January 21, 2022

New Report From PEN America “Sets Out Principles To Defuse Campus Free Speech Controversies”

From PEN America:

Addressing concerns that recent campus controversies may lead a rising generation to grow alienated from core American values of free speech, PEN America today released the “PEN America Principles on Campus Speech” to help guide university students, faculty, and administrators to advance inclusion and equality while safeguarding intellectual and academic freedom.

The Principles were released as part of the groundbreaking investigative report And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities, which examines the future of free speech in American higher education. While declaring that there is no current crisis for free speech on campus, the report notes that “Free speech advocates face an urgent task to articulate how unfettered expression can be reconciled with acute demands for greater equality and inclusion, and, indeed, how such freedoms are essential to the realization of these goals.”

Coming from the American arm of the world’s leading free expression organization, the PEN America Principles on Campus Speech stand to shape the direction of these raging debates nationally, offering a way to address some of the most polarizing campus unrest in decades over issues such as sexist speech, racial epithets, controversial campus speakers, trigger warnings, and so-called “safe spaces” and “microaggressions.”


The 102-page report combines extensive research and thorough analysis of all sides of recent debates as well as three case studies informed by exclusive interviews with protagonists in some of the most pitched campus battle in recent years: skirmishes over free speech and issues of race at Yale, conflict around anti-Semitism and the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel at UCLA, and controversies over the implications for free speech of specific provisions of Title IX, the law that bars sex discrimination at educational institutions, at Northwestern University.

Direct to PEN Principles on Campus Free Speech
14 pages; PDF.

Direct to Full Text Report: And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities
102 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.