College Alums Must Speak Up for Campus Free Speech

Edward Yingling & Stuart Taylor, Jr. [PFS Secretary-Treasurer and President]

Excerpt: Free speech is very much in today’s headlines, especially with the outraged demands for technology companies to banish -- or not -- from their platforms speech they consider incitements to violence or hateful. But the greater danger may be the hostility within our colleges and universities to the free speech and academic freedom of faculty and students, and even alumni, who dissent from the views dominant on campuses today. Surveys show that a high, and growing, number of college students are opposed to free speech and to what the Supreme Court has called the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” As Princeton alumni and lawyers who have a strong belief in the vital importance of free speech, we have recently co-founded Princetonians for Free Speech. We have started by appealing mainly to alumni because they are the only university stakeholders who have the numbers and the capability to defend these basic freedoms effectively in campus environments where students and faculty who openly support free speech are outnumbered and outgunned by those who oppose it. But we hope to find allies among faculty and students as well.