Greg Lukianoff
Courtesy photo

Las Vegas, N.M. – Greg Lukianoff, a campus free speech advocate, will speak at New Mexico Highlands Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m.

Lukianoff’s free public talk, Unlearning Liberty and Free Speech, will be in the Highlands Student Center Theater, 800 National Ave.

Lukianoff, a New York Times bestselling author and attorney, founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in 1999. The nonpartisan nonprofit focuses on civil liberties in academia in the United States.

In his 2014 book Freedom from Speech, Lukianoff wrote: “Intellectual comfort is as dangerous as it is seductive.” He also wrote: “Colleges have a twofold duty when it comes to dealing with censorship. First, there is the duty to not censor the free expression of ideas, especially important and newsworthy ones. Second, colleges have the duty to protect speakers from being silenced by others.”

Lukianoff’s other books include Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate in 1994. Most recently, in 2018 he co-authored, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation For Failure.

“Lukianoff’s message is related to the idea that without free speech, people are not exposed to ideas that might lead them to think critically or differently about their position,” said Beth Massaro, social work professor at Highlands. “Universities in particular have an obligation to create opportunity for dissent and disagreement to develop critical thinking and to engage in effective argument.”

Massaro played a key role in bringing Lukianoff to speak at Highlands when she was the Highlands University President’s Leadership Fellow in the 2017-2018 academic year. Highlands President Sam Minner is sponsoring Lukianoff’s talk.

“We are a university with particularly sophisticated students when it comes to understanding the importance of freedom of speech,” Massaro said, “To have a speaker like Mr. Lukianoff is empowering and affirming of who our students are and what they have to say.”

Massaro said one of Lukianoff’s noteworthy quotes is: “Comfortable minds are often not thinking ones.”

“In our deeply polarized political climate, discussions about the limits and meaning of free speech are more important than ever,” said Brandon Kempner, Highlands English professor and chair of the Department of English. “This is a rare occasion for Highlands’ students to engage in a national conversation with a well-known, and sometimes controversial, speaker.”

In addition to his books, Lukianoff is widely published in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

He frequently appears on TV shows and radio programs, including the CBS Evening News, The Today Show, and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.