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MSU Conference on Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Diversity on Campus

A free online conference sponsored by the LeFrak Forum on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy at Michigan State University.


Later this week, the Michigan State University Department of Political Science's LeFrak Forum on Science, Reason and Modern Democracy is sponsoring a conference on "Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Diversity on Campus."

The program begins Thursday evening with a keynote address by Professor Randall Kennedy of the Harvard Law School on "The Race Question and Freedom of Expression." (Do not be surprised if he references some of the arguments he made in this paper, co-authored with our own Eugene Volokh.)

Here is the remainder of the program (which includes a debate on campus free speech featuring our own Keith Whittington on Friday!):

Day One: Intellectual Diversity – Friday, April 9
  • Panel 1: What are the empirical facts about lack of intellectual diversity in academia and what are the causes of existing imbalances?
    • Paper: Lee Jussim, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, author of The Politics of Social Psychology. 
    • Discussant: Philip Tetlock, Annenberg University Professor, University of Pennsylvania, author of "Why so few conservatives and should we care?" and Cory Clark, Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, author of "Partisan Bias and its Discontents."


  • Panel 2In what precise ways and to what degree is this imbalance a problem?
    • Paper: Joshua Dunn, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Colorado, co-author of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University.
    • Discussant: Amna Khalid, Associate Professor of History, Carleton College, author of "Not A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: Why Left-Leaning Faculty Should Care About Threats to Free Expression on Campus."


  • Panel 3What is To Be Done?
    • Paper: Musa Al-Gharbi, Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology, Columbia University and Managing Editor, Heterodox Academy, author of "Why Care About Ideological Diversity in Social Research? The Definitive Response."
    • Paper: Conor Friedersdorf, Staff writer at The Atlantic and frequent contributor to its special series "The Speech Wars," author of "Free Speech Will Survive This Moment."


Day Two: Freedom of Speech – Saturday, April 10


  • Panel 1:  An empirical accounting of the recent challenges to free speech on campus from left and right. What is the true character of the problem or problems here and do they constitute a "crisis"?
    • Paper: Jonathan Marks, Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and International Relations, Ursinus College, author of Let's Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education.
    • Respondent: April Kelly-Woessner, Dean of the School of Public Service and Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College, author of The Still Divided Academy


  • Panel 2: But is Free speech, as traditionally interpreted, even the right ideal?—a Debate 
    • Ulrich Baer, University Professor of Comparative Literature, German, and English, NYU, author of What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech and Truth on Campus
    • Keith Whittington, Professor of Politics, Princeton University, author of Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech.


  • Panel 3: What is To Be Done?
    • Paper: Nancy Costello, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, MSU. Founder and Director of the First Amendment Law Clinic—the only law clinic in the nation devoted to the defense of student press rights.  Also, Director of the Free Expression Online Library and Resource Center.
    • Paper: Jonathan Friedman, Project Director for campus free speech at PEN America – "a program of advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion at colleges and universities."

Registration info is here.

NEXT: When Will The "Deep Cleanings" Stop?

Academia Free Speech Diversity Campus Free Speech

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16 responses to “MSU Conference on Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Diversity on Campus

  1. What a lot of clingers! Let the purges begin.

    1. “What is To Be Done?” Not hard. Pull the tax exemption for the slightest viewpoint discrimination. Impose quotas of conservative faculty, and then shut down the treason indoctrination camps by force.

    2. Thank you, editor! The abbreviated version of these rants is much quicker and easier to read and digest, losing no subtlety or depth compared to the originals.

      1. Zero tolerance for PC which is a denial of reality. All PC is case and lawyer fraud for their unjust enrichment, including the masking ideology of feminism.

      2. Quicker to read, true, but still indigestible.

        Maybe your stomach is stronger than mine.

  2. Call me when y’all complain that BYU won’t hire a gay professor.

    Until you do that, you aren’t worried about “intellectual diversity”, you’re just worried about “owning the libs”.

    1. There are plenty of right-wing professors. They are mostly mired at fourth-tier (or unranked) schools, though, so you don’t hear much about them (or the downscale schools, or the mediocre students, or the unaccomplished alumni).

      What those pushing affirmative action in this context are asking is that our strongest institutions emulate our weakest by hiring more conservatives.

      1. No no no…you just say “bitter clinger” or some variation and then go away. That was the deal.

        1. The deal is that you will do as your betters prefer.

          That’s the consequence of choosing the wrong side — the bigoted side, the obsolete side, the ignorant side, the backward side — of the culture war.

      2. All Ivy treason indoctrination camp should lose their tax exemptions. All government grants, subsidies, loans, and accreditations should be stopped. The next Trump administration should cancel these internal enemies.

      3. Eugene is an example of the lawyer dumbass. That is someone who starts with a high IQ that gets destroyed by 1L. Artie never had that problem.

    2. Not that I support any refusal to hire anyone on sexual orientation grounds…but since when is “gay” an intellectual way of viewing the world? Or are you just stereotyping?

      1. Gays are better employees. They have more time to dedicate to their jobs.

    3. Call me when BYU alumni start plaguing the student affairs profession like UMass alumni currently do.

      Call me when the foolishness of BYU (and there inherently must be some) starts showing up nationally, like the Planet UMass foolishness of the 1990s routinely does today.

      Like I said, let me know when that starts happening…

    4. How do you know BYU doesn’t have a gay professor?

  3. Anyone know if these panels will be available online after the zoom conferences end? I’m interested in one panel but have conflict.