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Balancing Free Speech & Inclusive Practices

VU International News and Reviews No. 111 April 23 2018

April 2018

The American Council on education has conducted on an online survey among university presidents about the possible tensions and dilemmas between protecting free speech and protecting students from expressions which they may find offensive. Virtually all presidents (98 per cent) agreed that protecting both freedoms of speech and promoting an inclusive society is extremely or very important to democracy. But when faced with the hard choice between protection of free speech and protection against offensive speech, the vast majority gives precedence to the freedom of speech. Presidents overwhelmingly indicated that it is more important for colleges to allow students to be exposed to all types of speech (96 per cent) than it is for colleges to protect students by prohibiting offensive or biased speech.

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