Free Expression

Snyder is particularly interested in the historical and contemporary debates surrounding free expression in K-12 schools and higher education. Intrigued by multiplying threats to free expression in schools over the past several years, Snyder has tried to make some sense of this censorship wave--including shifting conceptions of free speech and social justice--in the following venues:

• In the New Republic Snyder and Amna Khalid argue that "Bias Response Teams" are fatally flawed, part of well-intentioned but profoundly misguided attempt to "manage" campus diversity

• In Inside Higher Ed, Snyder presents the case that a growing contingent of students mistakenly regard free speech as nothing more than a weapon of the rich, the powerful and the privileged

• In Salmagundi, Snyder suggests that the concept of contagion may help us to understand the remarkable spectacles of censorship on display across the higher education landscape

• In Inside Higher Ed, Snyder and Khalid maintain that partisan politics prevents the left from seeing threats to campus free expression

(They offer a more extended analysis in this same vein in their co-authored paper, "Not a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: Why Left-Leaning Faculty Should Care About Threats to Free Expression on Campus")

• At, Khalid and Snyder examine the controversy surrounding the "Life of Washington" mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco, contending that removing the mural would deal a serious blow to history, creativity and critical thought

• In The Conversation, Khalid and Snyder discuss the problems with campus diversity training, asserting that training shortchanges campus communities by substituting etiquette for open inquiry and critical thinking 

Snyder speaks regularly on academic freedom, campus politics and intellectual freedom, arguing that free expression is at the heart of the liberal arts mission to develop critical thinkers and engaged citizens.

For more information on academic freedom and campus free speech issues, the following organizations are vital:

The American Association of University Professors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Heterodox Academy. See also ​​the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement and the Georgetown University Free Speech Project. Regarding free expression more broadly, see the ACLU, the American Library Association, Index on Censorship, the National Coalition Against Censorship and PEN America.​

© Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, 2020