EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Former prof encourages students to 'speak out' as campuses crack down on speech

  • Former UW-Madison Professor Donald Downs joined Campus Reform recently to discuss his new book on free speech.
  • Downs offered students two specific pieces of advice for how to advance the free speech cause on campus.

Former University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Donald Downs sat down with Campus Reform's Eduardo Neret recently to discuss his new book, Free Speech and Liberal Education: A Plea for Intellectual Diversity and Tolerance, which hits store shelves in February. 


"I do worry about the future of the country"   

"I do worry about the future of the country," Downs said during an exclusive interview with Campus Reform. Downs recalled many firsthand experiences he had while he was a professor at UW-Madison, and said that, while he does worry about the state of free speech, the majority of students still believe in the concept of free speech. 

"But there's a strong minority of students that don't, and it's been harder to resist them on campus than it used to be," Downs said. 

"And that's why you need to speak out and do challenge them in the most strategic way that you can."

Downs also encouraged students to "speak out" so that their views are not "buried." He offered another piece of advice for advancing free speech on campus. 

"You need to seek allies...it's really important to seek out allies and build a kind of bandwagon of facts or a group of people you can rely on that take this message seriously. So you start building strength in numbers," Downs said. 

[RELATED: POLL: Most young Americans support 'hate speech' exemption in First Amendment]

Watch the full interview below: 

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Jon Street
Jon Street | Managing Editor

Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's CNSNews.com, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at Watchdog.org, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at TheBlaze.com. In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.

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