Political Correctness

Free Speech Breaks Out at Univ. of Minnesota, Kansas, Elsewhere

Extreme political correctness is (finally) sparking a reaction that places free expression as "the bedrock" upon which higher education rests.

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Free speech is finding new defenders among faculty on college campuses. This is heartening, if more than a little overdue (it's also more than a little sad that universities have taken so long to defend the freedom of expression and inquiry that makes them possible in the first place).

In a forceful commencement address delivered over the weekend at Rutgers, President Barack Obama called out students there for disinviting former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice from speaking at graduation a couple of years ago. While there's no question that the Obama administration, via its Department of Education and its Office of Civil Rights, has given social-justice warriors unprecedented tools by which to suppress speech on campuses, he lectured "snowflakes" to toughen up already. "If somebody's got a bad or offensive idea, prove it wrong," he said. "Engage it, debate it, stand up for what you believe in. Don't be scared to take somebody on. Don't feel like you got to shut your ears because you're too fragile and somebody might offend your sensibilities."

More important than the words of an outgoing (and hypocritical) president are the actions of faculty themselves. Kansas University (KU) professors are pulling together a "free speech policy" that characterizes unfettered expression as  the "bedrock upon which academic freedom and the pursuit of knowledge are based."

"As KU works to improve its climate of equity and inclusion, the university must commit to protecting our right to free speech, regardless of how offensive, uncivil or disagreeable such communication might be to members of our community."

Read more here.

In March, the "consultative committee" of the University of Minnesota's faculty senate passed a two-page statement of principles, which states in part

University of Minnesota Board of Regents policy guarantees the freedom "to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional restraint or discipline." The protection of free speech, like the related protection of academic freedom, is intended "to generate a setting in which free and vigorous inquiry is embraced in the pursuit of 'the advancement of learning and the search for truth,' in the words emblazoned on the front of Northrop Auditorium." Ideas are the lifeblood of a free society and universities are its beating heart. If freedom of speech is undermined on a university campus, it is not safe anywhere. The University of Minnesota resolves that the freedom of speech is, and will always be, safe at this institution.

Reason

As important, the faculty senate is pushing a series of recommendations, still at the draft stage, that include a commitment to "vigorously protect free speech when serious disruption is anticipated or actually occurs." According to Inside Higher Education, Minnesota's faculty moved into action after various campus protests, including one by Muslim and non-Muslim students and faculty who objected to a panel on free speech that used a Charlie Hebdo cover in its advertising for the event. Dale Carpenter, a professor at Minnesota Law School, explains that the students and faculty need to understand that it's not that 

"speech can never be regulated, but that it can't be regulated in the interest of trying to elevate some topics over others." Libel, slander, harassment and threats are all no gos, for example, he said, but conversations can't be shut down because they're offensive or even hurtful to some.

As Minnesota's faculty nears voting on its commitment to free speech as "bedrock," schools ranging from University of Chicago to Purdue to Princeton have recently issued official statements from faculty or university administrators about the centrality of free speech and open debate, especially on controversial topics. Read more about here.

Reason TV sat down with Greg Lukianoff, who fights for free speech on campus as the head of The Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE), to talk about what he thinks is the most-chilling recent development at universities: Students who demand administrators silence speech. Lukianoff, who also appears in Can We Take a Joke?, a new documentary about stand-up comedy and campus political correctness, says that until a few years ago, it was usually residence-life types and school bureaucrats who were leading the charge against First Amendment rights. Lately, though, the most outrageous and vociferous demands are coming from students themselves. Watch now or go here.

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  1. Poor Melissa Click. She was only fired because she’s a white woman.

    1. I’m sick of universities keeping middle class white women down.

      Fight the power

      1. keeping middle class white women down

        Oral rapist! I see now why free speech is so dangerous.

        1. The crucial point in this article is that “libel, slander, harassment and threats are all no gos.” In fact, libel, along with inappropriately deadpan “parody” that causes reputational damage, should not only be forbidden on campuses, but should be re-criminalized throughout this great nation. Who would dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, liberal judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

          http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. Have some compassion. Her actions were a plea for her to have someone play out Fiddy Grey Shades with her but no one would come.

      CAN’T YOU SEE THIS?

      1. Shudder

      2. Her actions were a plea for her to have someone play out Fiddy Grey Shades with her but no one would come.

        Phrasing!

      3. Need some muscle over here, mmmmmhmmm. – Click

  2. The protection of free speech, like the related protection of academic freedom, is intended “to generate a setting in which free and vigorous inquiry is embraced”, but only after securing enthusiastic and ongoing consent.

    1. +1 golf clap

  3. Dale Carpenter, a professor at Minnesota Law School, explains that the students and faculty need to understand that it’s not that

    “speech can never be regulated, but that it can’t be regulated in the interest of trying to elevate some topics over others.” Libel, slander, harassment and threats are all no gos, for example, he said, but conversations can’t be shut down because they’re offensive or even hurtful to some.

    There’s an important distinction: libel, slander, harassment, and threats are not protected, but they’re not subject to prior restraint, either. The tyrants in diapers want all speech moderated and restricted on the premise that some speech might be harmful, hence disinvitations and shouting down speakers or disrupting events. It’s wrong to say that these nitwits are merely conflating criminal speech with inflammatory but protected speech. They literally want to take speech down the road of prior restraint.

  4. Minnesota and Kansas . . . are there any honest liberals left on the coasts, or are they all toast?

    1. Breaking out your inner Nipsey Russell?

  5. Charlie Hebdo is the “Dabiq” of the French Caliphate (‘laicite’). Ironic that an American group would use that as an example of ‘free speech’. Yet it works, because this is America. Woot woot! (Sorry, bomb droppers.)

      1. I’m usually pretty good at deciphering Middel Idiot, but this is just baffling. I mean, it’s makes less sense than Alice Bowie. That’s kind of amazing.

        1. I’m sure it made sense in his/her head.

          1. Oh hey – thanks for not dropping bombs on me today. 🙂

              1. “It’s inevitable that the guy you hire to drop bombs on people will want to.”

                “From a guy who dropped bombs for a living, you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.”

                Monumental denial – you people scare me.

                1. Now you are a mind reader. Do you know John, by chance?

            1. You know this is a libertarian website right? Made up of non-interventionists people who are oppossed to wars and military adventursim? Go troll red state, breitbart or Salon or Slate. What your doing just does not make sense.

        2. I was just going to ask who this person is/was.

          THE TROLLS ARE MUTATING!

        3. It’s the same argument Addiction Myth’s been making. Both of them say Charlie Hebdo is an example of the ‘Enlightenment Caliphate.” AM actually said Flemming Rose was a tool of the Danish Caliphate which is oppressing Muslims.

          I suspect they’re sock puppets for the same person because it’s such a stupid argument that there’s no way two idiots showed up around the same time spouting this nonsense.

          1. “It’s such a stupid argument that there’s no way two idiots showed up around the same time spouting this nonsense.”

            Either that or they both go to the same websites and read the same talking points.

      2. Sorry, I have free speech. And I don’t need to run behind a Danish F-16 to protect me. 🙂

          1. Sorry, I have free speech. And I don’t need a contingent of bulked up Danish thugs to accompany me to the coffee shop. 🙂

            1. It must be exhausting cornholing one’s bizarre fixations into wholly unrelated discussions.

              1. That’s why you don’t see Eddie for a days at a time. He has to rest up occasionally.

                1. At least Eddie’s posts aren’t unintelligible garble to non-Catholics.

              2. Sorry, I have free speech. And I plan to use it to show how the warmongers try to restrict it by labeling my statements ‘bizarre fixations’ or after they get exhausted just plain-old ‘heretical’. 🙂

                1. You must be a lot of fun at parties.

                  “Hey dajjal, could you pass me a beer?”

                  “I’ll pass you a beer when CHARLIE HEBDO STOPS SLAUGHTERING MUSLIMS IN THE STREET”

                  1. Must be exhausting having to come up with new ways to discredit the apostate of the Western Secular Caliphate who points out that its support for free speech spells its own demise. “He’s no fun at parties!”

                2. You have no idea what 1A means in theory or practice, have you.

                  1. Free speech – theory.
                    Free speech – practice.

                    *drops mic*

                    1. I really need to be better at spotting sockpuppets.

    1. It must be ‘shroom season in Oregon or something.

    2. Hebdo is a crude disgusting magazine published by assholes that the notoriously anti-Free Speech French government uses as a screen to pretend that it is really a pro-Free Speech country. Ever since they were attacked, people have been lauded as heroes worthy of praise and the garbage they peddle is now seen as this great, insightful satire by people who are too politically correct to consider saying bad things about the victims of a terrorist attack. No, an image of Muhammad prostate, nude, and defecating is /not/ good satire or worthy of any amount of consideration.

      The French government using solidarity with the magazine to deflect from its true anti-speech record as well as the media sucking off Hebdo’s staff and reprinting ad nauseum their cover is annoying as hell. In one case it is used to cover up a corrupt government’s real record, in the other case it’s people pretending shit is art because the “artist” was a victim and our culture idolizes victims.

      All that being said, Dajjal is completely insane, and this notion that France and Charlie Hebdo are somehow ISIS like is frankly absurd. Hebdo is trash, it’s not a brutal theocracy. Let’s have some perspective: If I go to France and say bad things about Hebdo, /maybe/ I’d get arrested for hate speech. If I went to ISIS and said bad things about ISIS, I get killed in a brutal fashion. This is probably just Godwin-like internet-typical hyperbolistic comparison of a minor evil to a major one, but it’s still wrong.

      1. Thank you for explaining why Hebdo is so annoying and nauseating. But then I got to the part about “Dajjal is completely insane”. I was sorry to hear that though I appreciate your candor. I just hope you don’t turn out to be another one of my sockpuppets.

      2. Sorry, but the Kenyan’s speech was better’n this drivel. My guess is that the Birch Society and Klan blogs send their most disgusting YAFfers and GOP gobblers over here as penance for some cretinous misstep.

        My libertarian spoiler vote is worth ten mindless idiot personality cult votes. Math and history show this to be the case. Voting for looter parties, on the other hand, engenders looter policies. Even a DemoGOP zombie can understand that.

    3. Umm…can I have some of what you’re smoking?
      Nothing can make as incoherent as what you’re obviously using.

  6. “As KU works to improve its climate of equity and inclusion, the university must commit to protecting our right to free speech, regardless of how offensive, uncivil or disagreeable such communication might be to members of our community.”

    *** shouts from back of room ***

    EAT ME RAW!

    1. I have to wonder if Carrot Top and Trigglypuff acted as funhouse mirrors that showed them how ridiculous this shit is. No one wants to look that stupid.

      1. RAW! *RAW!* RAW!!

        I believe you missed my point.

        1. “I believe you missed my point”

          You are correct but I shall chant with you none-the-less.

  7. It’s great that Obama is on board with this. I guess that means he’s going to call off the Titile IX dogs now, right?

    1. I see two likely Obama approaches to this.

      1) He says he supports criticizing Title IX but not changing it.

      2) He says he supports free speech but not misogynist speech, and criticizing Title IX is misogynist so it isn’t free speech.

      My money is on 2.

      When Obama made his statement on free speech, he didn’t stick up for anybody who was about to say something extremely offensive.

      He stood up for Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State. He wasn’t sticking up for someone who wanted to say something hurtful towards LGBTQI, women, Muslims or other minorities–so let’s take Obama’s posturing for what it was.

      It was posturing.

      1. How can being critical of Title IX be misogynist when men have now become women, who are protected under Title IX? We’re all women now, or hadn’t you heard? That means gender discrimination is over, because there’s only one gender. Duh, McFly!

        1. The Kinks were right.

          It’s a mixed up world.

          Thus proving Homer’s theory that rock stars know everything.

          1. Everyone’s in a State of Confusion.

            1. -1 Chrissie Hynde

              Bleech!

          2. Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.

            1. This too shall pass.

    2. Lets not get crazy, now!

    3. No. This is a case of the figurehead (Obama) saying one thing to appease the masses while the unaccountable bureaucrats do the exact opposite behind the scenes. This is how Obama will be remembered as a “defender of free speech” and anyone pointing out that his administration did the exact opposite of what he stated will be met with disbelieving stares from the mouth breathers who never bother to look into what’s really going on.

  8. “speech can never be regulated, but that it can’t be regulated in the interest of trying to elevate some topics over others.” Libel, slander, harassment and threats are all no gos, for example, he said, but conversations can’t be shut down because they’re offensive or even hurtful to some.

    So, a law professor doesn’t understand what libel and slander are. Here’s a hint: they’re still speech.

    Define “harassment” and “threats” in such a way that you don’t criminalize speech. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    1. but still legally actionable speech under current jurisprudence… so your argument here is??

  9. As KU works to improve its climate of equity

    Climate change, bitches.

    *powers up megaphone*

  10. Screw the college campuses, can we talk about “free speech” within the republican party in the age of Dear Leader? I mean, aren’t the republicans supposed to be the party of free speech?

    1. “Screw the college campuses, can we talk about “free speech” within the republican party in the age of Dear Leader?”

      They’ve had like 400 posts on this

  11. As important, the faculty senate is pushing a series of recommendations, still at the draft stage, that include a commitment to “vigorously protect free speech when serious disruption is anticipated or actually occurs.”

    I’ll hold off until after the recommendations are past the draft stage. I’m not gonna hold my breath on these making it into the final version. Also, these are “recommendations”? That means they can be ignored by the administration.

    1. I also like the strong “We’ll adamantly defend free speech when it looks like phony baloney jobs might be on the line.” wording as well.

  12. RE: Free Speech Breaks Out at Univ. of Minnesota, Kansas, Elsewhere
    Extreme political correctness is (finally) sparking a reaction that places free expression as “the bedrock” upon which higher education rests.

    What?
    Free speech coming back to Amerika?
    What would Castro, Stalin, Trump the Grump and Heil Hitlery say to this madness?

  13. Some progressives, I’m sure, are good people. But the universities aren’t sending their best progressives.

    What can account for progressive faculty taking up the free-speech crusade just now?

    Could it have something to do with the fact that the traditional residential model of liberal arts education – four years of partying in exchange for a dubious degree and lifetime of debt – is being challenged by online education and on the job training?

    At a time when the education establishment’s gravy train is in danger, here comes Melissa Click and similar retards who become the public face of their universities and drive enrollments into the sewer. Potential students figure that even if they’re going to take the dubious choice of 4-year residential liberal arts education, they’re not going to do it at a campus where out-and-out brownshirtism flourishes.

    Prog professors may not be economic whizzes, but they can sense a direct threat to their bottom line. They want to reassure potential students: “look, we promise that if you come to our institution we won’t mob you or prosecute you for politically dissident speech.”

    1. And the proggy profs are noticing that the politically-correct are attacking *fellow leftists.*

      It doesn’t matter if Professor Tweedy McLooney has an Obama bumper sticker and an equals sign on the back of his Prius, if he makes some kind of protocol breach like referring to a trans student as “he” instead of “hir royal majesty,” or if he talks too enthusiastically about the fight to save the Scottsboro boys from false rape charges in the 1930s, he risks being mobbed and harassed just as surely as any teabagging reactionary.

      So the Professor McLooneys of the world are thinking that maybe it’s time to have a bit of academic freedom.

      1. And the proggy profs are noticing that the politically-correct are attacking *fellow leftists.*

        This is it. The proggy profs have no conception of why enrollment matters. As long as they get their grant money, they don’t give a shit. They’re watching the next generation destroy everything they worked so hard to create, and they’re getting nervous. The feminists are the ones pissing their pants the most, because modern SJWism is a direct threat to 3rd wave feminism.

    2. What can account for progressive faculty taking up the free-speech crusade just now?

      Could it have something to do with the fact that the traditional residential model of liberal arts education – four years of partying in exchange for a dubious degree and lifetime of debt – is being challenged by online education and on the job training?

      No, it doesn’t have anything to do with that at all.

  14. Other schools start to go broke.

  15. A little ironic, isn’t it, that the Mario Savios of the mid Sixties today control the country, and most of them seek to silence dissenters to their rule?

    I guess history always runs in circles this way.

  16. Let me repeat what I said yesterday about Obama’s version of “defending free speech” –

    Given what we know of the Obama administrations violations of the First Amendment – including but not limited to college campuses – then I think it’s possible to have a sinister reading of the following:

    “If you disagree with somebody, bring them in and ask them tough questions.” “Hold their feet to the fire, make them defend their positions. If somebody’s got a bad or offensive idea, prove it wrong. Engage it, debate it, stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be scared to take somebody on. Don’t feel like you got to shut your ears because you’re too fragile and somebody might offend your sensibilities. Go after them if they’re not making any sense. Use your logic and reason and words, and by doing so you’ll strengthen your own position. And you’ll hone your arguments and maybe you’ll learn something and realize maybe you don’t know everything. You may have a new understanding, not only of what your opponents believe but what of you belie. Either way, you win.”

    Really? “Bring them in?” “take somebody on”? “Go after them”? Are these the words of someone who is comfortable with dissent? Someone who actually thinks that the debating process will bring you “a new understanding”? Given Obama’s record, are you going to give him the benefit of the doubt?

    1. I think this provides some context to “us[ing] your logic and reason and words.” In the campus context, this means using your logic and reason and words to “take on” and “go after” the evil racist outsiders by, at best, protesting their speech, or maybe heckling them, or holding up your big “SAY NO TO RACISTS” signs.

      Where in all this talk of going after people and taking them on or bringing them in, in the standard argument for academic freedom – that people who are after all, technically, students, may have something to learn from a speaker, so before they decide “I DISAGREE AND I’M TAKING YOU ON!” they should actually listen to what the person has to say?

      Even when Obama is trying to soothe the Soaves of the world by claiming to be for free speech, he can’t seem to conceal his contempt for opposing views – such views are not ideas to be debated, but dangers to be confronted by taking on and going after the speaker. Or “bringing them in,” which coincidentally is how *arrests* are described on TV shows?

      1. My takeaway? Obama doesn’t believe in debate as we understand it, he believes his followers need to be on the alert for bad think and “take it on,” and hopefully they’ll be so busy chanting “hey hey ho ho transphobia [or whatever] has got to go” that they’ll stay in their bubble of systemic closure and not dirty their minds with the idea of someone on the “other side” having valid views.

  17. Every time I see that stock Melissa Click photo, my first reaction is “A faded color photo from 1962.”

  18. I am glad that some on the left are fighting back. However, the cynic in me sees that in a few years the progressives/leftists/liberals will successfully rewrite history. They will portray this current suppression of free speech, especially on college campuses, as being a product of conservatives. In a way they will be correct. The desire to suppress free speech is conservative in temperament. But the lie of omission will be that the overwhelming support for these current speech codes came from those who self-identified as being on the left and otherwise supported views that are currently identified as being on the left.

  19. “If somebody’s got a bad or offensive idea, prove it wrong,”

    This coming from the guy whose party is trying to apply RICO prosecutions to anybody who defends CO2 against their anti-science assault .

  20. It is the height of arrogance for a human to believe their way is the only way. By talking it over with others, most of us can avoid our worst impulses and decisions.

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    I put a small sign in my dorm window at KU that said “Fuck the System”. The campus police showed up to tell me to take it down because it was obscene. I replaced it with a sign that said “F__k the System”. The police came back to tell me to take it down because people would know what it meant. Hope things have changed since I was a student.

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