How Colleges Promote Censorship and Undermine Free Speech

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley writes: “There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant.”  In his sanitized future, general happiness and social stability are achieved not via threats of legal action but rather through perfect genetic and behavioral engineering, endless indoctrination, anodyne feel-good phrases and drugs, and organized … Continue reading How Colleges Promote Censorship and Undermine Free Speech

Self-Censorship Is Easy to Learn, Particularly in Dormitories

William Deresiewicz is an essayist and author of two books, Excellent Sheep, the Miseducation of the American Elite and A Jane Austen Education:  How Six Novels Taught Me about Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. He was born in Englewood, N.J. in 1964, graduated from Columbia, taught at Scripps and Yale and now … Continue reading Self-Censorship Is Easy to Learn, Particularly in Dormitories

How ‘Soft Censorship’ Works at College

These days, administrators at public universities must be very jealous of their counterparts at private institutions. As non-governmental actors, private college administrators can suppress any speech they don’t like – or, probably more to the point, that displeases their dissent-intolerant student constituents. There is no better illustration of the extremes to which a university will … Continue reading How ‘Soft Censorship’ Works at College

Feminist Censored from Censorship Panel

British feminist Julie Bindel  was scheduled to speak at Manchester University on a panel discussing the subject “From Liberation to Censorship: Does Modern Feminism Have a Problem with Free Speech?’ That question was answered by the university student union, which canceled her appearance on the panel as a potential violation of “safe space” for transgender … Continue reading Feminist Censored from Censorship Panel

Donald Downs on the Return of Campus Censorship

The demand for equality that’s emerging on campuses today is primarily underpinned by two things: identity politics and a perception of individuals as suffering from trauma. Students have become attached to the particular trauma they identify with; they see it as a badge of honor and any perceived slight becomes a threat to their sense … Continue reading Donald Downs on the Return of Campus Censorship

A New Age of Campus Censorship

When I published my first book, Unlearning Liberty, in 2012, I felt a bit optimistic that the situation for free speech on campus was improving. Not that the state of free speech on campus was good by any means, but it seemed as though there had been improvement since the  blizzard of weird cases that … Continue reading A New Age of Campus Censorship

Some Clemson Faculty Call for Censorship

In a recent edition of The Tiger, Clemson University’s official student newspaper, 110 faculty and staff members published a petition endorsing seven “demands” of the “Coalition of Concerned Students.” Demands 2-7 call for Clemson officials to construct a multicultural center, provide more funding for “under-represented student groups,” increase affirmative action hiring, rename “offensively named buildings,” … Continue reading Some Clemson Faculty Call for Censorship

A Big Year for Campus Censorship

This article is first in a series on “the year that was” in higher education. This last school year has been more than a little distressing for those who care about free speech and academic freedom on our nation’s college and university campuses. And it’s not because of any change in the legal understanding of free … Continue reading A Big Year for Campus Censorship

Trigger Warnings–A Ludicrous Step Toward Censorship

Twenty years ago, critics such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, and Karen Lehrman described the bizarre “therapeutic pedagogy” in many women’s studies classrooms, where female students were frequently encouraged to share traumatic or intimate experiences in supportive “safe spaces.”  Today, at many colleges, academic therapism has spread to other fields.  Welcome to the age of the trigger … Continue reading Trigger Warnings–A Ludicrous Step Toward Censorship

The Road to Censorship, Paved With Good Intentions

For more than a decade, universities have forced Christian student groups to fight a rather puzzling battle. In a campus environment where it’s assumed that Democratic student groups can reserve leadership for Democrats, environmentalist groups can be run by actual environmentalists, and socialist groups can have socialist leaders, Christian groups have been fighting for the … Continue reading The Road to Censorship, Paved With Good Intentions

Great Moments in College Censorship

One of the Thomas Jefferson Center’s 2010 “Muzzle Awards” for achievement in censorship goes to the president and administration of Southwestern College in Chulah Vista, California. Like many censorship-minded colleges, Southwestern confines student protesters to a tiny area of the campus, far from most student traffic. Shouting, “Let’s go where they can hear us,” students … Continue reading Great Moments in College Censorship

Canada’s Censorship Culture

The flap over the hecklers’ veto of Anne Coulter at the University of Ottawa is a surprise only to those who haven’t noticed the steady march of censorship in Canada. Canada is “a pleasantly authoritarian country,” Alan Borovoy, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, once said. That phrase perfectly captures the cloud of … Continue reading Canada’s Censorship Culture

More on Censorship at Yale

A few notes on the preposterous decision by the Yale University Press to censor the Muhammad cartoons in a book it is publishing about the Muhammad cartoons, The Cartoons That Shook the World. – In a one-line comment on the Inside Higher Ed web site, Mark Bauerlein of Emory University asks to know that names … Continue reading More on Censorship at Yale

Napolitano and the Decline of Berkeley

Complicity or incompetence: those two alternatives describe a good deal of policing in the Bay Area these last few years. Peter Shrag writes, “California or even the whole West Coast is in a liberal bubble in the age of Trump” and that “the Bay Area is a bubble within a bubble”—as manifested by its leaders’ politically correct deference … Continue reading Napolitano and the Decline of Berkeley

Middlebury Student Government Says No to Free Speech

Middlebury’s response to the disruption of Charles Murray’s invited campus address—followed by the protesters assaulting and injuring Professor Alison Stanger, moderator for the talk—offered little ground for optimism. A statement from the college implied that evidence (albeit ambiguous evidence) existed suggesting that some professors violated the Faculty Handbook in the pre-disruption period. The disruptors themselves … Continue reading Middlebury Student Government Says No to Free Speech

Professor Laura Kipnis–She Faced Title IX Charges for Writing an Essay

It is not too early to say that Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis, professor of film studies at Northwestern University, will be one of the most important books of 2017. Kipnis gained some notoriety two years ago when she was hauled before her school’s Title IX investigators on a complaint … Continue reading Professor Laura Kipnis–She Faced Title IX Charges for Writing an Essay

The Real Defense of Charles Murray: Truth Not Free Speech

The Middlebury College incident in which Charles Murray was forcefully prevented from speaking about Coming Apart has generated a mini-industry of brilliant responses on behalf of academic freedom. Unfortunately, at least from my perspective, these high-sounding admonitions are misdirected and paradoxically give comfort to disruptors. Murray’s champions uniformly embrace the classic let- a-thousand-flowers-bloom, anti-censorship argument … Continue reading The Real Defense of Charles Murray: Truth Not Free Speech

Language Tricks on the Quad

What is “symbolic violence”? A popular PC language maneuver, taking something non-violent and associating it with danger and crime. A rhetorical trick that creates and magnifies a sense of crisis among campus activists. Here is a guide to proper usage. You too can translate from PC to English. Visual Rape. Peeping or ogling. Checking a … Continue reading Language Tricks on the Quad

Intimidated Faculty Find a New Way to Capitulate

Last week’s campus irritant,  a story in the Wall Street Journal, “Faculty’s New Focus: Don’t Offend,” claimed that an increasing number of professors are changing the contents of their syllabi. The story exposes the advent of bias response teams and undergraduates demanding a supportive, untroubled campus experience, along with the Obama Administration’s “Dear Colleague” letters on … Continue reading Intimidated Faculty Find a New Way to Capitulate

Punishing College Sports Teams

NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues we are witnessing an internal war over what in fact is a university’s core sacred value: is it truth?  Or social justice? If it is the search for truth, free speech is essential. If it’s social justice, then the rising campus yen for censorship and silencing one’s opponents can … Continue reading Punishing College Sports Teams

The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

The data are beginning to bear out the popular theory that free speech on campus is in steady decline. A study commissioned by the William F. Buckley Center at Yale found that 51% of college students favor speech codes to regulate speech for both faculty and students. Relatedly, a Pew poll found that a full … Continue reading The Campus Left Discovers Free Speech

Was Fordham Right to Ban a Pro-Palestinian Club?

Fordham University did what no other university administration has done to date. It rejected a student request, which had been accepted by the student government, giving official club status to Students for Justice in Palestine. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has well over 100 chapters on U.S. campuses. SJP has led campus efforts, greatly … Continue reading Was Fordham Right to Ban a Pro-Palestinian Club?

Nat Hentoff, a Great Journalist

If you spent any time on the streets of Greenwich Village in the 70s or 80s, you stood a good chance of seeing two great and prodigiously productive journalists of the era go by — Murray Kempton on his bicycle, usually headed toward City Hall, and Nat Hentoff walking along while reading a book. For … Continue reading Nat Hentoff, a Great Journalist

Bias Response Teams—Not Gone Yet

At Emory University, when someone had the nerve to write “Trump 2016” in chalk on some sidewalks and steps, a wave of “fear” struck the campus, according to the university president. He made it clear that “Trump’s platform and his values undermine Emory’s values of diversity and inclusivity.” He also said that any student found … Continue reading Bias Response Teams—Not Gone Yet

Can We Save Public Universities?

There was a time not so long ago when elite public institutions, such as the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin, more than held their own against competition from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and other elite private institutions. Berkeley’s reputation for academic excellence in the 1950s and 60s … Continue reading Can We Save Public Universities?