Greg Lukianoff on the Battle for Free Speech on School Campuses


This week, a 'feminist studies' professor at the University of California Santa Barbara was accused of attacking a 16-year-old female student for opposing abortion with a graphic pro-life sign. 

The incident is a reminder of the battle over free speech on school campuses. Watch Greg Lukianoff from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education with The New York Times' John Tierney for a discussion on FIRE's ongoing fight against campus speech codes.

Produced by Jim Epstein. About 52 minutes. Original release date was June 4, 2013 and original writeup is below.


"The U.S. Department of Education just redefined harassment to make every single man, woman, and child arguably guilty of harassment in one fell swoop," says Greg Lukianoff, who is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which advocates for free speech rights on campus.

Lukianoff is referring to a recent letter sent by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice to the University of Montana that redefined harassment as "any unwelcome sexual speech." The letter also stated that it's intended as a "blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country."

Lukianoff joined The New York Times' John Tierney for a discussion of the implications of this letter and FIRE's ongoing fight against campus speech codes. Lukianoff also discussed his recent book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.

The discussion took place at New York City's Museum of Sex on May 14, 2013, at an event sponsored by the Reason Foundation.

UPDATE: Two weeks after Lukianoff spoke at the event, the U.S. Department of Education responded to the controversy, claiming that its letter was "entirely consistent with the First Amendment, and did not create any new or broader definition of unlawful sexual harassment under Title IX or Title IV." Lukanoff responded that the DOE's "weak attempt to walk back its disastrous May 9 letter is too little, too late." You can read more about the ongoing controversy here.

In December, Lukianoff sat down with Nick Gillespie to talk about his book.

In August, Gillespie also sat down for an in-depth conversation with University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors, who is FIRE's co-founder. They discussed speech codes, libertarianism, and much more.

About 52 minutes.

Camera by Jim Epstein and Anthony Fisher, and edited by Epstein.