The Real Threat to Free Expression

Jeffrey Herbst

Newseum President and CEO Jeffrey Herbst (Sarah Thompson/Newseum)

This week in Inside Higher Ed, Newseum President and CEO Jeffrey Herbst writes:

The threat to free speech on college campuses –  where intellectual foundations rest on open debate – has become a crisis, although not the one commonly posited in public debate. Despite some very public protests, students do overwhelmingly favor free political speech. However, ironically, undergraduates – the major beneficiaries of social media – are actually the primary enemies of other forms of expression, in part because of the way conversation occurs on the platforms that they live on.

How young people armed with smartphones became so skeptical of expression and what to do about it is a fundamental challenge for higher education. The answer will be to change the discourse from what to allow to what to listen to.

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