Academic freedom gives faculty the right to teach, research, and speak about matters of public concern without being punished — even where their views, findings, or methods are controversial. Educators on college and university campuses must be free to speak their minds, ask tough questions, and facilitate learning without the threat of institutional censorship, coercion, or intimidation.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957) that the government should be “extremely reticent to tread” in areas of “academic freedom and political expression.” Chief Justice Earl Warren held that research and scholarship “cannot flourish in an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust,” and that students and faculty “must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.”
FIRE is now my favorite organization in America. Its advice and support in those critical first 24-72 hours of the cancellation campaign against me were crucial in the pushback that ultimately allowed me to survive and thrive.
Too many college campuses silence students who dare exercise their right to free expression. For a more thorough analysis of your expressive rights at colleges and universities, consult FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus.
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