Freedom of Speech https://mag.uchicago.edu/tags/freedom-speech en Free speech law at 100 https://mag.uchicago.edu/speechcentury <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/19_Winter_Free-Speech.jpg" width="1877" height="1300" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Illustration by Phil Foster/Theispot)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Winter/19</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Two constitutional scholars weigh 21st-century challenges to the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>In 1919 the Supreme Court decided </em>Schenck v. United States<em>, its first decision on the First Amendment. The court’s unanimous ruling in the wartime case allowed the punishment of socialist Charles T. Schenck for distributing pamphlets urging men to resist the draft. Freedom of speech, wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes for the majority, could be restricted if the speech presented “a clear and present danger.”</em></p> <p><em>Over the next 100 years, First Amendment law has grappled with ever-changing communications technology and evolving dilemmas. In </em>The Free Speech Century <em>(Oxford University Press, 2019), edited by Law School professor <strong>Geoffrey R. Stone</strong>, JD’71, and Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger, they and 16 scholars, including UChicago faculty members <strong>David A. Strauss</strong>,<strong> Laura Weinrib</strong>, and <strong>Tom Ginsburg</strong>, examine the past and future of the free speech doctrine in the United States and around the world. Strauss and Stone discussed our free speech moment at the Seminary Co-op in January. This extract from their conversation has been edited and condensed.—</em>Laura Demanski, AMʼ94</p> <h4><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KV9dkDVGQ1BRmb9IoJ45chRRBi3Nl2o2/preview">Listen to the full conversation »</a></strong></h4> <hr /><p><strong>STRAUSS</strong> Lots of times when people say the such-and-such century, like the American Century, they mean it’s over—that this was a golden age but now we’re at least worried that the era is coming to an end. Is either part of that what you had in mind, or what you think is true?</p> <p><strong>STONE</strong> It’s actually not what we had in mind. But there’s no doubt that we are living through a period in which many of the basic precepts of the First Amendment, as it developed over time, are called into question by changes in the nature of the media.</p> <p>When people our age grew up, most Americans got their news and information from mainstream sources that were reasonably trustworthy and reliable. The <em>Wall Street Journal </em>disagreed with the <em>New York Times</em>, and the <em>Nation</em> disagreed with the <em>National Review</em>, but they all more or less were responsible about the ways in which they characterized and reported the facts.</p> <p>With the invention of radio, Congress imposed the fairness doctrine, which provided that if you got a license to operate a radio or television station, you were under legal obligation to cover public affairs and public matters in a fair and balanced way. Even though the fairness doctrine was repealed under the Reagan administration, if you go to ABC, PBS, or the <em>New York Times</em> you generally see a fairly responsible, mainstream approach, even though nothing in the law requires them to do that.</p> <p>But cable was never subject to the fairness doctrine. You suddenly saw things for the first time like MSNBC and FOX News. And then with social media, we see a kind of tribalism in which many individuals get their news and information from what one would have to say are highly unreliable, highly ideological sources that lead them to be deeply polarized in their views, and even in their understanding of what the real facts are.</p> <p>The First Amendment was based upon the notion of a free marketplace of ideas in which people would responsibly get access to information, ideas, and different opinions, and be able to debate them with one another and come to some sensible conclusions. But the tribalism that we’re now seeing raises serious questions about whether those basic assumptions can be carried into the future.</p> <p><strong>STRAUSS</strong> One optimistic story—which I’m not sure I subscribe to—goes something like this: We’ve accommodated new media for the last 100 years. We take some of these things for granted, but they were big innovations when they happened. Maybe social media, too, will be something where the doctrine, law, and our attitudes toward free speech will adapt a little, but the basics won’t change. Do you buy that?</p> <p><strong>STONE</strong> I’d like to have that degree of optimism, but I do think, in terms of your story, we don’t know what would have happened if Congress hadn’t intervened [with the fairness doctrine]. Should there be government intervention in the social media world? The irony is, when social media came into being, government provided a very different set of rules than we have for radio, television, newspapers, or anything else.</p> <p>The <em>New York Times</em> and ABC are liable for what they allow to be presented in their forum. In social media, Congress did the opposite. It said these platforms are basically intermediaries that enable the individual to reach other individuals. Therefore, they’re not liable. We don’t want them censoring what individuals can say, right? You could be sued if you put something on social media that defames or threatens somebody. But Facebook and Twitter can’t. There’s increasing desire to have government intervene, and pressure on these platforms to screen what people can say—the exact opposite of what the original conception was.</p> <p><strong>STRAUSS</strong> One kind of simplistic, almost caricature of the First Amendment and the American system of free speech is that, yes, private parties do all kinds of bad things, but the real threat comes from the government. Is that fair, and do we need to change that attitude?</p> <p><strong>STONE</strong> The basis of all constitutional rights are rights against the government. So there’s an irony in suddenly relying upon the government to solve a problem in an area in which we’re very suspicious of it, right? On one hand, the fundamental concern of the First Amendment is distrust of government. But on the other, there are circumstances where trust of government may be better than distrust if we are giving it very limited powers and monitoring to make sure they enforce those powers in an appropriate way.</p> <p>The fairness doctrine, I think, was a great success. Is there any way to replicate something like that in the world of social media? I’m very suspicious of it. I’m not sure I could draw model legislation that I would be comfortable with. But I do think that, left to its own devices, social media carries a different set of dangers than radio and television did. If you reach a situation where citizens are unwilling to hear competing positions, then you’ve got a real problem about the whole premise of having a First Amendment.</p> <p>David’s piece in the book raises another interesting set of issues about the current era in terms of national security and keeping government secrets.</p> <p><strong>STRAUSS</strong> My piece is about what you do with information that the government unquestionably has a right to try to keep secret—classified national security information, for example. In the Pentagon Papers case, Daniel Ellsberg, a private contractor working for the Defense Department, handed over a stack of papers about the origins of the Vietnam War to the <em>New York Times</em>. They were classified. He could have been fired. The government did prosecute him, but the prosecution was unsuccessful for various reasons.</p> <p>The Nixon administration sued the <em>Times</em> to try to get an injunction against their publishing it and lost. The Supreme Court said, “No, they’re entitled to publish it even though it’s classified information.” Now, that’s an odd equilibrium. If the government can successfully keep it from being leaked, then it stays secret. But once it’s leaked, it’s gone. It kind of worked, because it was actually really hard to leak. Ellsberg had to smuggle physical pieces of paper out of his job to a friend’s photocopying machine.</p> <p>It also worked because the media then were the <em>Times</em>, the <em>Washington Post</em>, and the major broadcast networks. If you wanted to reach a national, much less global, audience, they had to publish your stuff. And they were conscientious people; the <em>Times</em> spent months reviewing the Pentagon Papers to make sure none of the stuff was really damaging. Some of it, they didn’t publish.</p> <p>You can see how the world has changed. You don’t have to be Ellsberg, who was a real insider. You just have to be the IT guy—and of course, that’s not fictional—and have a thumb drive. Then you have the internet and it gives you the world. We need a new way of thinking about those problems.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/freedom-speech" hreflang="en">Freedom of Speech</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/first-amendment" hreflang="en">First Amendment</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/law-school" hreflang="en">Law School</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/speechcentury" data-a2a-title="Free speech law at 100"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fspeechcentury&amp;title=Free%20speech%20law%20at%20100"></a></span> Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:40:55 +0000 admin 7046 at https://mag.uchicago.edu #Fakenews and free speech—in 1967 https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/fakenews-and-free-speech-1967 <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18_Winter_Golus_FakeNews.jpg" width="2000" height="1114" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Wed, 01/31/2018 - 14:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Wayne C. Booth’s books include <em>The Rhetoric of Fiction</em> (1961), <em>Now Don’t Try to Reason with Me: Essays and Ironies from a Secular Age</em> (1970), and <em>For the Love of It: Amateuring and Its Rivals</em> (1999). (UChicago Photographic Archive, University of Chicago Library)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/wayne-c-booth-am47-phd50-0"> <a href="/author/wayne-c-booth-am47-phd50-0"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Wayne C. Booth, AM’47, PhD’50</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/core" hreflang="en">The Core</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Winter/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Fifty years ago, Wayne C. Booth, AM’47, PhD’50, gave an eerily prescient speech.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>Excerpted from “‘Now Don’t Try to Reason with Me’: Rhetoric Today, Left, Right, and Center,” originally published in the </em>University of Chicago Magazine<em>, November and December, 1967. Wayne C. Booth, AM’47, PhD’50 (1921–2005), then dean of the College and the George M. Pullman Professor of English, gave this talk to students as part of a 1966–67 series sponsored by Student Government.</em></p> <hr /><p>When I first began teaching English, I saw myself taking up the weapons of reason against a world committed to emotionalism, illogical appeals, and rhetorical trickery—a world full of vicious advertisers and propagandists determined to corrupt the young minds I was determined to save.</p> <p>Now, as a professor of rhetoric and dean of a liberal arts college, I may seem still to present myself in the same melodramatic light: the valiant champion of rationality against the forces of darkness.</p> <p>Let me at least begin bravely, with a defense of reason that implies more clarity than I feel about how men ought to proceed when they set out to change each other’s minds. The defense begins with the claim that we are in a time of intellectual crisis, a time when confidence in reason is so low that most men no longer try to provide good reasons for what they believe. The very notion that such forms of proof are desirable, or even obtainable, is under scathing attack.</p> <p><strong>Everyone knows</strong> that journalism has been transformed in recent years, especially in the news magazines, right and left, from reportage into new forms of paralogical rhetoric: political argument disguised as dramatic reporting. It would be fun to spend the rest of my hour simply describing the new rhetorical devices, and the new twists on old devices, that <em>Time</em> magazine exhibits from week to week, all in the name of news. Mr. Ralph Ingersoll, former publisher of the magazine, has described the key to the magazine’s success as the discovery of how to turn news into fiction, giving each story its own literary form, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, regardless of whether the story thus invented matches the original event. “The way to tell a successful lie is to include enough truth in it to make it believable—and <em>Time</em> is the most successful liar of our time.”</p> <p><strong>Another good instance</strong> of this same kind of transformation of journalism into degraded rhetoric is the magazine <em>Fact</em>, a collection of shrill exposés, most of them with a touch of scandal and few of them providing enough solid evidence or argument. “A Psychoanalytical Study of Baseball,” “A Study of Wife-Swapping in California,” an argument that Goldwater (1) has been declared insane by thousands of psychiatrists (yet if you look closely at the evidence here it turns out to mean far less than the headlines claimed)—why, it’s as hard to read <em>Fact</em> as it is to read <em>Time</em>.</p> <p><strong>What I think</strong> I have been revealing here are a few examples of a world in which men show little esteem for logic, little respect for facts, no faith in anyone’s ability to use thought or discourse to arrive at improved judgments, commitments, and first principles.</p> <p>My point is not to indict either the left or the right, but to plead for the very fragile twin values of honest inquiry and honest rhetoric. These values are under steady attack, both in theory and in practice, by men of both left and right—some of them presumably sincere, some of them no doubt knaves.</p> <p>Wherever men find themselves too impatient to think together about their problems, wherever immediate action based on unity becomes more important than men’s determination to achieve genuine unity by discovering the truth together, my twin values disappear—often never to reappear. They always disappear in a major war. They disappear in any society whenever enough men decide that political victory is worth whatever it costs.</p> <p>I would not want to suggest that my twin values are the supreme values for mankind, or that I would never be willing to risk them for other values. Though it is fairly easy to show historically that most revolutionary efforts work more harm than good, I can think of situations when I would want to stop talking and start overthrowing: Nazi Germany in 1940, say, or Boston in 1775.</p> <p>Man was traditionally known as the rational animal; in that view reason was of man’s very essence. But it takes no great learning to remind us that much that we think of as distinctively human—love, poetry, martyrdom—can present itself in forms that seem to violate reason—or perhaps to transcend it. We can quote Pascal, who said that the heart can be turned on by reasons that reason cannot dig—or words to that effect. Tertullian is supposed to have said that he embraced his religious belief just because it was absurd. The young student who is impatient with the cautious weighings and probings and refusals of commitment that go on within every university is plainly in one great tradition of mistrust of reason that all of us must feel at one time or another.</p> <p><strong>Plato said</strong> that the worst fate that can befall a man is to become a misologist, a hater of reason; for him it was clear that since man is essentially reasonable, when he ceases to reason he ceases to be a man. I happen to believe this unfashionable doctrine. I also believe that when any society loses its capacity to debate its ends and means rationally, it ceases to be a society and becomes instead a mob, or pack, or a herd of creatures rather less noble than most animals. In America in recent years we have seen far too many of such herds—self-righteous fanatics who know without listening that the speaker is wrong. There are many of our universities, so-called, where Karl Marx, say, or Miss Aptheker (2) would be booed from the platform, even if the administration were to allow them to speak.</p> <p>And on the other hand there have been some disturbing instances lately of left-wing students in first-class universities booing a speaker into silence. Whatever defenses may be offered for such rhetoric—the rhetoric of shouting a man down—it is not the rhetoric of a student. It is one mark of an honest man, as it should be the mark of an educated man, that he tries not to use a double standard in judging his friends and his enemies. Self-righteous bullying fanatics are self-righteous bullying fanatics, and they are as much a threat to the central values we defend when they bully on our side as when they bully on our enemy’s.</p> <p><strong>Our hold on reason</strong> is precarious; our institutions for giving it a chance are highly fragile. It would not really be surprising if 50 years from now no one in America will even know what I’m talking about tonight—such a transformation would not be greater than many that history has known. Men in that time would know something that most of you do not know—what it feels like never to be able to follow a thought where it might lead, openly, publicly.</p> <p>Whether we move toward that genuine garrison state, that really total institutionalization of the mind, will depend in part, in very small but very real part, on how many of us here can manage—not in sermons like this, which are easy superficial substitutes for the day by day thinking that counts, but in our life as teachers and students—to reason together about what we care for most.</p> <hr /><h4>(1) Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater sued <em>Fact</em> magazine over its publication of a 1964 survey of psychiatrists in which half claimed he was mentally unfit to be president. Afterward the American Psychiatric Association issued the so-called Goldwater rule, forbidding psychiatrists from commenting on people they have not examined.</h4> <h4>(2) Bettina Aptheker (b. 1944), political activist, radical feminist, then member of the Communist Party USA; now a distinguished professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.</h4> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/arts-humanities" hreflang="en">Arts &amp; Humanities</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/freedom-speech" hreflang="en">Freedom of Speech</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/journalism" hreflang="en">Journalism</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/arts-humanities/fakenews-and-free-speech-1967" data-a2a-title="#Fakenews and free speech—in 1967"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Farts-humanities%2Ffakenews-and-free-speech-1967&amp;title=%23Fakenews%20and%20free%20speech%E2%80%94in%201967"></a></span> Wed, 31 Jan 2018 20:40:09 +0000 admin 6738 at https://mag.uchicago.edu A crucible for confronting ideas https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/crucible-confronting-ideas <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1611_Zimmer_Crucible-confronting-ideas.png" width="1600" height="743" alt="Robert J. Zimmer" title="Robert J. Zimmer" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/03/2016 - 16:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>President Robert J. Zimmer. (Photography by Jason Smith)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/robert-j-zimmer"> <a href="/author/robert-j-zimmer"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Robert J. Zimmer</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/16</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas,” writes president Robert J. Zimmer. </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Free speech is at risk at the very institution where it should be assured: the university. Invited speakers are disinvited because a segment of a university community deems them offensive, while other orators are shouted down for similar reasons. Demands are made to eliminate readings that might make some students uncomfortable. Individuals are forced to apologize for expressing views that conflict with prevailing perceptions. In many cases, these efforts have been supported by university administrators.</p> <p>Yet what is the value of a university education without encountering, reflecting on, and debating ideas that differ from the ones that students brought with them to college? The purpose of a university education is to provide the critical pathway by which students can fulfill their potential, change the trajectory of their families, and build healthier and more inclusive societies. Students learn not only through the acquisition of specific knowledge but also through the attainment of intellectual skills that serve them their entire life. Students come to appreciate context, trade-offs, and data. They master how to recognize complexity, to argue effectively for their positions, and to reconsider and challenge their own beliefs.</p> <p>Students discover, too, that seemingly straightforward phenomena can have complicated cultural, historical, and situational contexts that are critical to understanding their meaning. They realize that actions inevitably have multiple implications and that many decisions involve not simply choosing between “good” or “bad” but evaluating a set of consequences and uncertainties, both desired and undesired.</p> <p>Students grasp the complexity of collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and deriving meaning from evidence of multiple forms. They learn to imagine alternatives, to test their hypotheses, and to question the accepted wisdom. A good education gives students the intellectual skills and approaches essential to success in much of human endeavor.</p> <p>One word summarizes the process by which universities impart these skills: questioning. Productive and informed questioning involves challenging assumptions, arguments, and conclusions. It calls for multiple and diverse perspectives and listening to the views of others. It requires understanding the power and limitations of arguments. More fundamentally, the process of questioning demands an ability to rethink one’s own assumptions, often the most difficult task of all.</p> <p>Essential to this process is an environment that promotes free expression and the open exchange of ideas, ensuring that difficult questions are asked and that diverse and challenging perspectives are considered. This underscores the importance of diversity among students, faculty, and visitors—diversity of background, belief, and experience. Without this, students’ experience becomes a weak imitation of a true education, and the value of that education is seriously diminished.</p> <p>Free expression and the unfettered exchange of ideas do not always come naturally. Many people value the right to express their own ideas but are less committed to granting that right to others.</p> <p>Over the years, universities have come under attack from a range of groups, both external and internal, that demand the silencing of speakers, faculty, students, and visitors. The attack is sometimes driven by a desire of an individual or group not to have its authority questioned. Other times it derives from a group’s moral certainty that its particular values, beliefs, or approaches are the only correct ones and that others should adhere to the group’s views. Some assert that universities should be refuges from intellectual discomfort and that their own discomfort with conflicting and challenging views should override the value of free and open discourse.</p> <p>We have seen efforts to suppress discussion of Charles Darwin’s work, to insist upon particular political perspectives during the McCarthy era, to impose exclusionary acts of racial and religious discrimination, and to demand compliance with various forms of “moral” behavior. The silencing being advocated today is equally as problematic. Every attempt to legitimize silencing creates justification for others to restrain speech that they do not like in the future.</p> <p>Universities should be clear about their core educational mission—to provide students with the most enriching education possible. We cannot shortchange our students. This means that questioning and challenge must flourish.</p> <p>Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas and thereby learning to make informed judgments in complex environments. Having one’s assumptions challenged and experiencing the discomfort that sometimes accompanies this process are intrinsic parts of an excellent education. Only then will students develop the skills necessary to build their own futures and contribute to society.</p> <hr /><p><em>This column originally appeared in the</em> Wall Street Journal <em>on August 26, 2016.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/university-news" hreflang="en">University News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/freedom-speech" hreflang="en">Freedom of Speech</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/agenda" hreflang="en">On the Agenda</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/crucible-confronting-ideas" data-a2a-title="A crucible for confronting ideas"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Funiversity-news%2Fcrucible-confronting-ideas&amp;title=A%20crucible%20for%20confronting%20ideas"></a></span> Thu, 03 Nov 2016 21:28:41 +0000 jmiller 6038 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Opening inquiry https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/opening-inquiry <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1508_Demanski_Opening-inquiry.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/09/2015 - 15:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Photo courtesy <a href="http://freeexpression.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">freeexpression.uchicago.edu</a>)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <a href="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Demanski, AM’94</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">July–Aug/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>As free expression comes under challenge on some campuses, the University’s affirmation of a long-standing value may become a model for higher education.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In July 2014 President <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/page/about-president-zimmer" target="_blank">Robert J. Zimmer</a> and Provost <a href="https://provost.uchicago.edu/about.shtml" target="_blank">Eric D. Isaacs</a> asked law professor and free speech expert <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/stone-g" target="_blank">Geoffrey R. Stone</a>, JD’71, to lead a faculty committee on freedom of expression. Moved to act by “recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse,” they charged the group with drafting a statement articulating <a href="http://www.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">UChicago</a>’s “overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.”</p> <p>Joining Stone on the committee were six senior faculty members representing the <a href="https://college.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">College</a>, all four divisions, and three professional schools. “The University of Chicago has always been committed to creating an environment of open discussion and debate, and we believed that the University would benefit from a formal statement delineating our support of this principle,” President Zimmer said. “This commitment is essential to scholarship at the highest levels.”</p> <p>The report has already made an impact on the national discussion of free expression on campuses. It was published, for instance, in the Spring 2015 <em>Bulletin</em> of the <a href="https://www.amacad.org" target="_blank">American Academy of Arts and Sciences</a>. It opens by citing affirmations of freedom of expression by leaders throughout the University’s history, from <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/directory/william-rainey-harper" target="_blank">William Rainey Harper</a> in 1902 to <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/directory/robert-maynard-hutchins" target="_blank">Robert Maynard Hutchins</a> in the 1930s to <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/directory/edward-h-levi" target="_blank">Edward H. Levi</a>, LAB’28, PhB’32, JD’35, in the 1960s to <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/directory/hanna-holborn-gray" target="_blank">Hanna Holborn Gray</a> in 2012. Though deeply grounded in the culture of this institution, the report (shorn of the UChicago particulars) has been adopted by other schools. In April the faculty at <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/main/" target="_blank">Princeton University</a> <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S42/84/36I47/index.xml?section=topstories" target="_blank">voted</a> to incorporate much of its language into the school’s campus code of conduct. <a href="http://www.purdue.edu" target="_blank">Purdue University</a> followed suit in May, also using largely the same wording. “We didn’t see how we could improve on the language,” Purdue president <a href="http://www.purdue.edu/president/about/" target="_blank">Mitch Daniels</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/15/purdue-free-speech-chicago-principles_n_7278716.html" target="_blank">told</a> the <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com" target="_blank">Huffington Post</a></em>. That article referred to the values articulated in the statement as the “Chicago Principles,” a name that has since appeared in other media reports.</p> <p>“I hope that more and more universities adopt the so-called Chicago Principles and abide by them in spite of the difficulties in securing open discourse when many oppose it,” committee member <a href="https://astro.uchicago.edu/people/angela-v-olinto.php" target="_blank">Angela Olinto</a> said. The importance of free expression, Gray added, “needs to be reiterated over time” in academic communities. “The issue arises under new circumstances, new contexts, new problems that sometimes come into being.”</p> <p>The process of drafting the report was harmonious. “We did a lot of editing of each other’s words,” Stone says, “but fundamentally it was a pretty strong and clear consensus from early on about the direction.” Meeting every few weeks, the committee analyzed a number of hypothetical situations to ensure the final language would take into account the many complexities involved and provide sound principles for navigating a wide range of cases.</p> <p>They consulted widely with colleagues on and off campus: dean of students in the University Michele Rasmussen, other administrators who work closely with students, and staff in the legal counsel and College housing offices. Rasmussen arranged for the committee to meet with a few dozen students, again drawn from across campus. The students voiced “very different perspectives,” Stone says—including concern about balancing freedom of expression with an inclusive and safe campus climate.</p> <p>Although agreeing that universities should encourage civil discourse, Stone says that this should not cause “any sacrifice of the essential freedom to debate ideas, however offensive they may be to some members of the community.” The statement acknowledges “narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression,” including violations of the law and expression that constitutes a threat to others’ safety or harassment. On campus, as in US law, some limits are necessary, Stone says, but “in the context of public and academic discourse, our view is that the University should bend over very far backwards to defend the freedom of expression.”</p> <p>So the University has done throughout its 125 years, making it a natural leader on this issue of national importance. “I think Chicago has been, over its history, extremely courageous about defending a culture that is aggressively protective of academic freedom and of freedom of expression,” Stone says. “It has defined itself in those terms.”</p> <hr> <h2><strong><a href="http://freeexpression.uchicago.edu/sites/freeexpression.uchicago.edu/files/FOECommitteeReport.pdf" target="_blank">Report</a> of the Committee on Freedom of Expression</strong></h2> <p><em>The Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago was appointed in July 2014 by President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost <a href="https://provost.uchicago.edu/about.shtml" target="_blank">Eric D. Isaacs</a> “in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse.” The Committee’s charge was to draft a statement “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.”</em></p> <p><em>The Committee has carefully reviewed the University’s history, examined events at other institutions, and consulted a broad range of individuals both inside and outside the University. This statement reflects the long-standing and distinctive values of the University of Chicago and affirms the importance of maintaining and, indeed, celebrating those values for the future.</em></p> <p>From its very founding, the University of Chicago has dedicated itself to the preservation and celebration of the freedom of expression as an essential element of the University’s culture. In 1902, in his address marking the University’s decennial, President William Rainey Harper declared that “the principle of complete freedom of speech on all subjects has from the beginning been regarded as fundamental in the University of Chicago” and that “this principle can neither now nor at any future time be called in question.”</p> <p>Thirty years later, a student organization invited William Z. Foster, the Communist Party’s candidate for President, to lecture on campus. This triggered a storm of protest from critics both on and off campus. To those who condemned the University for allowing the event, President Robert M. Hutchins responded that “our students … should have freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself.” He insisted that the “cure” for ideas we oppose “lies through open discussion rather than through inhibition.” On a later occasion, Hutchins added that “free inquiry is indispensable to the good life, that universities exist for the sake of such inquiry, [and] that without it they cease to be universities.”</p> <p>In 1968, at another time of great turmoil in universities, President Edward H. Levi, in his inaugural address, celebrated “those virtues which from the beginning and until now have characterized our institution.” Central to the values of the University of Chicago, Levi explained, is a profound commitment to “freedom of inquiry.” This freedom, he proclaimed, “is our inheritance.”</p> <p>More recently, President Hanna Holborn Gray observed that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.”</p> <p>The words of Harper, Hutchins, Levi, and Gray capture both the spirit and the promise of the University of Chicago. Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University of Chicago fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community “to discuss any problem that presents itself.”</p> <p>Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.</p> <p>The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas.</p> <p>In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.</p> <p>As a corollary to the University’s commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the University community must also act in conformity with the principle of free expression. Although members of the University community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, the University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.</p> <p>As Robert M. Hutchins observed, without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university. The University of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to this principle lies at the very core of our University’s greatness. That is our inheritance, and it is our promise to the future.</p> <h2><strong>Committee on Freedom of Expression</strong></h2> <p><strong><a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/stone-g" target="_blank">Geoffrey R. Stone</a></strong>, JD’71, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Chair</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/b/marianne-bertrand" target="_blank">Marianne Bertrand</a></strong>, Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Chicago Booth</p> <p><strong><a href="https://astro.uchicago.edu/people/angela-v-olinto.php" target="_blank">Angela Olinto</a></strong>, Homer J. Livingston Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.uchospitals.edu/physicians/mark-siegler.html" target="_blank">Mark Siegler</a></strong>, MD’67, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/strauss" target="_blank">David A. Strauss</a></strong>, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law</p> <p><strong><a href="http://english.uchicago.edu/faculty/warren" target="_blank">Kenneth W. Warren</a></strong>, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English and the College</p> <p><strong><a href="http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/woodward.shtml" target="_blank">Amanda Woodward</a></strong>, William S. Gray Professor, Department of Psychology and the College</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/university-news" hreflang="en">University News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/freedom-speech" hreflang="en">Freedom of Speech</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/freedom-expression" hreflang="en">Freedom of Expression</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/debate" hreflang="en">Debate</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/university-history-0" hreflang="en">University history</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“<a href="../law-policy-society/who-charlie" target="_self">Who Is Charlie?</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, web exclusive, 03.10.2015) “<a href="http://uchiblogo.uchicago.edu/archives/2009/05/kalven_calling.html" target="_blank">Kalven Calling</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, <em>UChiBLOGo</em>, 05.21.2009)</p> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/opening-inquiry" data-a2a-title="Opening inquiry"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Funiversity-news%2Fopening-inquiry&amp;title=Opening%20inquiry"></a></span> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:44:09 +0000 jmiller 4823 at https://mag.uchicago.edu