Segments in this Video

Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (04:11)


Moderator John Donvan introduces Bob Rosenkranz who discusses Yale in the 1960s. Donvan reiterates the topic of the debate.

Debate "Housekeeping" (07:04)

Donvan frames the debate, explains the debate format, and introduces the panelists. Audience members record their preliminary votes.

For the Motion: Wendy Kaminer (06:11)

Massachusetts State Advisory Committee member to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and adviser to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Kaminer states that speech policing on campuses has become routine. She reviews ideas behind the hostility toward free speech and notes the role of government censorship.

Against the Motion: Jason Stanley (06:12)

Yale University Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy Stanley states that free speech is "alive and well" on U.S. college campuses. We must consider that dominant social groups distort the language of free speech for personal interest and to silence the marginalized.

For the Motion: John McWhorter (06:13)

Author and Columbia University linguistics professor McWhorter states that many of the things we should not discuss and that constitute creating an unsafe space are topics that people will reasonably have discussions about. He asks, "What is the line between cultural appropriation and cultural mixture?"

Against the Motion: Shaun Harper (06:34)

Graduate School of Education professor and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education Harper cites an example of racial bias on campus that resulted in the suppression of free speech and the use of an email to encourage sensitivity.

Speech Codes (06:34)

Donvan summarizes the opening statements for and against the motion. Kaminer states that approximately half of universities and campuses have speech codes but the terms are vague; Harper argues that codes are meant to guide. Kaminer cites a racial harassment investigation. Stanley counters that is in "outlier case" and decries the example of the Laura Kipnis case.

Outlier Cases or Powerful Trend? (04:01)

McWhorter states that incidents like the Claremont McKenna president's resignation because of her position on disadvantaged students is common. Harper argues that the examples the proponents present are outliers. Kaminer states that many protests are about punishment, not education.

What about Leftism? (04:53)

Stanley states the idea that leftism is a threat is not a new point; it's tough to have your political viewpoints challenged. Kaminer states that requesting official punishment for an offensive remark is a violation of free speech. McWhorter states that calling someone a racist silences them; Harper counters that the one who made the comment silences him or herself.

Beyond Racism (02:30)

Kaminer acknowledges campus climates and states that outlawing bias speech threatens free speech; it extends to administration criticism, jokes, and sexual harassment. McWhorter supports protesting "when something really nasty happens."

Regard for Free Speech (02:53)

Harper states that the students of color he spoke with do not want speech codes, they want increased consciousness. Kaminer cites an example of student demands that threaten free speech.

What can be Discussed? (03:28)

Harper disagrees with McWhorter's suggestion that affirmative action is an off limits topic. He questions how we determine which topics are not up for debate and who decides them. McWhorter argues that the tone of conversations indicates that those who question affirmative action are ignorant or immoral. Stanley claims that this debate is about leftism, not free speech.

QA: Limiting Speeches in a Social or Academic Setting? (02:00)

Harper does not want the suppression of speech in any setting; do not shut yourself down if you have an unpopular view. McWhorter states that "the left feels beleaguered on college campuses."

QA: Is There a Point Where Asking for a Resignation is Justified? (05:20)

Stanley is comfortable with debating extreme views. Harper has not worked with any colleagues who were fired for speech. Kaminer cites an example of a teacher whose job is in jeopardy because of language. She states that campuses have expansive notions of what constitutes hate speech; Harper agrees.

QA: Free Speech in Residential Dorms (03:24)

McWhorter states that examples of removing posters and reporting speech by dorm advisers are a threat to free speech. Kaminer discusses the increase of anonymous reporting. Harper stresses the need to be aware of the potential effects of your actions.

QA: Protesting John Ashcroft's Appearance (03:30)

Stanley and Harper agree that the Facebook protest is an example of free speech. McWhoter and Kaminer point out that prohibiting his appearance is a threat to free speech. Stanley supports student rights to protest.

Closing Arguments For: Kaminer (02:34)

Zachary Brown believes students should be exposed to dissenting views to help them articulate differences in opinion. He receives open threats and support from some who do not want to speak publicly. Demonizing unwelcome views creates frightened conformists.

Closing Arguments Against: Stanley (02:05)

Students voicing concerns about social justice is not a threat to free speech. Free speech is threatened by labeling them bullies and authoritarians, and belittling their ability to debate.

Closing Arguments For: McWhorter (01:56)

McWhorter stresses the change of atmosphere on college campuses and cites examples of racism as an indicator of the number of incidents required to qualify as a threat.

Closing Arguments Against: Harper (02:06)

Marginalized communities are finally exercising their freedom of speech.

Time to Vote (04:25)

Donvan instructs audience members to vote, thanks participants and sponsors, and highlights the upcoming debates.

Audience Voting Results (00:60)

Pre-debate For: 49% - Against: 27% - Undecided: 25% Post-debate For: 66% - Against: 25% - Undecided: 9%

Credits: Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus: A Debate (00:51)

Credits: Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus: A Debate

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Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus: A Debate

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Protests have erupted on university campuses across the country. College students are speaking out against racism, bigotry, and offensive language, which, they claim, fosters an unwelcoming, sometimes hostile, learning environment. Opponents, however, charge that their demands have gone too far, creating an atmosphere of intolerance that limits intellectual discourse and silences unpopular points of view. Are the protesters on campus fighting injustice or threatening free speech?

Length: 91 minutes

Item#: BVL116096

ISBN: 978-1-63521-181-8

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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