Many colleges and universities are struggling to strike a balance between protecting free speech as a way of supporting their goal of academic freedom and promoting civility as a way of creating an environment where students can learn and faculty members can teach and conduct research. There have been numerous recent incidents of audiences shouting down speakers, burning books, and demanding that specific students be expelled or faculty members be terminated. In this highly fractious environment, schools are wondering “What works?” when seeking to attain the twin goals of permitting unrestricted speech but insisting on rules of decorum for debate and the exchange of perspectives. This book explores what schools have actually attempted, in some cases successfully and in some cases not successfully, to address these issues. It concludes that there are three primary strategies that tend to be effective: treating challenges to free speech and campus civility as “teachable moments”; exploring hypothetical scenarios with students, faculty members, and administrators before there is a serious incident; and approaching free speech and campus civility across the curriculum. The book also surveys United States case law on the topics of free speech, academic freedom, the right to protest, and similar subjects so as to provide faculty members and administrators with a concise resource filled with practical and accurate information.
Jeffrey L. Buller is a senior partner in ATLAS: Academic Training, Leadership, and Assessment Services. He has served in administrative positions ranging from department chair to vice president for academic affairs at four very different institutions: Loras College, Georgia Southern University, Mary Baldwin College, and Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of twenty-one other books on education leadership, a textbook for first year college students, and a book of essays on the music dramas of Richard Wagner.
Robert E. Cipriano is former chair and professor emeritus of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. He has a doctorate in therapeutic recreation, with an area of concentration in college teaching. He is the author of five books, one on collegiality in higher education, one on the Special Olympics, and three books on academic leadership in higher education.
Foreword by Charles J. Russo
Chapter 1: The Conflict of Free Speech and Campus Civility
Chapter 2: The Free Speech Movement and Its Impact
Chapter 3: The Teachable Moment: Defining Free Speech and Its Limits
Chapter 4: Preparing for Possible Scenarios
Chapter 5: Free Speech and Civility Across the Curriculum
Chapter 6: Developing a Comprehensive Approach
About the Authors
Other Leadership Books by the Authors
More About ATLAS
There are very few adjectives robust enough to describe the importance or timeliness of Free Speech and Campus Civility. Experts on academic leadership, Buller and Cipriano present readers with a text that is thoughtfully developed and painfully germane and that clearly expresses the energy and direction of civility in higher education—a direction that penetrates the core of the academy and what it stands for and certainly goes a long way to define and perhaps refine its value for the future. This text is exceedingly articulate in its presentation and precise in its message, making it a valuable resource for the entire academic community. In fact, the connection between free speech and civility benefits both the campus community and society at large; certainly the lack of civility in the broader society is a concern for everyone and begs for resolution. This reviewer concluded his reading of the text excited about the potential for exploring the subject matter further, as the book's conclusion presents a vision for the broader application of the content. This text is valuable for academic leadership, higher education policy makers, and students in whose hands society's fortune rests. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
This very valuable book on free speech and campus civility is an extremely practical resource for colleges and universities in navigating the difficult dilemmas posed by the need to promote civility and open dialogue while protecting student safety and avoiding harm to vulnerable students. Through use of case studies and scenarios, the book offers a wealth of resources for faculty, administrators, and students seeking to unpack these complex issues and develop proactive solutions and programs.
At a time when the divisions in our nation have never seemed so deep, it is incumbent on colleges and universities to promote the values of free speech and civility. It is only through courageous conversation and positive discourse that we will gain the understanding and unity that are sorely needed for us to resolve the critical issues confronting our society.
In an age when our institutions are perilously teetering on the high wire of campus climate, desperately trying to balance the promotion of civility with the protection of free speech, Buller and Cipriano deliver a practical resource that should be on every administrator’s bookshelf. They provide the complete package: an historical eye on the past, moments for reflection on our present beliefs, and a proactive vision for the future that forges a true middle road, leading us to a place where our speech is truly free…where our discourse is truly civil…where we can disagree without being disagreeable.