The College of Education recently held an interactive session focusing on free speech controversies that have arisen at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. The talk, “From Snowflakes to Milo: The Search to Reconcile Free Speech and Social Justice Concerns on College and University Campuses,” was given by Dr. Neal Hutchens, a professor of higher education at the University of Mississippi. It was sponsored by the UK College of Education Inclusiveness Committee.
Hutchens’ scholarship focuses on higher education law and policy, with a special interest in speech and academic freedom issues. He helped participants explore if it is possible or desirable to balance institutional commitments to free speech with values related to social justice, diversity, and inclusivity.
Among the issues for discussion, participants were be able to consider and reflect upon legal standards relevant to how public colleges and universities navigate both free speech and civil rights obligations in a campus context.
Hutchens was the 2015 recipient of the William A. Kaplin Award from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy. Hutchens is a member of the American Association of University Professors Litigation Committee and on the board of directors for the Education Law Association. He is a member of the author team for the upcoming sixth edition of The Law of Higher Education, the leading legal treatise for higher education law. Hutchens is also at work with several colleagues on a book to be published by a leading student affairs association on free speech in higher education. In addition to his scholarly publications, he has written for The Conversation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, InsideHigherEd, and The Hechinger Report.