as well as practical tools and techniques for addressing them. Interested in contributing? Please see our submission guidelines.