In 2012, the University Chicago released a Statement on Principles of Free Expression, which is an antidote to activist demands that institutions of higher learning disinvite, shut down, or shout down invited campus speakers like Heather Mac Donald, a wrong-thinker on Black Lives Matter, or Christian Hoff Sommers, a wrong-thinker on feminism.

Episodes like those above are relatively rare—the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) counted 42 in the record year of 2016. And as the political scientist Jeffrey Sachs points out, controversial conservative speakers, including some fringe figures, sometimes tell us, at length and without interruption, how repressive universities are from behind podiums provided by colleges and universities. Still, it can hardly be doubted that even a small number of shout-downs can make those of us who arrange speaker visits think twice about inviting valuable speakers like Mac Donald and Sommers.


To read more, please subscribe or sign in.

Choose your plan and pay nothing for six Weeks!

For a very limited time, we are extending a six-week free trial on both our subscription plans. Put your intellectual life in order while you can.

start your 6-week free trial