» Free and civil speech: LBCC makes an elite list


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Free and civil speech: LBCC makes an elite list

Written June 5th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Linn-Benton Community College is in elite company when it comes to upholding the principles of free speech and civil discussion of controversial ideas.

An article in the June edition of Reason Magazine lists the Albany college, along with the University of Chicago, Arizona State and seven other schools across the country as a place “where you don’t have to walk on eggshells.”

The authors are Debra Mashek and Jonathan Haidt of the Heterodox Academy, which they describe as “an organization of more than 2,500 professors who believe that viewpoint diversity and freedom of inquiry are essential components of a good academic culture.”

Writing in the magazine (circulation about 50,000) of the libertarian Freedom Foundation, they highlight 10 colleges that “stand out from the crowd” for their efforts. “These are schools — large and small, public and private — where evidence suggests that students will have better odds of developing the habits of heart and mind necessary to thrive in a world of complexity, nuance, and difference.”

Besides LBCC, the University of Chicago and Arizona State, the authors list Chapman University and Claremont McKenna College in California, Kansas State, Kenyon College in Ohio, Purdue University in Indiana, St. John’s College in Maryland and New Mexico, and the University of Virginia in Richmond.

I asked LBCC’s president, Greg Hamann, for some background and expressed surprise that our little community college made such an illustrious list.

“Thanks for your note and for your compliments,” he emailed back.”The only thing is that I wish it were not a surprise to you, as we have been working on this for quite a while now.

“I think the big boost came when we had the rather controversial art exhibit on campus a couple of years ago (covered in both the LBCC Commuter and Albany DH). Out of that came a strong affirmation of academic freedom and free speech from our board, a significant revision of our associated polices and rules (that were vetted by national organizations like FIRE) and a student movement and eventual club named the Civil Discourse Club, which recently received national recognition by the Heterodox Academy as the Outstanding Student Group of the Year.”

The Civil Discourse Club has a Facebook page. It lists four elements of etiquette: No partisan attacks, no self-promotion, substantiate claims, and no personal attacks.

Look it up. Then try to follow those rules. (hh)






Posted in: Commentary, News

6 responses to “Free and civil speech: LBCC makes an elite list”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Read the article here:


    This publication is one of my favorites. It recognizes the individual and values nonconformity.

    In today’s political environment we are constantly pressured to conform to the narratives being pushed by the ideologies of the two-party system.

    Reason pokes holes in this approach and challenges us as individuals to think for ourselves.

    Love it.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      As a more-or-less liberal who has little use for the Republican Party of 2019 and Donald Trump, I have to say “right on” to Reason Magazine and its defense of free speech.

      The article has some interesting data – the ratios of Democratic to Republican voter registrations among college faculties; some are really hard to believe.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    One small correction, although some Spiders may have been offended by your mistake.

    It’s the University of Richmond, not the “University of Virginia in Richmond.”

    • J.Jacobson says:

      One can only imagine the horror besetting the hallowed Board of Trustees (descendants all of slave-holders) [see Confederate flag] had not this correction been made. One would never wish to offend the sensibilities of this august group. To do so would be viewed as politically INcorrect amongst a certain group.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Greg – By your own admission, it’s only been a couple of years since the PC police (aka Diversity Achievement Center) has had complete control of the school so yes, it would come as a surprise that LBCC now supports the First Amendment. Well…kind of, sort of, maybe.

    “No partisan attacks”. What exactly does that even mean? As a noun, a ‘partisan’ is a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person. As an adjective, to be ‘partisan’ is to be prejudiced in favor of a particular cause. So…what, a person isn’t allowed to express a firmly held belief, and/or express that belief without be accused of being prejudiced?

    Doesn’t sound like much as changed.

    PS – Does DAC still send emails to school employees telling them what to say, what to do, how to act?

  4. George Kurtz says:

    I am very proud of the College I served in the 80s & 90s. They continue to not only do the right things for our community but also do things right. Good leadership and great Faculty!


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