Professor Keith Whittington (Photo by T. Kevin Birch)

“If we were to sacrifice free speech on college campuses, we would be subverting the core values and very purpose of a modern university.” So writes Dr. Keith Whittington, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, in his new book Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech.

In an era when speech-related campus controversies appear in news stories on a weekly basis, Dr. Whittington’s work offers a timely, principled case for the importance of unrestricted academic dialogue.

In our interview, he discusses America’s long history of conflicts in this area, as well as the fundamental reasons universities exist. We also consider whether current administrations are truly commited to the liberal tradition of free inquiry, and how schools might better establish and advertise their free-speech provisions. (Scroll down for audio.)

From the book:

“Universities that should stand as bastions of open dialogue and free speech have too often become sites of intolerance and intimidation.”

“The generation raised in the years since the fall of the Berlin Wall is shockingly indifferent to liberal democratic values.”

“The current crisis of free speech on college campuses is both symptom and cause of a larger threat to the maintenance of liberal democracy itself.”