Purdue Freedom of Expression Session (2017)


Hello, Boilermakers!>>[APPLAUSE]>>My name is Steve Schultz, and
I’m the university legal counsel. On behalf of my colleagues,
welcome to Purdue. Now you all know that your new
school is world renowned for its groundbreaking research and
its great graduates. As the alma mater of the first person on
the moon and the last one to leave it. You also might even know that Purdue
is sometimes called the Cradle of Quarterbacks. But you probably didn’t know that in 2015, Purdue became the first public
university in the United States to adopt a formal commitment
to freedom of expression. Based on the so-called Chicago Principles. These principles are a statement that’s
been praised as a landmark declaration of the unique importance of free
speech on any university campus. So what’s the big deal about free speech? As you may have read in your preview
materials for tonight get ready for VGR. American colleges and universities have long been recognized
as the marketplace of ideas. A place where ideas compete and
even clash. This means your new campus will be
full of situations in which others will inevitably say things
that you may not agree with. And you should know this now, that’s okay. Each of you has a right
to voice an opinion. And it’s up to you to decide how, and
whether, to respond to those of others. Purdue’s committed to being place of
free and open inquiry and debate. Frankly, because that’s how
a lot of learning takes place. At the same time, we value civility,
respect for others, and an awareness that no one
person is just like the next. Those differences are what make
a university like ours a great one. I want you to listen closely to how
Purdue’s statement of commitment to freedom of expression puts this. Of course the ideas of different members
of the university community will often, and quite naturally, conflict. But it’s not the proper role of
the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome,
disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the university
greatly values civility, and although all members of the university
community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect. Concerns about civility and mutual respect
can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas. However offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be
to some members of our community. So you might be thinking,
these can be challenging concepts. Particularly when you hear a speech
that any reasonable person would find deeply offensive, right? You might be asking yourself, so just what kind of crazy ideas am
I gonna be encountering on campus? That’s what tonight’s all about. With our starring cast of student leaders,
our panel and I, along with some pre-recorded guests, are going to be walking your
through some free speech scenarios. Which you very likely may be
encountering during your time here. First, let me introduce our panel. Dr. Pat Cain, Associate Professor
of Philosophy, and an inaugural faculty fellow in Purdue’s new cornerstone
integrated liberal arts program. Pat’s a recipient of the Koff-Mell
Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. He teaches ethics, and
his scholarship focuses on better understanding human dignity and
moral obligation. As a former member of
our university senate, we consider Pat one of our thought leaders
on matters of freedom of expression and academic freedom on Purdue’s campus. Next, Alysa Christmas Rollock,
Purdue’s Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, and
one of my fellow attorneys here at Purdue. Alysa knows the law, and particularly
the first amendment, very well. And finally, Dr Katie Summershine,
Purdue’s Dean of Students.>>Boilermakers in the house.>>[APPLAUSE]>>She’s the person we all affectionately
refer to around campus as, Doctor Katie. And her offices of course focus on making
sure you have a great student experience during your time at Purdue. A quick round in advance of applause for
our panel.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Our hope is that tonight, and
in the conversations that follow, you’ll have a better understanding of
the importance of free speech on campus. And maybe even come to recognize and
appreciate how, and why, you might exercise
this right yourself. Both while you’re here,
and after you’re gone. Now you all know that this topic has
received quite a lot of attention lately. Particularly with the very troubling
events of this past weekend in Charlottesville. But the fact is, free speech on campus
has been gaining attention in our public debate for several years now. Just two months ago in fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee held
a hearing on this topic on Capitol Hill. Here are just a few remarks from Senator
Ted Cruz that introduced a few key themes for this evening.>>Free speech matters, diversity matters. Diversity of people’s backgrounds,
but also diversity of thought, diversity of ideas. Universities are meant to be
a challenging environment for young people to encounter ideas they’ve
never seen, they’ve never imagined, and that they might
passionately disagree with. The First Amendment is not
about opinions you agree with. It’s not opinions that are right and
reasonable. The First Amendment is about opinions
that you passionately disagree with and the right of others to express them. I’m one who agrees with John Stuart Mill. The best solution for bad ideas, for bad
speech is more speech and better ideas.>>You’ll hear more about
those ideas in the next hour. But no matter what you take away tonight,
we want to get this across. As with the rest of your
education at Purdue, Purdue’s goal is to make
you great citizens. So that when you’re sitting in this very
hall to receive your diploma one day, you’re ready to go out into
the world to express your views. To engage in debate, to stand up for
what you believe in. This is how President Daniels
put it to the class of 2015 as they sat in your seats
at their commencement.>>At a minimum, you should have learned
that our freedom starts with free speech. And free speech means disagreement. And disagreement means that now and then, you will be upset by
things you hear and read. Or as people like to say these days,
offended. If you absorb anything
of our Constitution, you know that it contains no
right not to be offended. If anything, by protecting speech of all
kinds, it guarantees that you will be. Well, as they say, deal with it. And if you’re disturbed enough,
then answer it with superior facts and arguments. Your diplomas say that Purdue
has equipped you for this.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Okay, we’re gonna be moving to our
first speech scenario for the evening. And I ask for everyone’s kind attention. Please be prepared to observe some things
in the scenarios that you may find objectionable. Bear in mind that our student actors are
not expressing their actual viewpoints. And finally, while these hypothetical situations are
loosely based on experiences at Purdue, or maybe other campuses around the
country, they don’t depict actual events. And any similarity to actual events or
characters is purely coincidental. And finally, to ensure they’re
not a distraction to others, I’m gonna ask that you turn
off your cell phones, but before you do, would you all mind
if we got a quick selfie with you?>>Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Okay, we go to our first scenario. The case to the uninvited
campus preacher in our midst. Brother Max is preaching his message
in the most public area of campus. He’s well versed in his
rights regarding free speech. Groups of students are passing by,
reacting to him as he engages in his expressive
activity and as they go to class. Max blows his whistle and proclaims-
>>Women with short hair and
those who wear slacks are all whores and they’re bound to burn in hell
right alongside the druggies, the fornicators, and
of course, the homosexuals.>>I can’t go to class. I can’t believe I’m hearing
these terrible words. I’m really offended. I need to go back to my room.>>He’s honestly the worst. Just ignore him.>>My god.
Could you believe this guy?>>You know what we should do.>>Yeah, we should go beat his ass for
spreading that hate speech.>>Let’s go debate this idiot. If we stand up to him and show him what
we feel and how ridiculous his ideas are, maybe we can bring attention
to this campus’s true values.>>You know what, Jeff,
that’s a good idea. What do you think, Winston?>>I think it’s a great idea.>>All right, let’s go.>>Okay.>>[APPLAUSE]>>So panel, we have an uninvited speaker
operating in a public space on campus, one of our mall spaces. First, I think it’s important for
everybody to understand that the First Amendment applies to
Purdue as a state university. This means that speech protected under
the First Amendment cannot be censored or punished by the University. Now as with every rule, there are
exceptions to what is considered protected speech, I think we have
those on a slide to show. But these are very narrow exceptions. Do we have those? There they are. These are the ones the Supreme Court
has recognized over the years. Alisa, we’re gonna start with you. We can get into why the location of this
encounter matters, but first things first. Do you think what the preacher’s
doing here is protected speech or does it fall within one
of these exceptions?>>Well certainly it’s speech, and
it’s speech that might be offensive. And as we saw in this skit, it was offensive to a number of
folks who heard what he had to say. But it is protected speech. We don’t have an exception, and there they are,
that would apply in this circumstance. The campus is an open campus, and that means that just like your parents and
friends can come visit you on the campus. Members of the general public can come
visit the campus, can speak on the campus, and certainly can speak in areas that
are not disruptive to the University. So here, it’s certainly in the center
of the campus, there are no classes that are being held outdoors
because that might make a difference. If we had a class that was in session and couldn’t carry on its discussions
because of the noise. But we certainly would have to look at
it in terms of the disruption and not because of what’s being said or whether we
agree or disagree with what’s being said.>>And you don’t think it might be a true
threat, for example, or harassment?>>Well certainly he was
calling people names, they heard those names, and the
individuals were deeply offended by it. We had one of the students say that she
really wanted to go back to her room and consider it, but
in terms of what the courts have said, it’s not, so no.>>The University does have the right
to control its spaces though, right?>>Right, absolutely. So there’s certain spaces on campus,
like a classroom, an auditorium, and other places on campus where we do
restrict who, what, when, or where. What can happen in those spaces and
when they can happen in those spaces. But here, it’s the open part of
the campus, the public comes and goes, it’s at a time
when the campus is open. And even though we may disagree
with what people have to say, they’re permitted to say them.>>Gotta be viewpoint neutral. We’re gonna bring that point out. That’s hear from Professor Nadine Strossen
about these points. She talks about this thing called our duty as a university of
maintaining viewpoint neutrality. Nadine’s the former head of the ACLU and
a recognized expert on free speech. She was speaking from this podium at Purdue in 2015. Here’s Nadine Strossen.>>Throughout my talk I’m gonna use
the term offensive speech to refer to any speech conveying any thought that any
of any of us hate because we consider the idea to be offensive, evil,
dangerous, upsetting, harmful in any way. Today we tend to use the term hate speech
to refer to a specific type of offensive speech, namely biased or stereotyped ideas
on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or
any other aspect of social identity. Contrary to much popular misunderstanding, there is no general exception
to the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee on the ground that the speech’s message is offensive or
hateful. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has
repeatedly reaffirmed that the bedrock, its word, bedrock principle underlying
our free speech rights is that government may never suppress
speech just because officials or citizens disapprove of
the ideas that it conveys. Even if a vast majority of citizens
consider those ideas absolutely abhorrent. This cardinal principle is usually
called content neutrality or viewpoint neutrality. It bars government from restricting
any speech just because of any negative psychological or
emotional reaction to its message. Instead, the government must neutrally and even handedly protect freedom equally for
all ideas. And this important duty belongs
to all government bodies, including public universities.>>So Pat, we saw a very similar situation
last year, the year before that. Probably gonna see it this year. As a faculty member, what are your
concerns and maybe advice for students?>>So I have at least two concerns
about this kind of scenario. I don’t want students to feel surprised
if something like this happens, and I don’t want them to feel
powerless when it does. So one thing I’d say is you should expect
that there’ll be uninvited speakers on campus, and they may say
something quite offensive, and maybe that will make it a little
bit less jarring if you expect it, and you don’t wanna feel powerless. So it’s helpful to think about
the choices that you have if you come across something like this. One choice is of course to avoid or
ignore the speaker, not give them the attention that they
craving, or creating a bigger crowd. You could go have a cup of coffee, or go
to class, or go to the coat rack instead, or you could chose to think
about what they have to say, and think about what you
might say in response. You could engage with the speaker,
and here at Perdue, with the people you’re encountering,
and the things you’ll be learning, you might learn how to effectively
engage with the speaker, or you could express an opinion to others
about what the speaker has to say, and you might even get
together with some people, and make a public statement together
about what you think is important.>>Thanks Pat. Dr. Katie, how would the Office of Dean of
Students respond to this situation if they got a complaint about the preacher?>>Well, first of all,
the key point is we’re here to help. The Dean of Students Office is here
to help, but multiple resources, and people across campus
are here to be available, and I’ll highlight some of those
resources here in a minute. I think as, has been said, it is probably
more likely than not that within the next couple of days,
certainly within the first couple weeks, you will encounter
something similar to this. Some street preacher spewing
these words of hate and disgust your way, and
as Pat said, you have options, and we want you to utilize those options. Turning back to the particular
skit that we had here though, I wanna specifically the second and
the third reactions. The second one was, I believe
the quote was, let’s go beat his ass. As the Dean of Students,
I’m not in favor of that,->>[LAUGH]>>And as a proponent of free
speech I’m not in favor of that. Violence is not free speech and
it should never be what we resort to. We should fight speech with speech. The third scenario is beautiful in that
the students are choosing to again, knowing you have a wide range of choices,
this particular group chose to confront the speaker,
to have a conversation, to engage in it. Other people will choose to not even
dignify the speaker with a response or trying to engage, and
that’s okay, you have options. But as far as resources, considering
the reaction of the student in the first group, I’ll highlight some other
things a little bit later, and recognize what that student
maybe going through. But we do encourage you, if you’re having
a difficult time with something talk to your RA,
talk with a faculty fellow, talk to your faculty members, to your advisors,
certainly the Dean of Students Office. There are multiple resources and multiple
people who care about your success, and wanna help you work through
any kind of challenges or issues that may be
preventing you from success.>>I love the discussion
of the options and combatting speech with more speech
in that third example you gave. But, as it relates to the university’s
action, as we’ve talked about, for all the reasons, no exceptions apply, so the university’s not going to
step in to muzzle this preacher. Another one of the recent guest speakers
that we’ve had at Purdue, on the topic of free speeches, Azhar Majeed from
the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, one of the leading groups in
our nation that focuses on this topic. He was here in 2016, and
in this segment, he speaks to sort of the practical limits of the ability
of the university to come in, and do something about an uninvited speaker. Azhar Majeed.>>So Pat, short of that heavy handed
administrative action that Azhar mentioned, I know you’ve
thought a lot about this. Just because the university is
committed to upholding free speech, it doesn’t mean that we condone
all ideas on campus, right?>>That’s correct, and
I think you put it quite well. Uninvited speakers, and even invited speakers here at Purdue,
don’t speak for the university. The university promotes free speech, but
not everything that’s said on campus. But, it’s important to think
about why that is, and having a public forum on
campus isn’t just the law. I think it’s helpful to realize
why it’s a pretty good idea, especially in a pluralistic society. In our society we need a place or places where people can express competing
views and react to each others’ views, and a university, which is a place
where we’re seeking knowledge, and where we’re looking to the future, that’s
a very good place to have a public forum. But of course not all
ideas are good ideas. Not all ideas are right or true. Some ideas are in fact silly,
bad, false, poisonous even. The problem is we don’t all agree
on which are which, and it’s not a very good idea for the government
to be making all of those decisions. So what then? Well, it falls to you, and to me, and to
groups of us to sort through the good and the bad ideas, and
to try to promote the good ones, and try to confront the bad ones,
and that’s a burden and a responsibility that we can choose to
take up on occasion, but it falls to us. Now, occasionally, there are some
ideas that might be expressed. Some events that might happen that might be directly incompatible with
the whole point of the university. Threaten the core values
of the university, and then the university,
through a spokesmen, may make a statement. But even then I think it’s important for us to realize there are lots of things
that need to be said about bad ideas, that we need to say, and
the university might not say.>>I love how you put that Pat, and Nadine Straussen, when she was here
a couple years ago, spoke to this issue. Let’s see how she framed that issue.>>All right, we’re rolling. We’re gonna move on to our next scenario. This is the case of flags or
symbols in the residence halls. It’s move in day, and the RAs are busy helping students as
they setup their new homes for the year. Let’s see what happens.>>Man, I can’t wait to get settled in. Hanging up my new flag is
gonna make my room look sweet.>>I love my new Darwin-inspired poster. Hope the roommate likes it too.>>Gross.>>Ew.>>Why does she have that?>>What is wrong with him, gosh.>>Did you see that poster? How could anyone believed
that we evolved from monkeys? Like seriously, I’m sick and tired of people pushing their
own agenda on this issue. You should make and take it down now.>>That Confederate flag is so
offensive and hurtful. It’s history is totally racist, what and
awful symbol of discrimination, you got to make sure he
doesn’t hang that up.>>So here we have a non-public forum. Yeah, great job.>>[APPLAUSE]>>This is a space that’s not out in
the public, like Alisa was talking about. And the university clearly has
the ability to regulate expression to a greater degree than if it
were out in a public space. And obviously,
the university has a number of interests. We want to make sure things comply with
the fire code, in terms of signs and posters, and such. Dr Katie, when your office gets the calls from these
RAs, what are you gonna do about it?>>We just let those
calls go to voice mail.>>[LAUGH]>>I’m just kidding. Remember, we’re here to help. So, a scenario like this really
gets into viewpoint neutrality and Nadine Strossen said it earlier. It was a theme on our first scenario,
and is now again. Basically, you have two roommates or
floor mates. People that are going to be moving
in as all of you have just done. And people are entitled in their living
space, as the rules are written currently, to hang and
decorate your rooms as you so choose. Viewpoint neutrality means that as you so
choose is the prominent factor there. So, if one chooses to do
the Confederate flag and the other chooses to have the Darwin fish. That is absolutely appropriate as we view
free speech and viewpoint neutrality. Now, if however, one person tries to
hang that same symbol in the window, we have to operate within the rules and
frameworks, the guidelines within the residence halls. And there’s a fire safety standard
that prohibits anything hung in the windows because of the risk of fire. So there’s a spot where
you can’t do those things. But otherwise, in your residence
hall rooms, generally speaking, on those walls, you can put anything
up that expresses your views. Now, what we encourage students
to do during this time is not necessarily run to the RA
with this as the issue. But instead challenge you as boilermakers to try to work some of
this out on your own. To recognize that you are now
new students at a major global university and you have
an opportunity to express your views. So the ideal situation would be both
of those individuals sitting down, having a conversation. Expressing to one another why
the other finds their sign, their symbol especially troublesome, especially offensive,
what it means to them. In other words,
this opportunity to engage, this opportunity to defend
one’s opinion is really a solidifying step in what I
call values clarification. You’re testing the assumptions, you’re testing the theories that you bring
to campus, things that you were raised, believing are true and accurate,
and certainly carry that on. But come with an open mind to hear
what your roommate, floormates, whomever, may have to say. Obviously, these signs were maybe
considered more extreme for this particular scenario, but it’s very real that you’re going to have
different opinions and ideas of things. And the best next step is to have
the conversation with one another. Do so as a boilermaker, with respect and
dignity and courtesy for one another. Agree to disagree. If agreeing to disagree is not an option
and there’s still significant conflict or you still feel like you’d
like to debrief this further. There are additional resources. You can talk to your RA. You can talk to your faculty fellow. You can talk to your faculty member. You can talk to the dean of students. There are people and resources that
can help you sort of decompress and process the challenges
that are in front of you.>>Great stuff, Katie, thank you. Alyssa great offense
taken by both sides here, either one of them have a basis for
a claim of harassment against the other.>>At this point no,
because under the scenario that we have, they’re each using symbols and
they’re powerful symbols. That’s what makes them symbols, right? They speak to more than what
they would appear to be. Here in looking at it, you would say that neither one of them is
having their educational opportunities eclipsed by
the presence of the sign. Again, symbols are powerful and they can affect you powerfully,
but you can also ignore them. And so, and you have a discussion and person may tell you really
don’t care what you think. So we don’t want you to feel that. And while you can have that conversation,
the other person doesn’t really have to listen to you or
even care what your view is of the symbol. But we would hope that in
a university community, that you could have
an initial conversation. That you could start from a place of discussing with somebody without assuming
that they’re intending to harm you. Have the conversation where you
share what the effect is on you or might be or
how others might understand the symbol. And then the person has
the option of keeping the symbol, changing it, thinking about it. You may change your view. You may understand a different way
that the symbol was intended or meant. So here again because,
No one is being targeted by it. Even though most of us,
before going to college, you didn’t have to worry about
offensive symbols in your home. And so a lot of what you are feeling is,
this is my home. This is where I go to sleep. This is where I eat. And yet, here are views that
are different from mine. But that’s part of the college experience. That’s part of being in a public
university in this country. And so, no. Given this scenario, there would not be either a violation
of university policy or anything else.>>Got it, got it. Pat, what would you add?>>Yes, so I completely agree, especially with Alisa’s point
about the power of symbols. Our symbols remind us of things
that are important to us. Notice how both of the students was initially really enthusiastic
about their own symbol. And that tells us something. And they were hoping that they would
meet people who would share the same enthusiasm for their symbols. But of course our symbols
can also divide us. Our symbols can mean negative
things as well as positive things. So one thing I’d suggest is you
keep in mind that not everybody is gonna like your symbols, and you should try not to initially assume
the worst of people with other symbols. But, as you both mentioned,
having a conversation and understanding what other people
are trying to communicate. But that’s tough, especially,
like you said, in your home. The proximity makes it difficult
seeing a symbol every day. And that’s why it’s good
to have a conversation. When I think about those conversations, I think, I was taught to try
to speak the truth in love. And failing that, at least go for respect. And even that’s hard,
and we make mistakes. But even when you speak the truth in love,
sometimes the truth is blunt and sometimes love can be harsh. When something offensive is being
communicated, it’s okay to feel offense and it’s okay to
express that to others, right?>>I’m just gonna interject right here and
say speaking the truth in love, there’s one caveat on this symbol thing. And that is that clearly the Purdue symbol
is always superior to the IU symbol.>>[APPLAUSE]>>I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding.>>And that’s something at Purdue
that you can practice, and learn, and we’re gonna get even better at.>>[LAUGH]>>All three of you have really conveyed
so well the power of this empathy, constructive engagement
to resolve differences, especially when you’re confronted
with ideas that you don’t agree with. Jeffrey Stone is a law professor
at the University of Chicago. He actually was the driving architect for
the Chicago principles. And he was here with Azar Majid
last year for a panel, and he emphasized this same point. Let’s see how he put it when asked
a question by an international student.>>Katie there has been a lot of
talk in this debate about free speech on college campuses,
about safe spaces. How should we think about those in
the context of being confronted by challenging speech?>>Well,
of course we want you to feel safe. To feel safe in your environment, in
your community, in your residence halls, in your classrooms, etc, etc. But in the context of free speech, there really isn’t anything
considered a safe space, a safe place from being challenged,
having your thoughts challenged, having your ideas challenged,
and that’s actually a good thing. To have your mind stretched,
to have your values challenged, to have your thoughts pushed, is an important part of why you’re
here as students at a university. We want you to cross that stage not
only with the degree in hand, but with an education in your hearts and
minds. And the way to get there is to expose
you to as many different ideas and opportunities as possible. It’s this whole marketplace
of ideas concept. This will help you become
true global citizen scholars where you can move on and be contributing
members, contributing citizens, of the environment in which you will
next live and reside and contribute. To kind of sum up this philosophy of
what a university is supposed to be for, I’m gonna cite a quick
quote by Clark Kerr. He is a former president at the University
of California many years ago, but what he said really holds true today. He said the University is not engaged
in making ideas safe for students, it is engaged in making students safe for
ideas.>>Such a great quote. It’s still relevant today. Van Jones, an attorney, author, well known progressive commentator
had this to say about the same topic when he was on a panel again at
the Chicago Institute for Politics. Let’s hear Van Jones.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Alisa, thoughts on Van’s observation?>>Well, he’s clearly a graduate
of a top-ranked law school shared by at least two
of us here on the stage.>>[LAUGH]>>Nonetheless,
I think it’s important to recognize, though, that it’s not
as stark a contrasted either-or as he perhaps conveys. It’s humorous to say,
we won’t take the weights out of the gym. But we do need to understand that some things that can be said can have terrific, horrific emotional impacts. And when that happens, we want folks to feel that
there’s a place that they can go. That there are resources here
on campus if you have a question about whether or
not the behaviors violate our policies. That we’re here to talk to you about it. And we’re here to support
you through your time here. And also to encourage
the rest of us that if we see these sorts of behaviors, speech. That we can use our speech
to support our classmates, our colleagues, and
that we can speak as well.>>Yeah, and then of course we have the
resources that Dr. Katie spoke of earlier. Thanks to all of you. I’m gonna go on to our next scenario and it’s the case of classroom disruption
during a lecture and discussion. So, during a course that
deals with climate change, a professor is presenting
data on global warming. As she goes into the role greenhouse gases
play, she seeks to engage the class and challenge them to think about
this as a threat to our planet. Let’s join class in progress,
just after the professor has gone over some measurement methods and
temperature trends.>>So with that background we see here, there have been record high
temperatures recently. And the data show a definite increase
in the average temperature overall. This new report, just released last week, by scientists from 13 federal
agencies says this, evidence for a changing climate abounds from the top of
the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean. Folks, we really need to be concerned and
start grappling with, yes?>>Professor, you keep describing
this as though it is actual fact. Remember when everybody in the world
was convinced that the Earth was the center of the universe for
like 2000 years? How can you be so sure about this?>>Well, it’s true, these early astronomers didn’t
model the cosmos correctly. They didn’t have the means to, but now
we can make observations from hard data that conclusively demonstrates
a clear temperature increase.>>Okay, but back then, didn’t they also
have good data from their observations? Get observations from their data. I mean, they thought that the sun
revolved around the Earth. I guess I just don’t buy your certainty, especially when there’s contrary
evidence on the other side.>>Okay, so these ancient astronomers
did make observations, but they were so rudimentary because
of their limited methods. Today we have a much better understanding
of the way the universe works. Like the law of gravity for example.>>Okay, I get that the scientific
method is more advanced than when Newton got hit on the head by an apple. However isn’t this just all for
the search of the ongoing truth? I guess I just find it troubling,
if not a bit arrogant, that humankind is responsible for
global warming.>>Well,
I have to admire your inquiring mind. This is worth further discussion. If you would like,
you can come to my office hours, and I can discuss the evidence
with you in greater detail. My door is always open. However, for
this class we do need to move on.>>Okay, so, we have a classroom setting. We have an interesting intersection
here of free speech in the classroom for the student. But also, related to that, something,
a close cousin of that doctrine, called academic freedom. Which is something that the professor has, in terms of discretion, to conduct
the class as he or she sees fit. So Pat, would you like to speak a little
bit about the tension between academic freedom and free speech, and how these
folks managed to navigate that here?>>Yeah, I think both the professor and
the student are doing pretty well here. Notice how the professor is
trying to present important and relevant material passionately and
in a way the students can understand it. And the student is paying active
attention, is engaging the material, trying to connect it up with
other things that he’s learned. And trying his best to
express the questions and contrary observations that he knows of. And that seems to be the right combination
for constructively engaging information, learning new information, and
they’re doing it respectfully. Both of them are confident
in their initial opinions. But they’re also humble enough to listen
to what the other person has to say. And patient enough. To respond and
to continue the conversation later. I think one of the most important
things that happens in the scenario is that when the professor has
decided the class needs to move on, the student acknowledges that, and
they continue the conversation elsewhere. And incidentally it’s helpful I think to think about that scientific method
that they were both talking about. About how this scientific method, and
really learning and higher education, depends on this constructive agreement and constructive disagreement,
and learning from each other. In different majors, in different
departments, in different colleges. This may happen in slightly different
ways, but it happens every day on campus when we do our work well as faculty and
as students. It reminds me of something that
one of my teachers once told me. He told me that, human beings can’t
really be happy if they don’t have some understanding of what they’re doing and
why. And that at the university,
this is a place where we can talk about and disagree about and
learn about those things. And that’s really actually where
the Chicago statement of principles begins is the point of a university
an engaging constructive disagreement. And now speaking for myself,
I’ll just note that as a philosopher I love teaching philosophy because that’s
a place where we can disagree, and we disagree all the time about
really important things. And learn a lot in the process. And so, again, speaking for myself, I hope
to see you all in some philosophy classes. Or maybe getting
a cornerstone certificate. And you can talk with me about
that afterwards if you’d like.>>Good plug, Pat. Katie and Elyse,
an quick thoughts before we go on? Okay, now we’re gonna look at how a different students takes
a different approach and the result?>>Evidence for
a changing climate abounds. From the top of the atmosphere
to the depths of the ocean. Folks, we really need to be concerned and
start grappling with what a load of crap.>>There she goes again.>>I’ve heard that
the best data we’ve got. Satellite data proves the exact opposite,
global cooling. You talk about this report but I’ve read
so many that state the exact contrary. Meanwhile the liberal media
portrays our world going to hell. Isn’t this all just a bunch of fake news?>>[INAUDIBLE].>>Well, there’s actually
quite an easy explanation for the difference in the data sets. See, the satellite data is
prone to interpretive error.>>I see, so you think the scientists are manipulating
the data that fit their biased theories? Honestly, your arrogance is astounding.>>[NOISE].>>There is no need to sling insults. I wasn’t saying anything about
the research integrity of any scientist. I’m merely trying to help you
understand the complex and sometimes subjective factors
that impact conclusions on data.>>So now you just think I’m too stupid
to understand what you’re saying? I mean, you just like to hear the ringing
of your own righteous rhetoric, and anyone who disagrees with you
is morally reprehensible. You’re a narcissist, and
this is still a load of crap.>>[NOISE].>>If you’re going to continue to insult
me and not engage with the material, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I can’t continue conducting
the class with your outburst. Please leave so
that the rest of us can move on.>>Gladly.>>Okay Pat. So was the professor
within her rights to take the action she did with the student here?>>I think she is. Clearly the student is being disruptive. The problem isn’t doing a bit
of outside homework and bringing in evidence and arguments. But the repeated interruptions and insults has clearly left
the subject matter behind, and has really destroyed the possibility
of that constructive disagreement. And so,
the professor really needs to move on.>>Got you. And so we don’t want our professors
to be uncivil to students, but they might ask challenging questions
and by the same token the student, part of the learning process is
being able to grapple with those, those top topics, right?>>Exactly. And the professor needs to
choose topics well, and we try very hard to do that, and
have experienced doing so, and we hope that the students will
engage with passion and engagement. But again, we need to engage each other
constructively in the classroom for it to work well.>>Here’s another quote from
Jeffrey Stone on this topic.>>Good stuff.
Okay, let’s go to our fourth and final scenario for this evening. The case of a protest demonstration
against an invited speaker. To educate the Purdue community on
the impact of the consumption of animal products, a student organization
has invited the people for the ethical treatment of animals or
PETA to campus. Some have come to share
different perspective. We have a group of animal
science researchers. We have some student members of
the Collegiate Beef Growers Alliance, or the CBGA. And a group of concerned women students, they’re all gathering outside the forum,
and let’s see how each of them react.>>Seriously I cannot believe that PETA is trying to wage war on
the scientific community. Community.>>Sometimes I don’t think they’re
even aware of the countless lives that are saved due to animal research. Do you think they would even listen? I doubt it.>>I agree, I don’t think they’d even try. Not alone appreciate the human devastation
that we have avoided to treatments of HIV, AIDS alone through decades of research.>>Yeah, it’s frustrating but, hey,
let’s try to engage one more time. I think I see some PETA activists
over there, we can go talk to them.>>Sounds good. We can try to get them to
see our point of view and explain the benefits of our research. So, Alyssa, what do you think about
the researcher’s approach to the protest?>>[INAUDIBLE] It’s great that they’ve
decided to engage the speaker. They are attending the event while
expressing their own point of view, and they seem willing to, as well, try to speak with those in
that organization to try to engage in a constructive dialog
to perhaps change minds.>>Thanks, Pat.>>Yeah, I think it’s important to
remember that we all come to Purdue with expertise and
experiences that we can bring to bear, both in the lab, in the classroom,
and also outside of the classroom, and I appreciate those researchers
are doing that here. And I also think it’s actually excellent
that the students who formed this group, something they care about, and they put on a public event to
share those ideas with others, and together we get the inner change
of ideas and we can all learn a lot.>>That’s a great point,
especially as we move to the next scene, which is a different student group
on the other side of the debate. This is the scene with our
collegiate beef growers alliance.>>Hey, so good to see you again. Thanks for coming.>>Absolutely, with all these
people here I’m really glad we talked to the dean’s office about what
we’re doing and how to do it right.>>Yeah,
now that we know some basic protocol, we can know how to run this
as effectively as possible.>>Right, so
as long as we stay in bounds and don’t disrupt the event,
that’s our best bet. PETA may never come around, but hopefully some other people
can see our point of view.>>Yeah, I’m so tired of everyone
bashing our organization. Let’s go ahead and get inside and
make sure everyone sees us.>>Right, but we’re also gonna let people
go in and hear the PETA speaker, right?>>Yeah.
We’ll do exactly what they told us. We’ll walk in with our signs, we’ll make sure people see us,
maybe chant a few slogans. Then we’ll let them talk. We’ll listen. We’ll wait. And we’ll go head back outside.>>Okay, let’s do this.>>Katie, the CBGA clearly
has done some homework and they’ve thought a lot about
planning their protest. Sounds like they even
checked with your office. What coaching might they have received?>>This was a great model example
of working with an outside group or working with a group that wants
to express differing opinions. And so they did a great job. You don’t have to meet with the Dean of
Students Office, but we’re here to help and so we can help work through
the specifics to make an event work well. And so, in their case, we encourage
people to do the counter protesting, the outside signs were great,
the chanting were great. They’re allowed to go inside to continue
that chanting to bring those signs until the speaker begins. At the point where the speaker
would begin his or her message, they would need to take a seat,
put the signs in the back of the room, not impair anyone else’s view and
not heckle. Because at that point it’s time for
the speaker to exercise his or her free speech, so we don’t infringe
upon the free speech of others. So this was really an excellent example.>>Great, great. And it’s a good segue to our last group,
the Concerned Women’s Students. We’re gonna see how they react to
a particular feature of the PETA event, the so called lettuce ladies.>>Hey Pavi, did you bring those signs?>>Yeah, here they are.>>Great, I can’t believe PETA
has those lettuce ladies again. I mean, why would you put women in
vegetable bikinis in order to draw attention to your propaganda.>>Honestly, I have no idea, but i can
guarantee this, if PETA were the ones protesting they’d be dumping fake blood
and maybe even paint on all these people.>>Yeah, I mean, their outfits, first of all, I don’t think I would
ever wanna be seen something like that. It’s literally a string bikini with
leaves of lettuce barely hanging on. It’s way more graphic than
a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. And I think we can even give them
a piece of their own medicine, too. You know those signs
that you made earlier?>>Yeah.>>That red paint? Well I was gonna ask you to bring it but
instead I went to the grocery store and wait for it. I got these babies. Some lettuce heads. One for each of us. We can use this to protest the lettuce
ladies and give them a piece of our minds.>>This is fantastic.>>Whoa! Wait, guys. I see where you’re going with this, and
I see where you’re coming from, but didn’t we agree that we would keep this protest
within bounds, let them do their thing?>>Sabrina, to heck with that! Look there are those lettuce
ladies now in the crowd! What do you say Pavi? You ready to go?>>I’m out of here.>>You know what? Let’s do this.>>On the count of three one, two, three! [LAUGH]>>[LAUGH]>>Okay, great job. [APPLAUSE] We successfully ducked
the lettuce here on the panel. Alyssa, what do you think
about their approach?>>Well, here we’ve crossed the line. We’re engaging in violence,
we’re throwing lettuce. [LAUGH] It’s humorous, but it can do harm.>>[LAUGH]>>But we also saw the third student,
who decided not to go along with it. And that’s sort of the circumstance that
any one of us might find ourselves in, which is you want to show your disagreement with an organization,
you’ve got a plan and the plan changes. And someone, or some people may decide that they
want to take it to the next level. And each person has
an opportunity to make a choice. And so perhaps you’re able to try to
convince folks that they shouldn’t engage in that behavior or,
maybe you aren’t. But you still get a choice and you get a chance to decide whether you’re
gonna participate or not participate, and here the student shows not to
go along with the behaviors. And sometimes you find yourself
in a situation where one person takes a step and
then others take the step as well. And so it’s important to keep in mid that,
that does violate university policies and I’m sure
there’s a law against throwing lettuce.>>Lettuce.>>And hitting people.>>So we have the dissenting view of the
one student but what about the other two, Katie, what are they looking at?>>Well, the lettuce launchers
would most likely be visiting without folks in student rights and
responsibilties. This is a conduct code violation. The lettuce heads are projectiles. Projectiles are weapons. Weapons are violence and
violence isn’t free speech.>>Great, Pat.>>Yeah, so
as much as we all enjoy a tossed salad.>>[LAUGH]>>[APPLAUSE]>>[LAUGH]>>I think it’s important to agree that this is violence especially
when there’s a crowd of people. One small projectile can lead
things to get out of hand, and that’s not productive free speech. But the other groups, they did a very good job of
constructively engaging one another. And they gave other groups the opportunity
to express their point of view as well. They didn’t argue that the university
should shut the event down. They didn’t prevent others from
listening to what was happening. And it’s that interchange of ideas
outside of the classroom even that we can all learn from. That can strengthen our community and help us to contribute to society
in lots of productive ways.>>Great pad. We’re very close to wrapping up but
on this point about reacting to invited speakers, we’re gonna listen
to an excerpt of an address that former President Obama gave at
Howard University just last year. Here’s what he says about it.>>[APPLAUSE]>>And just to wrap up, we couldn’t resist
doing one more from our former president, which in many ways is the perfect
summation to send you on your way as you face your exciting careers ahead. Here’s one more from
former President Obama.>>[LAUGH]>>Look.>>So that’s a wrap. I wanna thank our panel,
I wanna thank our student leaders.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you so much for your attention. Have a great BGR. A great year. Boiler up.>>[APPLAUSE]

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