Free Speech Too Scary for Student Paper

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. The editorial board thinks free speech is fine, unless it turns into “hate speech” which “offends, threatens or insults” anyone in a protected group. Mustn’t offend. Hurting the feelings of anyone on campus (except white males, people opposed to abortion or gay marriage and a few other categories) is a definite no-no. What’s left of free expression if sensitive folk get a veto over criticism?  But the Maroon cloaks the obvious in diversity babble, insisting that “fostering a culture of inclusivity will serve to increase the quality and diversity of discourse on campus.” No, it won’t.

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.

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