Campus Free Speech

Claremont McKenna Students, Silencing Heather Mac Donald Is the Stupidest Way to Battle The War on Cops

Another censorious mob deals its own cause a setback.

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CMC
Screenshot via Claremont Independent

Once again, a group of protesters—many of them students—decided to prevent a contrary speaker from addressing campus. Once again, they largely succeeded, harassing a student-journalist in the process.

Once again, the college administration—at Claremont McKenna, this time—condemned their illiberalism but could do nothing, or would do nothing, to stop them.

And once again, a speaker whose views are anathema to college students but well-represented among the broader American public left campus essentially unchallenged, because the mob denied curious audience members the opportunity to hear her out.

The madness is not confined to Middlebury. This time, the target was Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute scholar and author of the 2016 book The War on Cops. Mac Donald spoke at the University of California-Los Angeles last week, where her vigorous criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement drew heated opposition. But at UCLA, students largely allowed the event to proceed. Opponents of Mac Donald's frequently interrupted her and occasionally derailed her talk, but they did ask questions and permit her to answer them. It was, by and large, a successful exchange of ideas.

Not so at Claremont McKenna on Thursday night. The assembled protesters surrounded the doors to the building where Mac Donald was slated to speak, thereby preventing other students from attending the event. Instead, organizers livestreamed Mac Donald's talk so that interested parties could watch it online.

But even that did not satisfy the protesters.

"During my speech, the protesters banged on the glass windows and shouted," wrote Mac Donald in an email. "It was extremely noisy inside the hall. I took two questions from students who were watching on livestream, but then the cops decided that things were getting too chaotic and I should stop speaking."

Police officers smuggled Mac Donald out of the building through a backdoor, which surprised the protesters and allowed her to escape.

Steven Glick, a student-journalist at nearby Pomona College and editor of the Claremont Independent told The College Fix that he thought at least some of the protesters were students.

"Several protesters were middle-aged, and some were students at other colleges," he said. "The protesters chanted things like, 'From Oakland to Greece, fuck the police' and 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.' I tried to talk to dozens of protesters about why they objected to Heather Mac Donald, but not a single one could point to an issue they had with her work."

The protest was evidently organized by a Facebook group called "Shutdown Anti-Black Fascists." A post about the protest suggested that students were involved—it urged white students to form a buffer between black students and the police. The group also implored protesters not to cooperate with reporters from the Claremont Independent, according to Campus Reform.

The protesters followed these instructions well. Video footage of the event, reminiscent of the Melissa Click episode at the University of Missouri, shows protesters repeatedly trying to block Glick's camera, shout over him, and evict him from the area.

One professor claimed, in an email to the Claremont administration, that he was physically assaulted by protesters as he tried to enter the building to hear Mac Donald speak.

Claremont Vice President Peter Uvin expressed "disappointment" that more people weren't able to hear Mac Donald's lecture. Claremont President Hiram Chodash—who has previously made the admirable decision to defend the principles of free expression—suggested to The Los Angeles Times that censoring MacDonald probably had the effect of amplifying her message.

At the very least, the incident casts Mac Donald in a more sympathetic light. Her message is that police in America are unsung heroes, unfairly maligned by ungrateful citizens. Does anyone doubt that this perspective is more appealing in the wake of the protests at CMC, where responsible police officers whisked Mac Donald to safety while taking no action—violent or otherwise—against a censorious mob? It's positively a commercial for the idea that the police are peace-loving good guys.

That's a shame, because there's much to dislike about Mac Donald's war-on-cops narrative. In his review for Reason, the Cato Institute's Tim Lynch tore the central thesis of her book apart, arguing persuasively that she engaged in "willful blindness" toward police misconduct in the Eric Garner case. "Conservatives have some worthwhile ideas to offer in this debate," wrote Lynch, "but Mac Donald's polemics add heat, not light."

Much like Charles Murray, Mac Donald is a representative of a political perspective that is both popular—many, many people are more partial to Blue Lives Matters than Black Lives Matter—and intellectually rigorous enough to justify serious debate. I happen to think her perspective is wrong; I'm on the side of the students who want criminal justice reform, demilitarization of the police, an end to the War on Drugs, etc. But shouting down Mac Donald isn't the same thing as stopping her ideas from spreading. Not even close. To counter her narrative, BLM advocates first need to understand what she believes. And they need to uphold the rules of the college, which permit people to put forward their ideas for the express purpose of allowing others to listen and debate them.

No one is suggesting that protesters are required to hear Mac Donald out. But they are required to stand down. They have to let students who want to hear Mac Donald attend the event. These students are the true victims of campus illiberalism. The young person who wanted to learn more about the hard-right perspective on Black Lives Matter—possibly, to strengthen his own contrary position—was prevented from doing so by an angry mob.

If CMC takes seriously its obligation to protect all points of view, administrators must face reality. There needs to be some kind of punishment for students who pounded on windows, barred entrances, and assaulted journalists and professors.

In the meantime, it's harder and harder to deny that the campus censors appear to be winning. That's a loss for freedom of expression and liberal principles, and it's also a loss for anyone who was hoping to make an intellectual and effective argument against The War on Cops.

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  1. If CMC takes seriously its obligation to protect all points of view, administrators must face reality.

    Well, that’s the trick, isn’t? And it will cost you. Ten thousand, all in advance.

  2. I’m on the side of the students who want criminal justice reform, demilitarization of the police, an end to the War on Drugs, etc.

    Uh, Robby, I don’t think that is what they want. They merely want State-sponsored repression to favor their perspective and not simply done away with. These are not the libertarians you’re looking for. And I wave my hand while I say that.

    1. This is correct. Police are the enforcement arm of central planning. They cannot move the chess pieces around the board if they are not sufficiently armed with authority and hardware.

      1. Can’t spell SHOGUN without GUN.

    2. What they seem to want most of all is an opportunity to be obnoxious assholes and disrupt speeches.

      Based on the quotes in the article, many or most of the protesters don’t seem to even know what they are protesting.

  3. The students would not be acting like they do without the implied consent of the College administration. When I went to school the student’s behavior would have been met with immediate expulsion from the school. The schools are creating exactly what they want; a group of good little comrades that do not respect or condone any ideas or attitudes that does not fit their narrative. Unfortunately for them when they act that way anywhere but on a protected campus they will be extremely lucky if they only get their teeth knocked out.

    1. Not surprising. Opportunities for activism are an actual selling point for some colleges.

  4. Since you didn’t post my last comment I suppose you support acting like snowflakes

    1. You’re probably simply not aware of the comment section problems here. It can take several minutes and/or several refreshes for a comment to actually appear. Blame the squirrelz.

  5. Where’s all the condemnation of Robby attempting to represent both sides with his “to be sure” that Heather McDonald is an Ann Coulter wanna-be with an authoritarianism fetish?

    1. I guess he’s mostly driven those people away. After a while, they give up.

      Who needs subscribers and donors anyway? Screw ’em!

      LOL

  6. Police officers smuggled Mac Donald out of the building through a backdoor, which surprised the protesters and allowed her to escape.

    You “escape” from a hostage situation. Does this make the rioters kidnappers? As in federal felons?
    Or does it mean the cops were ordered by the administration to aid and abet in violating the constitutional rights of the speaker and all who wanted to hear?

    Can’t wait for Trump’s tweet on this one.

    1. What constitutional rights of the speaker were violated? There is no legal right not to have your speech disrupted. I would hope that the venue of such an event would exercise their rights to kick out the troublemakers, but that’s a different thing.

      1. Do you think that this is grounds for withholding federal funding? Couldn’t the argument be made that these institutions have essentially become public due to the fact that they need federal funding (primarily through tuition subsidies) to survive?

        That was the only Trump tweet that I actually agreed with. This Maoism needs to end

        1. I don’t know if it does according to current law. Universities should receive a whole lot less federal funding in general in my view. And I wouldn’t object to withdrawing funding from schools that condone or ignore activism that crosses the line into serious threatening or not allowing people to move about freely.

          Even if the schools are “public” in some sense, I’m not sure this case is a violation of the speaker’s rights.

      2. Not so sure the constitution is relevant, but he is referring to the protestors physically blocking the doors and then apparently escalated in their aggressive behavior to the point the cops got worried and smuggled her out. As for your more general question of disruption (if we ignore the door blocking and what were interpreted as threats of actual violence in this case), I guess it depends if you think verbal harassment can ever cross the line to violating rights.

        1. Instead of the cops getting worried, maybe for once they should have kicked ass when it was appropriate to do so. they sure never have a problem lording their authoritah in other situations.

          1. Not when you have a mob of rich kids whose parents are lawyers.

            1. Then hire some Hell’s Angels as private security. That would make for an interesting lawsuit. I’m sure the bikers would put a new spin on ‘discovery’.

        2. If they were actually assaulting or holding her captive, then the protesters were violating her rights, but regular criminal laws deal with that, not the constitution.

      3. The right to assemble. The speaker was prevented from gathering with like minded people in a public space because other people assaulted her followers. Govt did not ensure her freedom.

        1. Amen. The right to assemble is fundamental — and the most overlooked by today’s left. It includes the right to not to have violence disrupt one’s speakers.

          If someone splits hairs that the govt should not be enforcing this on a private campus, the immediate query is whether they receive federal tax dollars. If so, they should be required by law or else shuttered to protect the first amendment rights of all students.

          There is no right to riot in the Constitution, no right to disrupt others, no right to attack cops.

        2. The right to assemble is protected against the government, not against private people. If I stop you from assembling people somewhere through threats or violence, I’m not guilty of violating the first amendment, which applies only to the government, but of violating criminal laws against assault. The school didn’t prevent her from speaking or assembling, the protesters did. And whether or not the school is a government entity, they are not.

          1. of course, nothing stops employers from devaluing the university’s degrees.

          2. No, I think you’re wrong here.

            Government protects unions (private entities) right to assemble against business owners (private entities)

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[1]”

            It doesn’t say anywhere that this only applies against the government.

            Government protects people assembling to protest businesses.

            Why doesn’t it protect people assembling to hear a speaker?

            I suspect that it did, that this was once taken as a given–given all the times we’ve seen government protect controversial speaking in the past–and the scorn with which officials who didn’t are received.

            But that part of public civility died when the left managed to convince the world that they were defending free speech while demanding the right to scream over everyone else.

            And look, there they are–STILL screaming over everyone else.

            1. It doesn’t have to constantly repeat “these laws apply to government”. It’s right there in the name: “constitution”.

              The constitution does not articulate criminal laws, it restricts government.

          3. The 14th amendment keeps states from infringing on liberty as well. And the constitution also provides a provision ensuring domestic tranquility (not to mention if its not in the constitution, rights are reserved to the people). People have a right to protest, people have a right to assemble. People do not have a right to use violence to stop one or the other. And the constitution requires that those entrusted with force protect that right.

      4. Zeb has it right. There is no right to be heard. And, to be honest, while I hate to side with college students on anything, I have no concern whether Heather McDonald’s voice is ever heard, by anyone. Free speech is not a positive right to force people to tolerate imbecility.

        1. Yes, there is a right to be heard, and a right to speak. No matter how repugnant one finds another person’s viewpoints, not letting him/her speak proves to be even more of a danger and a threat to democracy, to everybody. If we want a truly democratic society, we’ll have to let people whose viewpoints we find really abhorrent speak anyway.

          1. You’ve got it right. The government doesn’t grant the right, nor is it merely a protection against the government. People, by virtue of being free and of sound mind, have the right to free assembly. Whoever interferes with that right, be it a business owner, a government entity, or a group of black-shirt fascists, is impinging on those rights.

            The government is merely a representation of the public body that is used to guarantee the public’s rights. The government is not separate from the people, it IS the people’s contractual agreement to uphold each other’s rights. This makes the government the guarantor of individual rights.

            What this means is the government is required to offer civil and legal recourse for the people who’s rights were violated. Finding the leaders of this riot and suing them-since I’m sure the speaker was paid for her speaking engagement and yet her speech was not allowed to proceed in full-would be a possible first step. A more proactive measure would be to allow the hiring of private security to make sure that the right to assemble was freely maintained in the first place.

      5. I have to disagree here, Zeb. What lots of people don’t realize is that if a person slaps another person down for expressing attitudes/opinions that they don’t agree with, then they, too, can be slapped down. The student protestors went way overboard in not only preventing the students who were attending Mac Donald’s speech from doing so, but in preventing her speech from being net-streamed, as well.

  7. “Steven Glick, a student-journalist at nearby Pomona College . . .”

    They’re both part of Claremont Colleges. Harvey Mudd is another.

    Oxford and Cambridge are like that–each made up of a number of colleges. UC San Diego is made up of six colleges.

    There are only 1,300 students at Claremont McKenna. They pay $70,000 a year to go to a liberal arts college.

    As P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

    1. “…and two to take him.”

      Now fork it over, and take what we give you.

    2. They get that back in free beer. Grads also have a median salary of $102k, which is $25k above the national average.

      If you want to find suckers, look to Pitzer, which is probably where most of the protesting boneheads are from anyway.

  8. A Claremont McKenna professor once spray painted racist slurs on her own car and then claimed to be the victim of racism. She was convicted of insurance fraud and making false statements to police.

    http://articles.latimes.com/20…../me-dunn19

    I wonder if you can even get prosecuted in LA for perpetrating a phony hate crime against yourself anymore.

    1. Her criminal conviction doesn’t seem to have slowed her academic career, or her ability to recruit legal compliance personnel for investment banking firms:

      https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerri-dunn-65b918b

  9. Starting to think that the alt-right Twitter mobs are not the real ‘fascists’ here.

    1. I don’t think there are any real fascists here, but the lefty protesters are certainly using more fascist/nazi-like tactics.

      1. What’s almost funny is that fascists *are* leftists. They simply substitute the imaginary group “the nation” for imaginary group “society.”

        1. Almost right. Actually:

          They simply substitute the imaginary group “the nation/society” for the imaginary group “the working class.”

    2. With the universities playing the part of Neville Chamberlain. Perhaps if we back off and let this angry mob do whatever it wants, they will be satisfied and stop misbehaving.

      1. You mean let the angry mob act like a bunch of spoiled brats? That’s exactly what happened too often during the 1960’s and the 1970’s, which ultimately got more repressive right-wing regimes here in the United States, and in Europe, as well, elected into power.

  10. I am using it now & it’s awesome! I’ve signed up for my account and have been bringing in fat paychecks. For real, my first week I made ?350 and the 2nd week I doubled it & then it kinda snowballed to ?150 a day! just folllow the course.. they will help you out.

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  11. I am using it now & it’s awesome! I’ve signed up for my account and have been bringing in fat paychecks. For real, my first week I made ?350 and the 2nd week I doubled it & then it kinda snowballed to ?150 a day! just folllow the course.. they will help you out.

    =========> http://www.jobmax6.com

  12. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

    Was anybody else perplexed by this?

    1. I’m guessing the Jordan to the Mediterranean? No clue what this had to do with the speech about cops, but then those with a cause are just gonna cause.

      1. I’m guessing the Jordan to the Mediterranean?

        Quite a feat, given that the Jordan river is endorheic and ends in the Dead Sea, quite a bit below the Mediterranean.

    2. Yes. That’s a part of what lead me to believe that most of them were just there because the like to protest, not because they had a clue what they were actually protesting.

      1. Make that $15/hr minimum wage, capitalism, the man, animal rights…anytime there’s a bitch session they show up.

      2. That’s probably true. They’re just interested in the presumed fun of protesting, and not in the subject matter themselves.

    3. Do you think they could point to Palestine on a map?

      1. Suburban Chicago, right?

      2. Probably not!

    4. We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!

    5. Palestine? Israel? Not sure where the “sea” comes in.

      On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates”. Genesis 15:18

      1. And the Lord sayeth: “I am altering the Covenant. Pray that I don’t alter it any further.”

  13. “The war on cops”…until someone rob them and/or shoot them and complained where the cops are, the cops do nothing, etc…? Like for example in that clip after someone was hit by a car and guns shots in Ferguson in August 2016 at around 1:40. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfzsMDl1GNY

    I guess these snowflakes had’t saw these revenge films of the 1970s-1980s like Death Wish and Vigilante. They sure would stop to act like trigglypuffs. I spotted that clip on Youtube, however not suitable for a younger audience viewer discretion is advised showing a mash-up of the following revenge films.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UegwX03dXJs
    Rolling Thunder (1977)
    Fighting Back (1982)
    Wild Thing (1987)
    Vigilante (1983)
    Ms. 45 (1981)
    Defiance (1980)
    Sunday in the Country (1974)
    Rape Squad (1974)
    The Confessions of Bernhard Goetz (1987)
    Death Wish (1974)
    The Exterminator (1980)

    1. Btw, one guy nicknamed Rad-Pax did a fanart of “black lives matter” posted on Deviantart. Some folks had decided to do some parodies of that fanart into a meme who think it should had been more viral. The original was deleted from MemeGenerator but it was saved on the Internet Archive alias Wayback Machine.

  14. “There needs to be some kind of punishment for students…” Why? Is there any evidence whatsoever that the school’s administration disagrees with either the methods or the goals of the “protestors?” I am aware only of some gentle statements of regret, but these are simply cover for the administrators’ support of the thugs. The student-nazis and the colleges are pretty much in accord.

  15. LOL so the author calls MacDonald’s views “hard-right” yet also mentions in passing, “many, many people are more partial to Blue Lives Matters than Black Lives Matter”.

    That hard-right just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    MacDonald, on any average day, makes more statistical sense than any argument I’ve yet seen from the opposition.

  16. “In the meantime, it’s harder and harder to deny that the campus censors appear to be winning.”

    I question whether or not this is really true. From the anecdotes on this site and the College Fix, it always seems that the censors are winning. We never read stories about the hundreds of talks that go on without a protest, though. Also, I think I saw a study on this site about how some ~87% of college students don’t even know what social justice is or the issues surrounding it. I think this is a problem limited to a few large colleges, and a handful of small colleges, all extremely “left”.

    As these stories keep bubbling up, eventually up into the mainstream, and as more footage of violent protests gets shared, the general public will reject these puritans.

    1. I wish I could share your optimism, but I just read the Washington Post’s account of the incident, and the reader comments on the article. I would say between a quarter and a third explicitly endorsed the protesters’ actions because people like Heather Mac Donald are not entitled to be heard. They *should* be shut down, apparently. It is genuinely kind of scary to read.

      Of course, the comments on Post articles consistently depress me in a way that no other left-leaning online news outlet’s comments do. The Post’s readers seem to be uniquely vicious.

      1. I don’t waste my time with that venue unless I just feel particularly ornery, and want to yank someone’s chain or poke a bear. But any reasoned argument is pretty much a waste of time vs. the feelz of that group.

  17. “To counter her narrative, BLM advocates first need to understand what she believes.”

    Or just shut up and let the literate among us make the case.

  18. RE: Claremont McKenna Students, Silencing Heather Mac Donald Is the Stupidest Way to Battle The War on Cops
    Another censorious mob deals its own cause a setback.

    “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”
    This is the motto of the fascist left in academia.

  19. One professor claimed, in an email to the Claremont administration, that he was physically assaulted by protesters as he tried to enter the building to hear Mac Donald speak.

    #TheOhioNationalGuardDidNothingWrong

  20. Let’s be real: If the thugs could answer MacDonald’s claims, they wouldn’t need to riot to keep her from being heard. But this will continue until the thugs face genuine punishment. This would be a good time for all that police militarization we keep hearing about. Every dead rioter makes the world a better place. It would also be nice if those who organize them from safe spaces were made to pay for the damage they cause.

  21. It’s time for parents to really evaluate the kind of education that their children are getting the big bucks they pay for this so called education.

    Shop parents, shop. There are some sane universities and colleges out there.

  22. I tried to talk to dozens of protesters about why they objected to Heather Mac Donald, but not a single one could point to an issue they had with her work.”

    Honestly, good. Not every view is a special snowflake deserving to be heard.

    1. Progressive: “Our brownshirts should just do their job beating up people and suppressing speech we don’t like; we don’t pay them to think for themselves!”

  23. “No one is suggesting that protesters are required to hear Mac Donald out.”

    They are required to hear her out if they are indeed “protesting” her positions. Otherwise, they are simply causing an obtuse disturbance. Of course, the latter is the actual case.

  24. The protest was evidently organized by a Facebook group called “Shutdown Anti-Black Fascists.”

    That name is ironic on many levels when you consider the kind of ideology many social justice activists, both black and white, promote.

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