Northwestern University—like many universities around the country—recently banned consensual relations between faculty and students. In response to this decision, Northwestern Professor Laura Kipnis wrote an ironic essay highlighting all the professors married to former students on the campus and at other campuses around the country.
In the Learn Liberty video below, Professor Kipnis discusses the backlash she received in response to the essay. Thanks to complaints by graduate students, the Northwestern even put her under a Title IX investigation (in which she was recently cleared). Ironically, this controversy caused more people to read the essay than would have otherwise.
Kipnis, who is tenured, highlights how such protests could threaten the job security of non-tenured professors, providing them with a strong incentive to avoid saying anything controversial.
Given that tenure is increasing rare, this climate has led to a chilling of free speech on campus because professors often refuse to put forth controversial arguments for fear of losing their jobs.
This limitation of speech shrinks the educational value of the college experience, which should be based on the free exchange of ideas.