In the past 24 hours, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and his book Unlearning Liberty have received quite a bit of media attention. In a review of Unlearning Liberty published in Newsday yesterday, Cathy Young uses examples from the book to expose the threat to free speech posed by universities enforcing policies that punish students who say something that might offend others:
The focus of "Unlearning Liberty" is the push to censor speech and even thought in the name of political correctness — sensitivity to oppressed groups defined by race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics. While these groups have suffered real and egregious injustice, Lukianoff’s well-documented narrative leaves no doubt that the cure offered by many U.S. colleges is worse than the disease.
In a separate review, Andy Thibault gives Unlearning Liberty high praise and warns readers of The Register Citizen (Conn.) to beware of campus speech codes. "Reading them can put you to sleep," he writes, "but they pose a clear and present danger in the hands of the still-burgeoning and all-too-healthy class of university bureaucrats."
Students are also taking note of Unlearning Liberty. In an op-ed published this morning in the student newspaper for the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Roze Brooks reflects back on a radio-interview panel she sat on with Greg earlier this month for his book:
Listening to Lukianoff list numerous instances at universities around the country at which students were banned from campuses or threatened with legal action by administration for exercising freedom of speech triggered my own concern with trends in higher education and the role UMKC is playing in this borderline-stifling of basic rights.
Roze’s full op-ed is well worth a read. We hope her fellow students read the article and become similarly concerned with UMKC policies that violate students’ rights.
And there’s more to come, too, as Greg will appear on "The Vicki McKenna Show" tonight at 5:35 p.m. Eastern time. If you live in the Madison or Eau Claire, Wisconsin, areas, you can tune in to 1310 WIBA (Madison) or 880 WMEQ (Eau Claire/Menomonee) to hear the interview. If not, both stations offer live online streaming at their websites, WIBA and WMEQ, respectively.