Freedom of Speech

Posted: December 11, 2001

Statement by the Society for the Social Studies of Science December 12, 2001

Whereas the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent “war on terrorism” have led to public discussion of limits to the freedom of speech in American society under wartime conditions,

whereas universities and colleges in the United States have, as an integral aspect of their educational mission, long sought to foster open environments in which faculty and students feel free to explore multiple lines of analysis and debate different points of view,

and whereas at this historic juncture some commentators have questioned the patriotism of faculty committed to open inquiry on American college campuses,

the Society for the Social Studies of Science:

recognizes that freedom of speech is central to the functioning of a democratic society,

underscores that higher education should play a crucial role in promoting these democratic values and contributing to an educated citizenry,

affirms the central role that critical debate and free inquiry play in enabling higher education to deliver this democratic function,

and concludes that all members of this Society, including those in the U.S., should be free to critically reflect upon, and constructively contribute to public debates on, issues of technology, science, democracy and war.

Wiebe E. Bijker, President

Published: 12/11/2001