Joan Scott, professor emerita in the School of Social Science at Princeton, has been arguing that the great threat on academic freedom comes not from the smothering blanket of political correctness or the violence-laced actions of left-wing protesters, but from the anti-intellectual right. Scott’s interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “How the Right Weaponized … Continue reading Did the Right ‘Weaponize’ Free Speech?
Almost two years have passed since the Halloween imbroglio at Yale in 2015, which launched the current era of student mobilizations against speech that some students don’t want to hear. Whatever their ideological stance, these protests aim to intimidate controversial speakers and those who would invite them to campus, to prevent others from hearing them, … Continue reading Free Speech–Where Are the Adults in the Room?
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
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
Free speech on campuses has come on hard times. By now, we are all too familiar with the litany: invited speakers disinvited, talks by honored guests disrupted by shouting protesters, vandalism and riots forcing the cancellation of events, campus security announcing it cannot guarantee public safety. The disruptions and attacks come almost entirely from an … Continue reading Universities, Free Speech and the Rise of the Spit-Viper Left
As Middlebury initiated what appears to be token punishments (single-term probation) for the students who disrupted the Charles Murray talk, the college’s student government (which has yet to condemn the disruptors in any way) passed a resolution demanding that Middlebury cease all punishment of students under the current college disciplinary code, lest they “contribute to … Continue reading Do Free Speech Students Outnumber the Snowflakes?
Many leftist academics have denounced the recent spate of riots and shouting down of non-progressive speakers on college campuses – and good for them – but you knew that there were others who were glad to see students fighting back against such supposedly dangerous people as Charles Murray. One of them has put his thoughts … Continue reading NYU Professor Sides with “Snowflakes” Against Free Speech
A ludicrous inversion has taken place. The speech of Charles Murray, Heather Mac Donald, and other conservatives whose ideas cross the race taboos of the left are claimed to be violent. It is now one of the truisms of identity politics that words can hurt. As Toni Morrison said in her 1993 Nobel Prize speech, “Oppressive language … Continue reading Their Violence Is Free Speech, but Our Speech Is Violence
In February, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) named DePaul University as one of the worst 10 universities for the protection of free speech. It was not the first time that DePaul has been on FIRE’s radar. Most recently DePaul University was in the news for actions which have blocked conservative speakers and … Continue reading DePaul—The Worst University for Free Speech?
Our friends at Reason.com and Reason Magazine share many of MTC’s concerns, not the least of which is the threat to free speech, sanctioned by America’s colleges and universities. They invited Eugene Volokh, a professor of free speech law at UCLA to speak at Reason Weekend, the annual even held by Reason Foundation. Reason says, “Volokh believes free … Continue reading A UCLA Law Professor Spills the Beans on 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
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
Judith Butler and a dozen other Berkeley professors urgently wanted Milo Yiannoppoulos and his “Dangerous Faggot” tour banned from the campus, but University of California Chancellor Nicholas Dirks delivered a strong free-speech explanation of why he won’t cancel the speech and can’t.’’ In an open letter, he said, “From a legal perspective, the U.S. Constitution … Continue reading Free Speech at Berkeley Once Again
The University of Oregon suspended a tenured professor for wearing blackface at an off-campus Halloween party, and now is considering additional punishment. The university admits the professor had no ill intent (reports suggest that she wore it in a strange attempt to honor a black physician, by dressing up as the title character in a … Continue reading U of Oregon Violates Free Speech in Halloween Costume Punishment
An adjunct lecturer at the University of Virginia was forced to take a leave of absence because his criticism of Black Lives Matter in a Facebook post was “inappropriate” and “inconsistent with the University of Virginia’s values.” The lecturer, Douglas Muir, had been teaching at the university’s Darden School of Business and the School of Engineering … Continue reading Does Free Speech Matter at UVa?
Christina Paxson, president of Brown University, published a ringing endorsement of free speech on campus yesterday in The Washington Post. The op-ed said, “Freedom of expression is an essential component of academic freedom, which protects the ability of universities to fulfill their core mission of advancing knowledge.” That’s nice. What the article didn’t say is … Continue reading Brown’s President Says She Values Free Speech, but…
Black protesters and their allies shut down a speech by a conservative gay activist at DePaul University in Chicago last night. That’s not news, of course– it’s just what the campus left does. The news is that the security guards hired for $1000 to protect the speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos (after, he says, they threatened to … Continue reading De Paul Fails Free Speech Again
Today in the Wall Street Journal, an op-ed by Michael Bloomberg and Charles Koch explains “Why Free Speech Matters on Campus.” Many conservatives might jump to endorse this article as a welcome indictment of liberal censorship and bias by two powerful campus donors. But that would be a mistake. Look more closely at what Bloomberg … Continue reading Let’s Reject This Endorsement of Free Speech on Campus
Harvey Silverglate delivered these remarks upon receiving the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton award Monday, May 9th at a dinner in New York City. Silverglate is a Cambridge attorney, a veteran defender of civil rights and civil liberties, and co-founder, along with University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in … Continue reading A Champion of Free Speech Takes on the Muzzled Campus
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has just dipped its oar in the dank water of Title IX. The AAUP’s draft of its new document, The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX, leaves much to be desired. But welcome to the fight, AAUP. We’ve been wondering when you would show up. From 1972 … Continue reading Title IX Tramples Free Speech and Fairness, So Now What?
Student activists pressing universities to divest from fossil fuels are of two minds about free speech. They want it for themselves, but don’t seem keen on allowing it for opponents. The divestment movement didn’t invent free-speech hypocrisy, but divestment activists offer a range of old and new reasons as to why opposing views should not … Continue reading DIVESTERS: NO FREE SPEECH FOR OPPONENTS
“Our university campuses are now islands of oppression in a sea of freedom.”—Abigail Thernstrom, 1990 So say many critics of our colleges, and, alas, in many cases correctly. Here are the hallmarks of today’s college campus: The implementation of hate speech codes The stultifying strictures of political correctness The greatly expanded notions of verbal harassment … Continue reading Princeton Takes a Stand on Free Speech
Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School spoke up quickly on the expelling of University of Oklahoma students for their racist chants—it was an impermissible violation of free speech rights. On his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, he wrote: “[R]acist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline … Continue reading Free Speech Even for Racists
Yale runs one of the strangest systems of handling sexual assault (“economic abuse” has been counted as a sexual attack, and proceedings can start without the alleged victim’s consent) so its semiannual reports on the subject are well worth studying. I’ve analyzed each of the previous six, all done as part of a settlement with … Continue reading Is Yale Using Title IX to Trump Free Speech?
The University of Chicago, on January 6, released a strong report on free expression “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” Good. But what did The Maroon, the student newspaper, think of a call for robust free speech? You guessed it—not much. … Continue reading Free Speech Too Scary for Student Paper