Universities should be inclusive -- but not at the expense of free speech

For Middlebury and other schools where such confrontations are sure to arise again, it is now time to look ahead and to think about principles that can help us to avoid future escalation and to ensure respect for the rights of both speech and protest. I would suggest the following:

· Embrace freedom of expression and inquiry as an educational value for everyone, regardless of their background or political views. Controversial speech is especially difficult at a time when issues that should be addressed and debated become the exclusive province of the left or the right. In our current state of high tension, it is hard to explore vital, fraught topics such as the history of oppression or the nature of freedom, but we have a responsibility to teach and discuss them openly and honestly, with mutual respect.

· Move beyond the false dichotomy between free speech and inclusiveness. Our dual commitment to free expression and to making all students full members of our communities must be embraced fiercely and with conviction. But an educational institution does not become more inclusive by limiting freedom of expression. Nor does it achieve greater freedom by reducing its commitment to building an inclusive, robust, brave public square where all students are equally welcomed and valued.