Elite Universities Are the Worst for Free Speech

One of the great values of an American collegiate experience is that students have the chance to engage deeply with differing opinions. To this day, I am grateful for the cornucopia of people, traditions, views, and cultures that I was able to engage with two decades ago when I, then a fairly conservative Jewish teenager, left the East Coast to go West and to college at Stanford University.

I would be lying if I said that there were no evenings when I felt hurt, misunderstood, shocked, and angry when my ideas were challenged and came into conflict with others. But there were far more nights where I was able to connect, learn, and grow in ways unimaginable to me in high school. I certainly remember the frustrations and agony of being challenged, but I remember more powerfully the ecstasy of having my mind opened up to new ideas and changing my opinions when I heard someone or something new. My old dorm even hosted a speaker’s series where huge turnouts were common for guests on both the left and the right and no one shouted down anyone; we even hosted the frequently-protested Dinesh D’Souza without incident.

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