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JOHN M. ELLIS is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of German Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He taught at universities in England, Wales, and Canada before joining UCSC in 1966, serving as dean of the Graduate Division in 1977–86. He is the author of ten books, including Literature Lost (Yale), awarded the Peter Shaw Memorial Award by the National Association of Scholars. He founded the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics in 1993, and served as president of the California Association of Scholars in 2007–13 and chairman of its board since then. His articles on education reform have appeared in prominent national publications.
A series of near-riots on campuses aimed at silencing guest speakers has exposed the fact that our universities are no longer devoted to the free exchange of ideas in pursuit of truth. But this hostility to free speech is only a symptom of a deeper problem, writes John Ellis.