Brown to host teach-in pertaining to free speech rights on campus

Many are asking when intervention of the state with violence – both direct and indirect – is justified.
Many are asking when intervention of the state with violence – both direct and indirect – is justified. | File photo
Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design will host debates on the issues raised regarding freedom of expression and interference on college campuses that were sparked by an event in India last month.

The Delhi Police stormed Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in India.

The pretext of the raid was that students were allegedly speaking "anti-national slogans" during a campus event related to Kashmir. The event culminated in the arrest of the elected president of the student union, Kanhaiya Kumar, on the charge of sedition. That has prompted polarized and explosive debates on dissent, nationalism, democracy and state violence across India, especially in relation to the college and campus.

With many raising the issue that the university is a place for critical thought and political action, the question is where the line is drawn between freedom of expression and dissent or hateful speech. Many are asking when intervention of the state with violence – both direct and indirect – is justified.

This and many other questions, such as how this news resonates with those struggling in Chile, South Africa, Turkey and even the United States, are among topics slated for the teach-in.

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Watson Institute International & Public Affairs Brown University

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