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Cass R. Sunstein

Virtual College Classrooms Can Stifle Free Speech, Too

Online learning may worsen the problem of student self-censorship. 

Speak up? Easy for you to say.

Speak up? Easy for you to say.

Photographer: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Universities have come under fire from many directions for discouraging students from speaking up.

A number of conservatives have said that they risk ostracism, ridicule and even threats if they express their views, or if they simply question what they see as a liberal orthodoxy. Some women complain that men dominate class discussion, while some Black and other minority students say that they resent having to explain themselves, as if they were representatives of their race or ethnicity.