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Statement by President Schapiro and Provost Linzer regarding protest on May 16, 2017

We are deeply disappointed in the conduct of a group of students Tuesday that resulted in the disruption of a lecture in a Northwestern University class. The behavior of our students in this incident was disrespectful, inappropriate and contrary to the values of the University.

At Northwestern, our faculty members are free to encourage academic discussions within their classrooms, including inviting speakers of their choice. While we understand the point of view expressed by the students protesting the guest lecturers invited to speak here, the resulting disturbance not only limited the academic inquiry central to our campus, it also forced invited speakers to leave and violated the rights of other enrolled students who were present to learn.

We recognize the need for robust discussion about difficult and at times, polarizing issues. Free expression must be protected and should be countered with more debate, close examination and critical thinking — not censorship.

Northwestern is carefully reviewing the facts around Tuesday’s events in order to determine the appropriate actions to be taken by the University.

Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Daniel Linzer
Provost and Professor

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