Friday, October 9, 2015

Cornell's new president defends free speech, and loudly

Trigger warning: This will irritate campus authoritarians and other victims.

When a university president stands up for ancient rights rather than runs from them, we applaud. So it is with Cornell's new president, Elizabeth Garrett, who took a moment to lead, rather than retreat, in the defense of academic freedom and its sibling, free speech on campus.

Cornell University president Elizabeth Garrett is “an avid supporter of freedom on speech,” carries a copy of the U.S. Constitution with her “at all times,” and “would never” require professors to include trigger warnings for sensitive course material, she said Thursday morning.

“With respect to trigger warnings, first and foremost I am an absolute defender of academic freedom. And what a professor chooses to do in his or her class has my absolute support, even if I don’t agree with them,” she said at a breakfast with several reporters at the Cornell Club....

“A university is about the fullest and freest expression of ideas and arguments,” she said. “There isn’t any idea that ought not to be tested and questioned. Because that’s how we get closer to the truth.”...

“I don’t believe there’s a ‘free speech zone’ on campus. The entire university is a ‘free speech zone,’” she said.

Hey, when she's right, she's right.

I've had a few lively debates with Beth Garrett, including at a wedding in which she was maid of honor and I was best man a long time ago, so this does not surprise me at all!


"The Hammer" said...

Good for her! Unfortunately she'll likely be out of a job soon.

TigerHawk said...

I doubt it. The alumni who provide Cornell with its millions will love this message, as will most of the faculty.

"The Hammer" said...

Most of the faculty? You really believe that?? At Cornell?

TigerHawk said...

Especially at Cornell, with its big professional and ag schools. (Don't get me wrong -- these professors are overwhelmingly left of center, but they do not appreciate students encroaching on their prerogatives. Remember, most of the really coercive politically-correct stuff comes from administrators, not faculty, and president Garrett is signalling that she will support the faculty, not the administrators.)

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