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On Feb. 7, the University Office of the President announced that President Eisgruber selected “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech,” written by politics professor Keith Whittington, as the Class of 2022 Pre-read book.

A timely selection, Whittington’s book discusses an ongoing onslaught of censorship and anti-free speech advocacy on college campuses. Touching upon recent patterns which have threatened the flourishing of free expression nationwide, the book suggests that the existence of free speech is not only justifiable but essential to the academic missions that universities aim to fulfill.

Whittington’s work, due to be released later this year, has already received widespread acclaim from advance reviewers. In a back cover review, former American Civil Liberties Union President Nadine Strossen suggested the novel provides “a crucial reminder that free speech and a diversity of perspectives are necessary prerequisites for a vibrant intellectual life.”

The annual Pre-read selection began in 2013, when Eisgruber selected Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen” as required reading for the Class of 2017. This year’s Pre-read will mark the sixth year of the tradition.

The Office of the President’s press release announcing this year’s selection suggests a union between the Pre-read and the Pre-rade, indicating that the two traditions represent shared experiences for the first-year students which “symbolize the rich blend of residential and scholarly life and community spirit that characterizes the Princeton experience.”

During orientation activities in September 2018, once the Class of 2022 has arrived on campus, President Eisgruber will host a discussion with Professor Whittington and the new freshman class about the book and its implications. Additionally, students will discuss the novel within their residential colleges and are encouraged to incorporate it into their conversations during Orientation.

Members of the Class of 2022 will be mailed the Pre-read novel this summer.

Last year, the Class of 2021 read “What is Populism?” by Jan-Werner Mueller.

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