Student protests are testing US colleges’ commitment to free speech

Student protests are heating up around the country, just as the school year is winding down.

At Columbia University in New York, a deadline is nearing for the administration to clear the student encampment off the campus lawn. The NYPD chief of patrol defended his department’s actions earlier this week in arresting over 100 student protesters on campus, writing “Columbia decided to hold its students accountable to the laws of the school. They are seeing the consequences of their actions. Something these kids were most likely never taught,” in a post on X.

But the root of all the arrests and protests at Columbia is, arguably, free speech. In testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in Washington, DC, last week, Columbia President Minouche Shafik struggled to walk a line between ensuring student safety and protecting academic freedom. “We believe that Columbia’s role is not to shield individuals from positions that they find unwelcome,” she said, “but instead to create an environment where different viewpoints can be tested and challenged.”

Read more from Vox.


Most Popular