March 28, 2021
If you’ve been following the seemingly endless battles on college campuses over free speech, you may have noticed that professors are a frequent target of censorship and complaint. Sometimes this because students object to curriculum and sometimes the infraction is as trivial as a professor sending a a “problematic” tweet. The recently launched Academic Freedom Alliance seeks to help educators navigate these waters. Its chair, constitutional law scholar and political science professor Keith Whittington, is Meghan’s guest this week. Keith talked why an organization like the AFA is so necessary right now, how academia has changed over the course of his career, and why it’s important to remember that speech suppressions comes from the political right as well as the activist left. He also talked about why professors are often inclined to apologize or try to explain themselves when that’s often the worst thing you can do when you the mob comes after you.
Keith Whittington is a Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and Chair of the Academic Committee of the Academic Freedom Alliance. He writes about American constitutional law, politics and history and American political thought. He is the author of several books, including Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech. You can find the Academic Freedom Alliance at academicfreedom.org