Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018


Universities across the country have experienced a dramatic increase in free speech conflicts - i.e., an experience of discord between individuals or groups of speakers. These conflicts occur in various forms. For example, members of university communities (e.g., students, staff, or faculty) have protested controversial speakers. Some have called for universities to disinvite controversial speakers. Others have heckled or shouted down speakers. Finally, some members of university communities - usually students - have protested university officials' or other students' expression by occupying buildings, camping or interrupting meetings in order to disseminate their message. It is common to view resolution of these conflicts through a First Amendment lens. That is, when such conflicts arise, we tend to ask whether or how the First Amendment protects the original speaker's rights or, conversely, we frame the conflict as involving one group of speakers censoring another. It is not altogether clear, however, that a First Amendment frame sufficiently addresses these conflicts.



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