Political correctness vs. free speech on campus
- Some Australian colleges and universities are embracing "political correctness" in an effort to create "safer spaces" for academic learning.
- Professors are using "trigger warnings" to prepare students about topics controversial or offensive topics.
- Opponents say the growing culture restricts academic freedom and limits free speech, negatively impacting the capacity for students to learn.
The growing diversity on college campuses has increased students’ value on pluralism across all elements of college life. This movement has put college administrators in a space with very little room for error to ensure that policies clearly promote tolerance and acceptance, while also being in position to respond when faculty or students cross these lines.
There is a major difference, however, between warning students about potentially offensive themes in academic discourse, and civil tolerance outside of these conversations. Discussions on abortion, racism and other sensitive subjects should not have a “viewer discretion advised” label, because they are understood to be topics that create emotional or socially strong reactions.
Colleges and universities should create regular opportunities for students, faculty and staff to openly discuss and define the makings of microaggressions, and not to dismiss the idea of cultural offensiveness as "coddling," but a large-scale form of diversity training. Avoiding the topic only guarantees student dissatisfaction, media controversy and public pressure for changes in administration.
- Study International Australian universities said to increasingly embrace 'political correctness'