“Free speech is perhaps the greatest right we have as Americans.”
Jay Hartzell makes some excellent points in a recent op-ed.
From UT Today:
There Is No Higher Education Without Free Speech
As the new president of The University of Texas at Austin, I know that our great institution can live up to its highest ideals only by creating a space where open discourse, discovery and debate can flourish.
I also know that during these challenging and divisive times, the notion of “free speech” has become somewhat controversial and politicized. This is a mistake. The freedom to speak and debate is not only outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution — it is at the heart of the scientific method and all of the scholarship, creative work and research that defines a world-class university.
Free speech is perhaps the greatest right we have as Americans. And now is the perfect time to take a hard look at how colleges and universities across Texas and the country can work together to reinforce our commitment to free speech among students, faculty members, staffers, administrators and alumni. Difficult and deeply uncomfortable conversations are sometimes necessary for us to make progress.
Longhorn Nation and our great state must remember that supporting people’s freedom to speak and express is not an endorsement of the content of their speech or what they say. It does not endorse its truth, its value or its morality. It does, however, stand on the premise that the only way to figure out what is true, valuable and morally right is through thought and discussion. Freedom of speech is the path, not the problem. And it is vital that our institutions of higher learning understand that and make it known to all those whom we serve. It is only through discourse that we can truly move forward and make breakthroughs.
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