Free speech incidents on college and university campuses present problems without simple solutions. Examples continue to emerge where a speaker is prevented from coming to campus, or once on campus, is shouted down to prevent the speech. The consequences of that confrontation do not end there. The protests can turn violent. Groups from outside campus are attracted to the spotlight on these events to make a visible stand in the polarized political environment of this time. Commentators lament that colleges and universities, considered the bastion of open thought and discourse, would be closed to controversial ideas. Others argue that certain ideas have no place in the inclusive environments that higher education institutions have worked hard to create. As these events unfold, leaders - often presidents - are faced with decisions that will take time to resolve and require a complex understanding of context, both in the world and in the campus community. The decisions of leaders, when faced with difficult choices, reveal the process by which successful leaders handle adaptive problems for which no solution is readily known and for which hard work is required to understand, grow, evolve, and adapt. The response of leaders for this research is grouped broadly around framing and understanding the problem and then the actions taken to address the problems to understand how leaders respond to the issues presented by free speech challenges at colleges and universities. This research explores four case studies at private nonprofit campuses that hosted controversial speakers invited from outside of the campus community: Alma College, Dillard University, DePaul University, and Middlebury College. The events at these institutions offer insight into the ways in which leaders respond to challenges without easy and known solutions.
|Commitee:||Moneta, Larry, Leahy, Patrick|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Department:||Higher Education Management|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational administration, Education|
|Keywords:||Adaptive problem, Free speech, Leadership|
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