Below is a welcome message sent about two weeks ago by Professor Robert P. George to students in the large undergraduate course on Civil Liberties (Politics 316) that he is teaching this semester. It is preceded by an explanation provided by Professor George, at the request of PFS, of how this message differs from those provided by professors to students in decades past.
First, the explanation:
For most of my three-and-a-half decades of teaching at Princeton, I and my academic colleagues felt no need to say anything about free speech (or self-censorship) in our courses. . . . It was only five or six years ago that I began to perceive an intolerance—even a spirit of authoritarianism. I also began to suspect that students who dissented from dominant views among their peers (and the faculty) were beginning to censor themselves in class discussions and in the broader conversation on campus. They were clearly afraid to express dissent. Colleagues of mine, such as Professor Keith Whittington, Professor John Londregan, Professor Brandice Canes-Wrone, and Professor Sergiu Klainerman were picking up the same signals. . . .
Next, the welcome message . . . .