Princeton University’s freshman “pre-read” book for the 2018-2019 school year argues in favor of free speech.
The Ivy League school selected Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton, as the scholarly book that all incoming freshmen were required to read prior to the start of the academic year.
“The free exchange of ideas is an essential value of this University, and our faculty has adopted a strong Statement on Freedom of Expression contained in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber wrote in an email to upperclassmen obtained by Campus Reform, encouraging the senior students to read the book along with the freshmen.
“In recent years, however, some pundits and politicians have been telling a bleak story about what is happening on college campuses across the nation,” Eisgruber continued. “I believe that these caricatures do not reflect the values practiced on campuses like our own.”
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He claimed that Whittington’s book took a more “nuanced and accurate” approach.
“Professor Whittington’s book celebrates robust debate, and those debates extend, of course, to free speech itself.”
Eisgruber pointed students to a bibliography, which contains official statements from the university, commentary by Princeton faculty, books, academic articles, surveys, newspaper articles and op-eds, videos, and interviews on the subject of free speech.
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Princeton has found itself at the center of several free-speech controversies. Anthropology professor Carolyn Rouse gave a speech entitled “F%*# Free Speech: An Anthropologist’s Take on Campus Speech Debates” at the school’s 2
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