Commentary: The Freedom to Disparage and Be Disparaged

John Wilson
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Gag orders on college campuses are all the rage right now, as Republican legislators seek to ban the discussion of critical race theory and other “divisive concepts” that offend conservative sensibilities. A new PEN America report, “America’s Censored Classrooms,” identified 137 educational gag bills introduced so far in 2022, compared to 54 in 2021, which marked a dramatic increase from previous years.

While these external attempts at censorship make headlines for the dire threat to academic freedom they pose, few academics are aware of the gag orders imposed by colleges themselves.