On Wednesday night, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff debated University of Wisconsin Professor Howard Schweber on “Political Correctness, Academic Speech, and Free Speech on Campus” at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The Badger Herald reported that the debate went very well. Greg came to the defense of free speech—even when the expressive form of the speech might be found offensive. Prof. Schweber posited that while all viewpoints are welcome, some forms of speech are unacceptable. He distinguished, for example, between “f*ck you” and “f*ck the draft.” Greg argued that if you give administrators the power to police speech they deem “impolite,” you will likely discover that they only punish points of view with which they disagree. Greg cited numerous FIRE cases to debunk the idea that colleges should be imbued with the power to censor in the name of propriety, civility, or politeness, pointing out that these are often simply excuses for viewpoint discrimination.