Commentary: A Good Statement on Faculty Speech from Syracuse

Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: I'm a believer in positive reinforcement, and when university leaders do the right thing they should get credit for doing so. Kent Syverud, the president of Syracuse University and a former law professor, did the right thing. Other university presidents should take notes.

An assistant professor of political science at Syracuse chose to use the anniversary of September 11th to make a point about "heteropatriarchal capitalist systems." Her tweet generated some backlash. The university responded as universities should in such cases—by defending free speech and avoiding any temptation to praise or condemn the professorial speech in question. The statement in this case echoes the language Syverud used to defend a different faculty member a few years ago who drew controversy over her remarks in response an "anti-Sharia Law" protest.