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The Clash of Ideas Strengthens Our Universities—and Our Nation

The pursuit of truth requires both free speech and racial justice

Nearly two centuries after his birth as a slave in Maryland, the great orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass has come home. His statue, just installed at the University of Maryland, now towers over a square inscribed with his soaring words on racial justice and the transformative power of education.

Douglass Square represents both the ideal and the challenge now roiling American campuses: how to reconcile academic freedom and racial justice. The pursuit of truth and knowledge requires both. All are free to speak. Every individual should be included and respected as a member of the campus community—as Douglass put it, to be “treated not as a color, but as a man.”