Rights of Free Speech and Academic Freedom

Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression School: University of California, Irvine Statement Rating: Green Last updated: March 3, 2017

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Freedom of speech is integral to academic freedom and thus to the mission of a university. A campus must be a place where all ideas can be expressed and discussed. This is especially true in a public university where the First Amendment protects freedom of speech for students and faculty, in and out of the classroom. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter put this well: “A university is characterized by the spirit of free inquiry … It is the business of a university to provide that atmosphere which is most conducive to speculation, experiment and creation.” As Justice William Brennan elaborated: “[A]cademic freedom is of transcendent value to all of us … That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment … The Nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth out of a multitude of tongues, [rather] than through any kind of authoritative selection.”

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