First Amendment

Purdue kicks off semester with free speech training

 (Scott Boehm via AP, File)

As college kicks off across the United States, students at the Mizzou, Oregon State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Wisconsin Madison and other universities sat through diversity and sensitivity training.

Purdue took a wholly different approach. On Aug. 17, its student orientation included a full session on free speech and academic freedom.

That training included a panel on free speech, moderated by the university’s legal counsel, discussing examples of controversial but protected speech. Purdue also played videos of past speakers and public figures, emphasizing “the value and importance of robust speech and debate on campus.”

Purdue has emerged as a free-speech leader in recent years, becoming the first public university in the U.S. to adopt the so-called “Chicago principles” on speech in May 2015.

In doing so, Purdue guaranteed that those on its campus will enjoy “the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn.” It also unequivocally declared that “it is not the proper role of the University to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

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