Intellectually honest campus speakers are being swallowed by the zeitgeist of disinvitation theatre: almost two dozen campus speakers have been disinvited this year. While a few provocateurs seek disruption, excluding thoughtful—even if controversial—speakers deprives students of opportunities to reconsider campus orthodoxies and understand contemporary issues.
Please join us for a conversation with figures from 2019 disinvitation controversies: Senator Bob Kerrey, pressured to withdraw from a commencement address; Dr. Harvey C. Mansfield, disinvited from delivering a commencement address; and Dr. Matthew J. Dickinson, the Middlebury professor who invited a speaker disinvited by the college to address his class. We will also be joined by Wesleyan University president Michael S. Roth, whose new book on approaches to inclusion and free speech on college campuses will be released in August.
Panelists will discuss the pressures that lead universities to disinvite guest speakers, the reasons for the uptick in disinvitations, and how campus leaders can protect the essential contributions invited speakers make to preparing students for informed, thoughtful citizenship.
Matthew J. Dickinson
Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College
Former U.S. Senator
Harvey C. Mansfield
William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, Harvard University
Michael S. Roth
President, Wesleyan University
Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill
Director, Campus Free Expression Project, BPC