1st Edition

Student Clashes on Campus A Leadership Guide to Free Speech

By Jeffrey Sun, George McClellan Copyright 2020
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book unpacks the tension between free speech and the social justice priority to support all students. Drawing on court cases, institutional policies and procedures, and notable campus practices, this book answers the question: How do campus leaders develop interests of social justice and create a campus that is inclusive and inviting of all identities while also respecting students’ free speech rights? This useful guide provides insights about the myriad of challenges that campus leaders have faced, along with practical approaches to address these issues on their own campuses. Experts Sun and McClellan interrogate the assumptions, thoughts, events, rules, and actions often at-play when free expression clashes with a college’s mission of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. This book helpfully guides campus leaders to consider a series of legal frameworks and promising policies as solutions for balancing social justice and free speech.


    Foreword. 1. Overview: Clashing Interests, Rights, and Responsibilities 2. The Academic Domain: Relative Deference to Curricular, Classroom, and Learning Experiences 3. Chapters and Verse: Free Speech, Inclusion, and Co-Curricular Experiences 4. Digital Communication: Advancing Technologies, New Challenges, and Free Speech on Campus 5. Beyond the Campus: Public Policy and Influencing Organizations 6. Closing Argument: Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategies


     Jeffrey C. Sun is Professor of Higher Education and Affiliate Professor of Law at the University of Louisville, USA.

    George S. McClellan is Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Mississippi, USA.

    "Sun and McClellan compel us to remember our roles as educators during campus conversations on First Amendment, free speech, equity, and inclusion. In every chapter, they prompt us to contemplate what socially just and ‘inclusive freedom’ could look like when students, faculty, and administrators partner to create a campus community that is both welcoming, inclusive and provides opportunities for robust freedom of expression."

    --Mary Jo Gonzales, Vice President for Student Affairs, Washington State University

    "The authors resoundingly illuminate the tenuous balancing act required of campus leaders in addressing application of the First Amendment within higher education while supporting successful learning environments and thoughtful student experiences. Through seamless use of myriad examples, from court decisions to case studies, Sun and McClellan explicate the growing tension between freedom of expression, inclusion, and diversity of thought. Extending the conversation beyond curricular and co-curricular impacts, to include digital and community intersections, invites multiple leaders to engage in proactive planning and framework development to navigate campus clashes moving forward. This is a must read for new and seasoned leaders alike."

    --Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, President, Radford University

    "Issues related to free speech on college campuses may be one of the most important challenges we face as higher education leaders. Virtually every day, college campuses are at the nexus between free speech, hate speech, issues of equity and social justice, and harassment – often with no clear way forward. This book comes at a perfect time as these complex issues are being litigated and tested every day on the American college campus."

    --Dr. Kevin Kruger, President, NASPA

    "This remarkable book drives home the need for strong educational leadership at a time when divisive speech issues threaten the very blanket of free expression and association upon which institutions of higher learning depend. The law must inform critical leadership; but this is no time to simply defer to lawyers to fix things for us. This interdisciplinary book is pure educator’s gold, a gift in a time of great need from authors with vast operational experience in higher education and sharp legal acuity."

    --Peter Lake, Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law