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Professor Kors Wins a Bradley Prize

Thursday, 12 Jun 2008 01:24 PM

By Jim Meyers

University of Pennsylvania history professor Alan Charles Kors has been named one of this year’s recipients of the Bradley Prize for his efforts on behalf of free speech.

Kors received the $250,000 award from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a nonprofit organization “devoted to strengthening American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and values that sustain and nurture it,” according to a release.

Kors has spent much of his career fighting what he sees as growing political correctness on college campuses. He co-founded and served as president and later chairman of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which takes on cases involving free speech at colleges and universities.

In one 1993 case, Kors defended a University of Pennsylvania student who was charged with violating Penn’s speech code by yelling a phrase that included “water buffalo” at black female students. Thanks to Kors, Penn trustees scrapped the speech code.

“You’ve got to have free speech for the speech that you hate as well as the speech that you love,” Kors told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 2005, Kors defended another Penn student who faced sexual harassment charges after taking pictures of two students having sex by a dormitory window. Charges were eventually dropped.

In the 1960s, universities were “centers of debate,” but they have now become subject to “political litmus tests,” Kors told the Inquirer.

“I think ignorance and bigotry is best overcome not by restricting speech but by having more speech, and allowing good arguments to overcome bad arguments.”

Kors received the award at a June 4 ceremony in Washington, D.C., with Fox News Channel anchor Brit Hume serving as master of ceremonies.

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