Stop The Presses! U. Mass Believes In Free Speech

A convicted terror bomber, Raymond Luc Levasseur, invited by a far left center to speak at the University of Massachusetts. Amherst, was disinvited after pressure from police groups and Governor Deval Partrick, then reinvited when the university president Jack Wilson intervened. Levasseur is a former leader of the United Freedom Front a radical group responsible for bank robberies, blowing up buildings , injuring many and murdering a state trooper. Wilson was right to allow the speech.. Levasseur is a loathsome character, but what would free speech on campus amount to if politicians and outsiders could decide who can or can’t address students?
Still, a powerful aroma of hypocrisy surrounds Wilson and UMass on the censorship issue. Few American campuses have such a long and tortured record of doing so little to protect free speech. Some of the university’s many tramplings of free expression are discussed here and here. The problem, a common one, is that UMass is not terribly interested in free speech unless the speaker targeted is on the left.


  • John Leo

    John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

One thought on “Stop The Presses! U. Mass Believes In Free Speech”

  1. In Levasseur’s case, I can’t agree that the taxpayers should have subsidized his speech. There are many public contracts ex-felons may not access. U. Mass is not a principality: it is a taxpayer-funded entity. Perhaps legislators need to pass a law refusing payment through publicly funded universities to anyone convicted of a serious crime. Of course, that would create a sticky wicket for the many celebrated felons littering college faculties.

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