Free speech and how to be civil about it: Advice from SCOTUS judge

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and UC President Janet Napolitano were in Sacramento Friday to talk about both freedom of speech and the importance of exchanging ideas in a civil way.

They were speakers at an event at the federal courthouse for having conversations about controversial issues.

Napolitano said lessons were learned through the protests that happened at University of California campuses. Even though she believes some of the controversial conservative speakers may be targeting the campuses as a political act, Napolitano said it is important for students to be exposed to civil discussions in our society.

“The university is not to make ideas safe for students, but to make students safe for ideas,” she explained. “Our job is to make students feel not only supported but are developing the tools of how to counter speech.”

Kennedy also shared his concerns about the issue of free speech on college campuses.

“For faculties and universities to be indifferent can actually be complicit,” he said. “Indifference can be poisonous in differences in so far as free speech is concerned. Universities must step up to the plate and insist that there is a place for peaceful, thoughtful, constructive, convincing, strong, robust disagreement.”

Protests are expected at UC Berkeley later this month when right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos plans to hold a “Free Speech Week” on the campus.

Watch Justice Kennedy’s entire speech below:

Watch UC President Janet Napolitano’s entire speech below:

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