Panel on the Free Speech Crisis on American Campuses on Jan. 26

BATON ROUGE – The Eric Voegelin Institute at LSU is sponsoring a panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., in the LSU Student Union Capital Chamber (room 329) on “The Free Speech Crisis on American Campuses.”  Panelists are Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, and Thomas Cushman, professor of sociology at Wellesley College.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will be moderated by LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope.

Both panelists are leading observers of campus speech around the country who have spoken widely on the topic. Wood has been president of NAS since 2009, having served the previous two years as their executive director.  He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Rochester, and also holds a BA from Haverford College and a master’s degree in library science from Rutgers.  He is the author of “A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now” and “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept.” 

Cushman is the founder and current editor-at-large of the Journal of Human Rights and the director of The Freedom Project at Wellesley College, where he is Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of sociology. His books include “Notes from Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia,” named one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books in 1995, and “George Orwell: Into the 21st Century,” with John Rodden. He also has edited many other works, including “The Routledge Handbook of Human Rights.”

“The crisis of free speech on American campuses today has its roots in part in the perennial tension between claims of justice and claims of freedom,” said James Stoner, Hermann Moyse Jr. Professor of Political Science and director of the Voegelin Institute, “but also in part in the modern university’s confusion over its purpose in relation to its students, its faculty, and the larger society. We hope these outstanding scholars will help us reflect on these issues and recover that purpose.” 

This is the Voegelin Institute’s second panel in as many years on the topic. Its November 2015 event helped prompt the LSU Faculty Senate’s endorsement in February 2016 of the Chicago Statement on Freedom of Expression, a major document that offers guidance on campus speech in modern circumstances.




Contact James R. Stoner Jr.
Hermann Moyse Jr. Professor and director of the Eric Voegelin Institute
LSU Department of Political Science 


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations