National Press Club

Free Speech on Campus

June 4, 1991

About This Video

Run time: 57 minutes

Mr. Schmidt, president of Yale University, spoke on issues of concern on college campuses at the National Press Club. A former clerk to Chief Justice Warren, Mr. Schmidt briefly mentioned the current debate over the use of government research funds by universities and colleges, and went on to discuss free speech and "political correctness" on campuses. He said schools of higher education in America are in disarray, due to a loss of confidence in what a university is. He said the clear values a university ought to stand for are becoming clouded by issues of freedom and conformity. Given the issue of flag-burning, obscenity in the arts, and the gag-order on family planning clinics recently upheld by the Supreme Court, our whole society including the campuses are experiencing anxieties over the limitations of the First Amendment. Mr. Schmidt called for academic values to push back against trends that put money or political expediency before principle. He argued against the restraint of obnoxious speech, which he said was the price of freedom.