Kissel on Free Speech at Purdue University

Lyzi Diamond, The FIRE

Following a talk by FIRE’s Adam Kissel at Purdue University Calumet last week, The Purdue University Calumet Chronicle has published an article reiterating Adam’s points about free speech on campus. The Chronicle highlights Adam’s discussion of the importance on a college campus of allowing a full exchange of ideas to take place:

“What are the true ideas, what are the false ideas? What are the beautiful ideas, what are the ugly ideas?” Kissel said.

He stressed that we must allow ourselves to get offended regularly, because surrounding oneself with homogenous groups of people limits learning and the ability to analyze and develop an effective counter argument.

His solution to dealing with an offensive person is simple, “The right remedy for bad speech is more speech.” Kissel went on to stress that if all one does is get the person who offended us in trouble, then the necessary dialogue does not take place. For one to converse with the person whose individual beliefs disgust them is exercising what Kissel called “intellectual humility.” He defined it as, “thinking you can be persuaded.”

Of course, Adam’s discussion is particularly salient at Purdue University Calumet because it follows the case of Professor Maurice Eisenstein. Eisenstein, a PUC professor, was investigated for several months following accusations of harassment from students about his speech regarding Muslims and Islam in class and on Facebook – some of whom had never even been his students. We are pleased that the points made in Adam’s speech are reaching more students at PUC than just those who were in the room to hear him speak.

Lyzi Diamond serves as a Program Associate for the Campus Freedom Network at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Ms. Diamond is a graduate from the University of Oregon with B.S. degrees in Geography and Planning, Public Policy & Management. While in school, she served as managing editor and editor-in-chief of the Oregon Commentator, a contrarian, student fee-funded magazine, where she covered student government, higher education, and Oregon politics.

Used with the permission of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.