UC-Irvine Chancellor on Sessions’ ‘Snowflakes’ Comment: ‘Calling Each Other Names’ Isn’t Productive

Howard A. Gillman, chancellor, U. of California at Irvine

July 26, 2018
Produced by Carmen Mendoza and Julia Schmalz

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday accused colleges of creating “a generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.” Sure, when it comes to handling free-speech scuffles, colleges have room to improve, said Howard A. Gillman, chancellor of the University of California at Irvine and a noted First Amendment scholar, in a Chronicle interview. But that’s not the best way to think about the issue, he said.

Gillman discussed ways colleges can “improve the quality of the conversation” about free expression. He also highlighted the security costs associated with protests and visiting speakers as a significant concern. Berkeley, he noted, spent nearly $4 million over a month on free-speech events, including a “free-speech week” that didn’t end up happening.

Sarah Brown writes about a range of higher-education topics, including sexual assault, race on campus, and Greek life. Follow her on Twitter @Brown_e_Points, or email her at sarah.brown@chronicle.com.

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