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Pelton Talks About Campus Free Speech on WGBH

Emerson College President Lee Pelton was a guest on WGBH’s Greater Boston March 8 to talk about free speech on campus and whether or where to draw the line when it comes to controversial speakers.

The show aired days after violence erupted on the campus of Middlebury College, where conservative author Charles Murray was invited to speak.

Pelton said that “the best learning comes from a place of discomfort,” but that safety needs to take precedent.

“I think that any provocateur, whether it’s the left or the right should be, under most circumstances, allowed to speak,” said Pelton. “If you invite someone to campus and it’s clear that their presence on campus is going to create some kind of disruption that you cannot prepare for, then you might make a decision [to cancel], but that’s not about that person speaking.”

Joining Pelton were civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate and Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College.

Watch the segment on the WGBH website.

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