A faculty petition at Williams College to adopt the Chicago principles, which many free speech advocates consider the gold standard of free speech philosophy, has divided the campus and pushed administrators to review the college's policies.
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The problems at the Massachusetts institution began in September with a panel discussion on free expression in which a well-known religious scholar took part. The scholar was Reza Aslan, a best-selling author and professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. [Williams College biology professor Luana] Maroja, who attended the event, said Aslan dominated the conversation and made statements that baffled her, including that administrators should dictate what can and cannot be said on college campuses, and that only "factual talks" had a place in higher education. She said students cheered these remarks.
"This nonsense was met with intense student applause," Maroja wrote in a blog post about the roundtable. "It was appalling."
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