Free Speech in the College Community

Free Speech in the College Community

Robert M. O’Neil
Distribution: World
Publication date: 3/1/1997
ISBN: 978-0-253-11336-8
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1997
“This is an engaging and highly readable discussion of the intricacies of First Amendment jurisprudence as it is applied to the college campus.” —The Law and Politics Book Review

“Lucidly written, the book can be read and understood by many audiences from student organizations to board members. . . . Essential for all college and university libraries.” —Choice

“A pragmatic, libertarian-minded, and well-informed legal handbook for the First Amendment on campus . . .” —Kirkus Reviews

“ . . . the most comprehensive and thorough examination of campus speech available today.” —Harvard Educational Review

“Bob O’Neil has produced the seminal work on First Amendment freedoms on our university campuses. He has brought scolarship, clear thinking and clean prose to a book of critical importance to all of us.” —Bruce W. Sanford

“Robert O’Neil has long been one of the brightest stars in the complex and controversial arena of freedom of expression. And he has never shined brighter and with more incisive clarity than with his new work, Free Speech in the College Community.” —Richar A. Roth, Trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Freedom of Expression

“This is the first integrated discussion of the fascinating free speech issues that pertain to teachers and students. It is an unusually informative, vivid and balanced treatment and an absolute must read for all academics and students.” —Norman Dorsen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union

“Free Speech in the College Community is a very timely book written by a dedicated scholar of the First Amendment. Challenging and readable it should be studied by all academicians, students, legislators and lawyers.” —Nancy Kassebaum Baker, United States Senator (retired)

All of today’s “hot-button” issues are dealt with in this timely book, from Holocaust denial to claims of racial determination of intelligence to hate speech. Former college president Robert O’Neil dramatically illustrates the many types of problems that confront university administrators, frequently using representative fictional characters and discourse to present the situations. Free Speech in the College Community illustrates the many problems that now confront universities by questioning whether or not speech on campus should be freer than speech on the streets. Join the Web debate about free speech on campus:

Author Bio

Robert M. O’Neil is Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and author of Classrooms in the Crossfire: The Rights and Interests of Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Librarians, and the Community. He is also former President of the Universities of Virginia and Wisconsin.


"O'Neil's book deals with campus speech codes, speech and technology, off-campus speech, groups (gays, Greeks), free press, artistic expression, academic freedom, religious speech, and freedom of speech at private institutions. His postscript contains seven carefully crafted premises that should guide all discussions of freedom of speech issues on campus. The book ends with a seven-page annotated bibliography that cites some of the major literature, including William van Alstyne's brilliant work and William A. Kaplin and Barbara A. Lee's comprehensive and essential The Law of Higher Education (3rd ed., 1995). Lucidly written, the book can be read and understood by many audiences from student organizations to board members. O'Neil describes in adequate detail cases on larger campuses, most less than five years old, and quotes central passages from judicial decisions. The book displays the wisdom a former research university president (Virginia and Wisconsin) should have. O'Neil, now director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, writes from the perspective of someone who has Been there, struggled with that. Essential for all college and university libraries." —G. L. Findlen, Western Wisconsin Technical College, Choice , July 1997

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Table of Contents

Who Needs a Speech Code?
The Outspoken University Professor
Free Speech and New Technologies
The Constitution and the Off-Campus Speaker
Students, Fees, Fraternities, and Other Groups
Free Press on the College Campus
Artistic Freedom on Campus
Academic Research and Academic Freedom
Religious Speech on the Public Campus
Free Speech on the Private Campus