Freedom of speech on campus is about balance, not absolutes

January 22, 2016

The debate over freedom of speech on UK campuses requires us “to be aware of the possibility of radicalisation and to protect freedom of speech,” writes University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Keith Burnett. In achieving this balance, he adds, it is not enough to take an absolutist approach from either side of the debate. Banning every unpleasant utterance on a campus will not move the community forward, but neither will arguing that freedom of speech guarantees a person the right to say anything they wish to any individual or group without facing criticism in return. Ultimately, Burnett suggests that university leaders should be driven by the mission to “expose students to the views and experiences of others without undermining the sense of the student body as a large, extended family.” Times Higher Education