Censorship on College Campuses and the Forces behind Campus Speaker Disinvitations

Faculty Sponsor

Amy Atchison


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-4-2017


College and university campuses have long been held as bastions of freedom of speech and expression. However, as time has progressed and ideals and attitudes have changed, the clash between rules and rights concerning freedom of speech and expression has become more evident. Censorship has become a more prevalent aspect of campus life among students, faculty, and staff. At the same time, the public and media have become active participants in the discussion of what happens on college campuses in terms of speech, expression, and censorship. Institutions of higher education are often put in positions where they must quickly respond to demands from the public and media, or face negative publicity and criticism. As a result of protests in various forms from both internal and external groups, tools such as speech codes and speaker disinvitation have become the norm on college campuses across the United States. This paper focuses primarily on discussing the importance of external versus internal forces that play into campus speaker disinvitation attempts. I draw on data from college and university reactions to student protests, as well as external groups such as the public and the media. I use the FIRE Disinvitation Database to test the proposed hypothesis that pressures external to campus, such as public opinion and media, are more likely than internal campus pressures, such as student and faculty protests, to result in campus speaker disinvitation.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Jonathan Cisneros will graduate from Valparaiso University in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. His studies also include a double minor in legal studies and German. After graduation, he will be pursuing a Masters in Higher Education Administration. Combined with his interest in politics, his future career aspirations have motivated him to study the affects of politics on the institution of higher education.

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