Universities have a distinctive and important mission in American society. They assemble and nurture an open and diverse community of scholars, teachers and students dedicated to the production and dissemination of knowledge. The robust protection of free speech and civil discourse is essential to that mission. Better understanding the relationship between the critical functions of the university and the principles of free speech can help guide us in resolving the difficult challenges that confront the members of modern universities.
Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He writes about American constitutional law, politics and history and American political thought. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law, is a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, and is currently a fellow with the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin and completed his Ph.D. in political science at Yale University. His most recent books include Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech and Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present.