Free Speech Faculty Lair

The Faculty Lair


This occasional faculty development series will encourage dialogue about hot topics in higher education, showcase successful projects and practices, and initiate faculty reflections on career trajectories. Events mostly consist of lunchtime panel discussions that put faculty members from different disciplines in dialogue with each other.

Fall 2018 Schedule

  • Monday, September 17th: Professors and Free Speech at Liberal Arts Colleges

“Professors and Free Speech at Liberal Arts Colleges.” What is freedom of speech and how does it apply to what we do in the classroom? Is freedom of speech the same as academic freedom? Is the vigorous exchange of ideas central to the liberal arts enterprise, or should respect for human dignity and sensitivity to the harm that words may cause inform our teaching? In our polarized environment, is this a political issue? Have conservatives “weaponized” free speech, or have liberals become too “politically correct?” Many books have addressed these issues, and the Chronicle of Higher Education recently devoted a special section to the topic.

Jonathan Marks of Ursinas College, Laura Beth Nielsen of Northwestern University, Allison Stanger of Middlebury College, and our own President Marjorie Hass participated. Marks, Professor of Politics, has written on higher education for InsideHigherEd, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, and Commentary Magazine. Nielsen, Professor of Sociology and Director of Legal Studies at Northwestern, has written about law and inequalities of race, gender, and class. Stanger, Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics, wrote opinion pieces in the New York Times in 2017 titled “Understanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion,” and “Middlebury, My Divided Campus.”

  • Wednesday, October 24th from 12-1 pm in the Wilson Room (1st floor Briggs): Topic TBD

Please RSVP to Leah Ford at if you plan to attend.