Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jessica Flanigan

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Price

Third Advisor

Dr. David Lefkowitz


This thesis critically examines the moral foundations of free expression and offers a framework for evaluating morally justifiable forms of censorship. This investigation has three parts. The first section argues that rational considerations constrain how moral principles for censorship can be structured methodologically. It concludes that moral principles must be universally coherent and consistently applied. The second section considers several existing justifications for censorship that fall short of these methodological requirements and arbitrarily apply extensionally inadequate moral principles. To be rational, these approaches must either abandon these inconsistent justifications or commit to more consistently authoritarian moral principles. The third section outlines several methodologically consistent principles and ultimately defends the liberal model of free expression as the most plausible censorship principle that institutional leaders should adopt. This model restricts the censorship of speech in all cases except where censorship is necessary to defend the autonomy of others from rights violations.