Free Speech vs. Political Correctness on College Campuses

November 11, 2015

By Staff at Here & Now

Its been a busy week for college protesters. On Tuesday, hundreds marched at Yale University, protesting alleged racial insensitivity on campus. This came after student anger was raised to the boiling point when a sociology professor and his wife, both of whom oversee a student residence, emailed students saying it might be reasonable not to ban Halloween costumes that some consider offensive, but instead to use them as an opportunity for dialogue.

At the University of Missouri, both Chancellor R. Brown Loftin and President Tim Wolfestepped down as protests over alleged systemic racism and bias escalated to include a hunger strike and the football team refusing to play.

While many applaud the student actions, some are questioning whether the climate of sensitivity on college campuses has evolved into a climate of over-sensitivity, where students are considered fragile and unable to cope with opinions that make them even slightly uncomfortable.

Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, wrote a recent piece in The Atlantic called “The Coddling of the American Mind.” While Lukianoff recognizes and opposes racism, bullying and threats, he maintains that many students and administrators have taken the concept of “student comfort” too far.

Lukianoff joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the concept of college “coddling,” and how it’s affecting students.

Schools: Yale University Cases: Yale University: Protesters at Yale Threaten Free Speech, Demand Apologies and Resignations from Faculty Members Over Halloween Email