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Column: Free expression is a foundation of excellence in education

Dec 23, 2022

Watching world events and controversies unfold, such as Russian control of news on the war in Ukraine, may give us a sense of First Amendment pride here. Yet make no mistake: Our nation struggles daily with the impact of and limits on free expression in classrooms, media, social channels and the public square. More than ever, especially among those of us entrusted with leading America’s colleges and universities, we see the need to articulate and help build the skills and dispositions enabled by free expression. We recognize the challenge. Civil discourse requires openness to hard truths, a commitment to facts as a public good, recognition and discussion of what may be perceived as hateful or offensive, and understanding that honorable people may deeply disagree. As our faculty, students, staff and graduates grow these capacities, they are better prepared to contribute to bringing society together rather than pulling it apart.

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