NYT Op Ed: Prof Sophia Rosenfeld on Free Speech

I Teach a Class on Free Speech. My Students Can Show Us the Way Forward.
By Sophia Rosenfeld

December 15, 2023
Full article at nytimes.com

Free speech is very hard to get right, especially on campus — as has been evident all fall at the University of Pennsylvania, where I teach a course on the history of free speech and censorship. If colleges and universities are best understood as microcosms of the larger world, they should be governed by the First Amendment alone. This would mean restricting only speech that directly incites violence, threatens specific individuals or constitutes targeted harassment.

But if colleges and universities — public or private — are better understood as special spaces with missions distinct from the world at large, they need some special rules of operation, tailored to the classroom, the student club and the college green. 

Continue reading at the New York Times


No, Campuses Are Not in Chaos over Gaza 
By Sophia Rosenfeld

December 20, 2023
Produced by Phoebe Lett
Audio available at the New York Times

The war in Gaza has fueled debate about free speech on campuses, leading to protests, a congressional hearing and high-profile resignations. But in her class on free speech and censorship at the University of Pennsylvania, Sophia Rosenfeld has found students with strong opinions who are eager to disagree with one another without doing harm.

In this audio essay, she shares a model for engaging in tough conversations for anyone looking to have thoughtful discussions about some of the most fraught issues of our era.