PEN America’s Guidelines for Freedom of Speech on Campus

By Dianna Dilworth 

PEN America has introduce a new set of guidelines to direct university students, faculty, and administrators on how to discuss charged issues respectfully on campus.

The PEN America Principles on Campus Speech come on the heels of a new investigative report, “And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities,” which examines the future of free speech in American higher education.

“Free speech advocates face an urgent task to articulate how unfettered expression can be reconciled with acute demands for greater equality and inclusion, and, indeed, how such freedoms are essential to the realization of these goals,” found the report.

The PEN America principles aim to help shape the direction of how people on campuses can openly debate national issues in a safe environment without aggression. Here is an excerpt from the guidelines:

Free expression should be recognized as a principle that will overwhelmingly serve not to exclude or marginal- ize minority voices but rather to amplify them. Where principles of free expression have been subordinated inappropriately, as has happened on certain campuses— impinging on openness, dissent, or intellectual freedom— calling out and fighting these encroachments are essential to ensuring that the core value of free speech remains intact even as the campus evolves to beer reflect a changing America.