A slow but steady push back against the efforts of those who shout down speakers on campus is finally starting to materialize.

The Washington Post reports.

University of Minnesota’s proposed free speech protections would be “the most comprehensive to date”

Last week the University of Minnesota Senate began to take up the issue of free speech on campus. No action was taken, but several students showed up to speak against a proposed “core principles” statement provisionally approved by the university’s top faculty committee. The statement condemns efforts to shout down controversial speakers and declares free speech paramount to other values like maintaining a positive campus “climate.” During the meeting, one faculty member also called for “discursive affirmative action” to correct perceived imbalances of power and influence among speakers, a concept explicitly rejected by the core principles draft. The Senate will likely consider the matter again this fall.

An article published this morning in Inside Higher Ed contains the most complete overview yet of the effort to protect free speech at the University of Minnesota and of the resistance it’s encountering–mostly from some student groups. (Readers should be aware that I’ve been directly involved in the efforts to protect free speech at Minnesota.) From the article:

The University of Minnesota at Twin Cities is considering a set of statements on free speech that, if passed, could be the strongest such affirmation seen on any campus. Yet the statements’ future is uncertain, given concerns — especially those from students — about free speech being “paramount” to other values. At the same time, it’s unclear whether free expression can truly be protected without declaring it paramount.

“Ideas are the lifeblood of a free society and universities are its beating heart,” reads a statement passed by a majority of members of the powerful Faculty Consultative Committee and now under debate before the Faculty Senate. “If freedom of speech is undermined on a university campus, it is not safe anywhere. The University of Minnesota resolves that the freedom of speech is, and will always be, safe at this institution.”