Wiser Kids, Wiser Universities

This week, we are exploring legal issues around Greg’s new book with Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind. Yesterday we outlined the perhaps surprising relationship between speech codes and anti-harassment policies.

In our final post, we wanted to cover some possible solutions to the problems Jonathan and Greg discuss in their book The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, and then expand to what readers can do to help protect free speech and academic freedom on campus.

Because the book is very concerned about parenting, resilience, and the mental well-being of students, our solutions section is both for parents of younger children and parents of the college-bound. Solutions include everything from promoting free range parenting and free play to advocating for a cultural expectation of a “gap year” between graduation from high school and college.

Focusing more on freedom of speech and academic freedom, here’s a short list of things that readers, whether current students, faculty, or alumni, can do to help:

1) Push for your university to endorse the Chicago Statement. The goal of the statement drafted by the University of Chicago Committee on Freedom of Expression in 2015 is to “recommit the university to the principles of free, robust, and uninhibited debate.” So far, 45 institutions have adopted the statement. There’s a version in The Coddling of the American Mind, and also a version on FIRE’s site, that has been adapted and excerpted from the original institution-specific statement. Consider it a first draft for your faculty body, administration, or governing board looking to adopt its own version.

2) Get your campus a “green light” speech code rating from FIRE. A “green light” institution is one where the campus policies do not seriously imperil speech. Since 2006, the number of institutions with “green light” policies has risen from seven to 42. For help on getting your institution to join that list, contact FIRE.

3) Explain these concepts early and often. Ask administrators if your campus, in orientation and beyond, covers freedom of speech,

You can read the rest of this article at: https://reason.com/volokh/2018/09/14/wiser-kids-wiser-universities