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Mar 29 • 14 tweets • 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
🧵“This escalating battle for control over free expression in education should worry us all,” said PEN America CEO @SuzanneNossel in remarks before the House Committee on Education & the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education & Workforce Development.…
Nossel: "The university campus is the incubator of democratic citizenship and the breeding ground for leaders in every sector of society. If we don’t get free speech and open discourse right on campus, we won’t get it right in the media, the courts, or out on the streets." (2/x)
Nossel: "At PEN America we argue that the essential drive to render American campuses more diverse, equitable, and inclusive need not—and must not—come at the expense of robust, uncompromising protections for free speech and academic freedom." (3/x) #DEI #FreeSpeech #Education
"If some students, by virtue of their background, gender, race, nationality, religion, or political views feel hindered from speaking up in class or voicing their opinions, the marketplace of ideas suffers," said PEN America CEO @SuzanneNossel in her opening remarks. (4/x)
Nossel also spoke out against a growing wave of educational gag orders: "We have confronted a new threat to open discourse on campus. We have documented proposed and enacted state legislation curtailing what can be taught and studied in college and university classrooms." (5/x)
Nossel: "There are seven laws across seven states that we classify as educational gag orders affecting higher education; we define educational gag orders as laws that explicitly limit what can be taught and studied on campus." (6/x) #GagOrders #Censorship #HigherEducation
Nossel: As of 3/16: "An additional 24 higher education bills (were) pending in 15 states... The wording of these gag orders is deliberately vague, casting a willful chill on a wide swath of speech as faculty & administrators struggle to understand where the lines are drawn" (7/x)
Nossel: "These bills... are intended not to keep speech open, but to put universities on notice that they are being watched and will face the consequences if their decisions fall afoul of politics." (8/x) #FreeSpeech #AcademicFreedom #Authoritarianism
Nossel: "In pushing back against orthodoxies the proponents of these measures have embraced and surpassed the very tactics they claim to decry, putting the weight not only of social pressure, but of government power, behind efforts to repress certain viewpoints" (9/x) #FreeSpeech
Nossel: "We are also seeing a spate of alarming new tactics being introduced to curtail open discourse on campus. These include the takeover of the public New College of Florida by a group of out-of-state trustees and the advancement of #HB999 in Florida, which would..." (10/x)
"... abolish certain courses of study. Those who believe in the #FirstAmendment understand its essence lies in restricting the power of government to meddle in the marketplace of ideas not in inserting the heavy hand of the state to dictate what can and cannot be taught." (11/x)
"Escaping this escalating tit-for-tat battle of assaults on speech on U.S. campuses will demand leadership. University presidents need to insist and ensure that all viewpoints — left and right alike — get a fair hearing on campus." (12/x) #FreeSpeech #HigherEducation
Nossel: "Efforts to foster diversity, equity and inclusion on campus should span the gamut of individual differences—racial, socio-economic, religious, ethnic, ideological, gender-based, political and more." (13/x) #Diversity #Equity #Inclusion #DEI
"We also need to introduce the norms and ideals of #freespeech to all students and teach them how to uphold it... (if not) the greatest casualty in this battle may be neither progressive nor conservative ideas, but the principle of free speech itself, said @SuzanneNossel. (14/14)

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More from @PENamerica

Mar 31
DeSantis called reports of book bans in #Florida “a hoax in service of trying to pollute and sexualize our children.”

Teachers in fear of felony charges carrying up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine would beg to differ. #FreeTheBooks #Education…
“Jean Faulk, a 65-year-old world history teacher… had carefully curated her classroom library over the years, and the task of combing through several hundred volumes seemed insurmountable. So later that day she stripped her shelves… only dictionaries and encyclopedias remained”
“In Jacksonville, a third-grade teacher penned an op-ed describing how one of her students, an avid reader, had cried after learning he couldn’t access the classroom library.” #FreedomToRead #Florida
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Mar 30
Musk is "dismantling everything that made Twitter valuable—making it his mission to drive out expertise, scare away celebrities, bully reporters and—on the flip side—reward the bad actors... who thrive in the opposite environment: An information vacuum."…
"If the point is simply pure destruction — building a chaos machine by removing a source of valuable information from our connected world," writes @riptari.... "then (Musk)’s done a remarkable job in very short order." #Twitter #SocialMedia
"When I reached out to Musk... with questions about his failed promises, he didn’t respond. But I did receive an auto-reply poop emoji from the email... It’s perhaps one of the only pledges he has actually delivered on." @oliverdarcy…
Read 7 tweets
Jan 31
🧵@BKLYNLibrary is teaming up with PEN America to offer a new series of virtual sessions—the #FreedomToRead Advocacy Institute—teaching teenagers how to defend books in their schools, libraries and communities.…
Among the panelists will be activists like @Jack_Petocz, an 18-year-old Florida student and mobilization coordinator for @genzforchange, who tells NBC his message to attendees is: "In one of the darkest blips of Florida, I made a difference. They can as well." (2/x)
Former Oklahoma high school teacher @MsBoismier_ELA, "helped to develop the session on opposing what are frequently orchestrated campaigns to remove books. Boismier, who now works at @BKLYNlibrary, wants to show students how to use school policies to their advantage." (3/x)
Read 6 tweets
Jan 24
"PEN America condemns the Indian authorities' order to Twitter and YouTube to block a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is a flagrant attempt to censor online content," said @karinkarlekar…
"This order is indicative of the decline in respect for free expression under the current government, and we call for access to the documentary to be restored, in line with India's constitutional protections for press freedom," said PEN America's @karinkarlekar.
#India already ranks in the top 10 globally in terms of jailing writers and other dissident voices.

Read more in our #FreedomToWrite Index at:…
Read 8 tweets
Dec 16, 2022
Twitter has suspended the accounts of multiple high-profile journalists on the platform who have been covering the company and Elon Musk.
Twitter's abrupt suspensions have targeted the accounts of more than half a dozen journalists from @CNN @nytimes @washingtonpost other outlets.

Many of the accounts had written about a dispute between Elon Musk, and the user behind @elonjet.

Read free:
Thursday's suspensions come as Musk has backtracked on his promise that he would run Twitter as a "free speech absolutist."… #FreeSpeech #ElonMusk
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Dec 14, 2022
Online abuse is a direct threat to free expression. PEN America has launched a new Swahili-language Manual for navigating online abuse w/tools & tips to protect yourself & fight back, in collaboration with @Ddadapodcast #FightOnlineAbuseNow
Matumizi mabaya ya mtandaoni ni tishio la moja kwa moja kwa uhuru wa kujieleza. @PENamerica imezindua Mwongozo mpya wa lugha ya Kiswahili kwa ajili ya kupambana na matumizi mabaya ya mtandaoni kwa ushirikiano na @Ddadapodcast #FightOnlineAbuse
"PEN America is committed to working with our partners in East Africa, and around the world to ensure that writers, journalists, artists, and human rights defenders are empowered to defend themselves and continue making their voices heard”—@VilkViktorya.…
Read 5 tweets

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