First Amendment backers see free speech fading at colleges

Associated Press

Many First Amendment defenders worry free speech is fading as a priority among today’s college students.

Speeches by controversial figures have been derailed at the University of California, Berkeley, and several other schools. That has led some experts to declare a free speech crisis.

The chief of the Washington free expression group Newseum says students have developed a new understanding of free speech that doesn’t protect language that’s offensive to minorities.

The literary group PEN America says some colleges have overlooked free speech as they try to make campuses more welcoming to increasingly diverse student bodies.

Some students who have sought to shut speakers down say they’re simply invoking their own First Amendment rights or appealing to higher values.

Free speech backers are urging colleges to take a stronger stance supporting open expression, among other recommendations.

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