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Students Heckled Charles Murray at Michigan, But It Wasn't a Total Disaster

What I saw at the latest campus free speech controversy.

MurrayRobby Soave / ReasonIt wasn't a full-blown Middlebury, but Charles Murray's appearance at the University of Michigan last night did feature a familiar mix of protesting, heckling, and walk-outs. Still, the students demonstrating against Murray did not shut the event down, though many told me beforehand that this was their goal.

I have a theory about that.

Two hours before the event, protesters gathered at the Diag, the central area of campus. Some faculty members had teamed with a local anti-fascist group to lead one of the protests; this group did not plan to shut down the event, and was simply focused on responding to Murray's ideas, which they consider to be junk science. (Murray co-wrote The Bell Curve, a book that makes controversial claims about race and intelligence.)

Another group, led by graduate students, planned a coordinated walk-out, but only as a last resort if they failed to get the event shut down. A third group, consisting of students and other local activists affiliated with By Any Means Necessary, also desired an explicit shutdown.

Airport-style security was in effect at the building where Murray was speaking: No sharp objects, umbrellas, or water bottles were allowed. Police officers had to check every bag, which meant that students had to wait in line for an hour before entering the auditorium. The room had space for only 200 students.

Ben Decatur, the American Enterprise Institute's student coordinator at Michigan, kicked off the event by asking the audience to respect free speech principles. But the audience was about 90 percent activists, and they laughed at this idea.

Then Murray took the podium. The heckling began almost immediately. Students shouted at him that he was a white supremacist and a supporter of the KKK. They told him to "get the fuck out of here." They shut off the lights, revealing that activists had somehow arranged for the words "white supremacist" to be projected on the wall behind Murray. Their phone alarms all went off simultaneously. They blasted the Star Wars imperial march, and then, apropos of I'm-not-sure-what, Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money." At least 10 police officers stood idly by as this happened.

The chanting reached a crescendo, and it seemed likely the event would have to be cancelled. But Rick Fitzgerald, a member of the university's public affairs department, took the stage and implored the protesters to let Murray speak. No shutdown took place, and the activists opted to walk out at the appointed time.

The problem with the walkout is that the auditorium only had so much room. By taking a seat with the intention of vacating it in protest of Murray, the activists denied students who actually wanted to watch the event the opportunity to do so. And their heckling made it difficult to hear Murray for much if not most of the event.

But the event was not a Berkeley- or Middlebury-magnitude disaster. There was almost no violence or property destruction—with the notable exception of an observer whose phone was snatched and thrown over a balcony—and the shutdown was averted. I would credit this partial success to Fitzgerald's intervention, and it suggests a potential way to deal with student protests moving forward.

There are no good options for preventing students from shutting down speakers. The nuclear option, of course, is to expel them for doing so. That's something many on the right favor, but administrators and campus security would not necessarily do a good job distinguishing mere protest (which is rightly protected by the First Amendment) from heckling. Universities routinely deny due process rights to students; I have little reason to believe they would do better if they received a mandate to punish protesters. This is why the University of Wisconsin's new anti-protest policy, which is based on a flawed Assembly bill, should worry free speech advocates.

The other option is to do what the College of William and Mary did: absolutely nothing.

But the Michigan event suggests a third way. It is incumbent on administrators, academics in good standing with the left, and other students to stand up to the activists and ask them to turn the dial down. Teach them to be better, and maybe, eventually, they will be.

Photo Credit: Robby Soave

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  • John||

    There are no good options for preventing students from shutting down speakers. The nuclear option, of course, is to expel them for doing so. That's something many on the right favor, but administrators and campus security would not necessarily do a good job distinguishing mere protest (which is rightly protected by the First Amendment) from heckling. Universities routinely deny due process rights to students; I have little reason to believe they would do better if they received a mandate to punish protesters. This is why the University of Wisconsin's new anti-protest policy, which is based on a flawed Assembly bill, should worry free speech advocates.

    WTF? It is called disturbing the peace. If your "protest" interferes with someone's ability to speak or with the audience's ability to hear them, you are not protesting. You are disrupting the event and preventing people from exercising their right to free speech and assembly. It is not hard. If you are unable to sit quietly and listen to what someone has to say or lack the self-control to not go to hear a speaker whom you don't like, you have no business being in college and should be expelled.

    I get it Soave. The protestors are leftists and therefore can't be that bad or certainly any worse than the vicious meanies on the right. But right or left has nothing to do with this. The fact that anyone has to have airport-like security to speak on a college campus, shows how broken these places are.

  • Jerryskids||

    I have a right to free speech so I'm coming over to your house and stand in your living room and scream shit at you while you're trying to watch TV. You support my right to free speech, don't you?

  • barfman2017||

    *barf*

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  • DesigNate||

    Did one of the other people that live in John's house invite you over?

  • John||

    Even if they did, it is still my house and I can still kick you out of it. The fact that you were invited just means you are not guilty of trespass. It does not mean I can't kick you out or that you have a right to act any way you please.

  • Tony||

    Does anyone believe that if it were Trumptards protesting Nancy Pelosi that John's opinion wouldn't be 100% reversed?

  • John||

    Yes Tony, you are a craven moron who is incapable of understanding much less applying standards. So you, of course, assume everyone else is the same. Go fuck yourself you fascist twit.

  • Tony||

    Ooh, I timed that perfectly. See below how I mostly agreed with you even though I think Charles Murray is a racist fraud.

    You on the other hand would without question change your tune if the victim was a liberal. Everyone knows it. No use in pretending otherwise.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Name a liberal victim.

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    Oh fuck off you retarded sack of shit.

  • ajkelly451@gmail.com||

    Clever and well-thought out response, Jack. Did you come up with that by yourself?

  • Dariush||

    Oh fuck off you retarded sack of shit.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Except there are no liberal victims.

    The right doesn't do this.

    The worst of them may boycott or try to get something shut down, or protest--but they don't go into an event and scream until it's shut down to prevent people from hearing another side.

  • Tony||

    Of course we're not counting every single Trump rally where, if they aren't actually beating up people, they're salivating at the thought of raping and murdering Katy Tur.

  • DarrenM||

    Even giving every benefit of the doubt and assuming you aren't just deranged, this is a crock.

  • Brother Kyfho||

    Way to Straw Man, liar.

  • ||

    No, I don't believe that.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Same principle. Yes, Pelosi may be a bitch on wheels, but still has the right to spout her statist crap if she's invited to speak.

  • John||

    But the Michigan event suggests a third way. It is incumbent on administrators, academics in good standing with the left, and other students to stand up to the activists and ask them to turn the dial down. Teach them to be better, and maybe, eventually, they will be.

    That is the funniest thing I have read all day. People who show up and masks and attack people for the crime of going to hear someone with unapproved politics need to be taught better? Yeah Robby, these people just didn't know it wasn't okay to physically assault anyone they don't like. That it is. Nobody told them mob violence wasn't acceptable.

    Jesus fucking Christ, do you even read this stuff?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    What is your suggestion?

  • John||

    Enforce the rules. If you show up and assault someone, you get arrested. If you show up and disrupt an event, you get arrested for disturbing the peace. If you lack the maturity and self-control to politely listen to what a speaker has to say, you get expelled.

    Colleges are under no obligation to entertain their students' "protest". If someone is unable to listen to ideas that they find objectionable, then they lack the intellectual maturity necessary to be in college and should be expelled. It is really that simple.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    If you show up and assault me, with the end result that I break your kneecaps, then you get arrested for attempted assault - yeah, that would be a solution too.

    This is what we don't seem to hear from anyone - DEFEND YOURSELF.

    As far as these punks lacking intellectual - or emotional - maturity, that's pretty self-evident

  • Lester224||

    If you show up and just bring a sign protesting the event or the person no one should punch you or throw you out (e.g. Trump rallies).

    https://tinyurl.com/ycg8csx3

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    If you convince yourself that these people are unreachable and incapable of changing, you can feel good about hating them.

  • John||

    I have no idea if they are capable of changing. And frankly, I don't care. That is their problem, not mine. One thing is for sure, enabling them and making excuses for them isn't going to change them. More importantly, it is not the college or anyone else's responsibility to change them. If they can't act like human beings and are disruptive, kick their asses out of school. That way it doesn't matter if they change or not because they can be someone else' problem.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    I am not making excuses for these morons. I just can't bring myself to get so worked up about this as to hate them.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I AM LIKE SO SCARED RITE NOW

  • John||

    Since when is expecting people to abide by rules hate? Ultimately, you just can't seem to realize that disrupting speeches and censoring what can and cannot be said on a college campus is that big of a deal. Well, it is a big deal. And if it isn't stopped here, it will spread elsewhere. If Murrah can't speak freely on a college campus, it is just a matter of time before he can't speak freely anywhere else. You today, me tomorrow. You seem unable to grasp that.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    He can come to my house if he wants, but I'm not paying him.

  • John||

    Yeah Sparky, mobs showing up and attacking people for holding the wrong views. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Homple||

    "Hate". You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You can't have a culture war if the two sides only have a mild distaste for each other.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I can hate them with little or no effort.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Agree...indeed getting arrested or expelled might be the best learning experience many of them will get during their time at UM.

  • ||

    "Teach them to be better, and maybe, eventually, they will be."

    Eventually?

    They're adults. Teach them what?

    "But the audience was about 90 percent activists, and they laughed at this idea."

    What are you supposed to do with this?

    Let this bunch pass on and go into the real world. They're done.

    The key is to educate the current crop of kids.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    The key is to educate the current crop of kids.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  • John||

    I think Robby is just as hopeless. Robby seems to think that protesting a speech is something that a college campus must tolerate. Bullshit, it is the last thing a college campus should protest. The point of college should be the free exchange of ideas. And you can't do that protesting. Everyone on a college campus should get a polite hearing. There is nothing about a speech to protest. You don't like what the person has to say, make your own speech and your own event explaining why. But you don't show up and protest them speaking any more than they should show up and protest you speaking.

    The idea that academic institutions should have a sense of decorum and standards of behavior and debate that other institutions and the general public might not seem not to occur to Robby. His educators and parents seem to have failed Robby quite miserably.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    There isn't enough time in the worls for that, John. Not everyone can be heard.

  • John||

    Not everyone can be heard. But the people who the college invites to speak surely as hell can be heard. The college decides who gets heard not the thugs who inhabit the campus. When someone has an event, they are politely heard. I am not talking about the diversity of speakers. I am talking about the duty to politely listen to anyone who does speak. You completely miss the point.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Come on, John, it is not that hard to give a talk without being disrupted. Just charge money for it. I am sure Murray got paid for this. Where did the money come from? Maybe it would have been more honest to charge at the door or sell tickets.

  • John||

    Why should you have to charge money for it? If I want to hear someone who the thugs don't like, I now have to pay to keep them out. That is bullshit. The thugs should not be allowed to dictate the terms by which people speak.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Then rent out the space and make it invitation only. Then you can kick anyone out, like when they kicked Richard Spencer out of that liberty conference.

  • John||

    Sure, just jump through my ass because we can't expect people to observe even the most rudimentary sense of decorum or standards of behavior. Bullshit. How about the animals in the video be told to either grow up and tolerate views they don't like or get out of school? That sounds a whole lot more sensible.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    So someone owes you a lecture hall if you have something to say? Sounds like positive rights to me. Either you speak on private property, where you have the right to kick out hecklers, or you speak on public property, where hecklers also have a right to speak.

  • John||

    No. No one owes me a lecture hall. But when someone does give me a lecture hall, they have a right to listen to what I have to say without some asshole showing up and disrupting the event.

    Saying that events should not be disrupted is not the same thing as saying that everyone is entitled to their own event. I honestly can't understand why you find that concept so hard to understand.

  • ||

    I'm not following you. Murray was asked to speak. Let him speak. End of story.

    As I noted down thread, when I was in university and didn't get to listen to a speaker because of a bunch of clowns, I'd be upset. ESPECIALLY, given how many times I had to sit through some of the stupidest left-wing garbage I was treated to. But that's what university is and I understood that.

    So what's all this 'owes you a lecture hall' crap?

  • ajkelly451@gmail.com||

    Dude you are hilarious. If you were black and Richard Spencer was on a stage telling you, however politely, that he wishes you would move out of "his" country and move back to Africa, don't for a second bullshit me that you would politely remove yourself or remain there and silently listen to his "ideas".

    Freedom of speech is NOT the same thing is freedom from repercussions of said speech!

    Rightists are so funny in this realm. You're so afraid of cultural marxism and your views on how free speech works is akin to speech Marxism.

    Everyone remain quiet until your allotted time to speak, now! Let the white nationalist first make all his claims and then we'll let you respond! Oops... your response is going to take more than 2 minutes? Too bad, everyone gets an EQUAL amount of time at the mike.

    Pep up there, snowflake.

  • John||

    Dude you are retarded. No really you are retarded. If you are black and Richard Spencer is speaking, you don't go.

    Go kill yourself before you pollute the gene pool you fascist ignorant fuck.

  • ||

    I was more polite.

    But yeah. He's a clown.

  • ||

    It's not what he's saying.

    At all.

    "Dude you are hilarious. If you were black and Richard Spencer was on a stage telling you, however politely, that he wishes you would move out of "his" country and move back to Africa, don't for a second bullshit me that you would politely remove yourself or remain there and silently listen to his "ideas".

    When I was in university I had to sit, listen and be polite to assholes and plenty of people I disagreed with. What's so fucken hard to understand here? And you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be pissed if someone I wanted to hear got shut down by a bunch of idiots who couldn't act like adults and pretend to at least be intellectual.

    "Freedom of speech is NOT the same thing is freedom from repercussions of said speech!"

    And? Your point? How does this relate to Murray?

    "Everyone remain quiet until your allotted time to speak, now! Let the white nationalist first make all his claims and then we'll let you respond!"

    I got the feeling you were going to go there. So you're arguing Murray is a 'white nationalist'? Have you read his work?

    By going there you just exposed yourself to be just another shrill progressive.

  • Qsl||

    because we can't expect people to observe even the most rudimentary sense of decorum or standards of behavior

    To be fair, one of the central tenets of civil disobedience is an understanding there will be (and a begrudging acceptance of) consequences.

    A central tenet of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime.

    Apartment I lived in had a gent that complained constantly about the noise using the very same argument. Problem was a good percentage of the apartment was musicians. The rest just tolerated that a bit of noise was the price for cheap rents.

    A "rudimentary sense of decorum or standards of behavior" is just doublespeak for controlling what happens in a public space. Depending on the situation. silence is just as much an imposition as noise.

  • BYODB||

    Actually...this is not a terrible idea. I doubt these 'protesters' would pay an entrance fee to hear someone they disagree with speak and if they did, well, it would just be funny or an ideal outcome where they actually listen and either agree or disagree based on the merits.

  • Kivlor||

    Requiring people to pay in addition isn't going to solve the problem. The protesters will simply block the entrances, and refuse to let anyone in. They've done it at other events.

    "Well call the cops"

    Well, that seems a little worse than John's "expel them" if you take the general Reasonoid opinion of the police as evil violent malicious thugs looking for some minority to murder...

  • DaveSs||

    Charge 200 a head to get in as a maturity guarantee. If you sit down, shut up, wait to be acknowledged by the moderator to respond, you get your 200 back.

    Start chanting, disrupting, hop on the stage, etc you get yourself kicked out and you've forfeit your entrance fee.

  • p3orion||

    "Start chanting, disrupting, hop on the stage, etc you get yourself kicked out and you've forfeit your entrance fee."

    Which is given to the speaker as an apology for the idiocy of some of the attendees.
    Bonus: the snowflakes are thereby contributing to the speaker they so hate.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    The idea that academic institutions should have a sense of decorum and standards of behavior and debate that other institutions and the general public might not seem not to occur to Robby. His educators and parents seem to have failed Robby quite miserably.

    Your absolute venomous hate for Robby is kinda funny.

  • John||

    I don't hate Robby. I am just puzzled by how someone as shallow as he is was ever given any kind of a public platform.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Yes, you do hate Robby. It's crystal clear that you do. Don't be so modest about it.

  • Homple||

    Ah yes. The good old proggie "hate" pejorative. Absolves you from arguing honestly against what somebody says. Or, like "hate speech", a now quasi-legal means to suppress ideas.

    Keep progging.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Keep progging.

    Not sure if serious.

  • John||

    And you are apparently in love with him Sparky. NTTAWWT. For the record I am pretty sure he already has a boyfriend.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Yes, if I don't hate him as vehemently as you then I love him. Those are the only two possibilities.

  • John||

    No. there are lots of others sparky. Most people on here don't seem to love him. But you do. Again, NTTAWWT

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Everyone should get a polite hearing.

  • ||

    He's hard on him but never got the feeling he hates him.

    You say that.

  • DarrenM||

    College is for formal education with a view toward working in the real world. If there's enough time for this kind of crap, that college is doing something wrong.

  • Jerryskids||

    I hope you're talking about educating them with the Big Fucking Stick of Knowledge, on the premise that stupidity should be painful.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    "But the audience was about 90 percent activists, and they laughed at this idea."

    What are you supposed to do with this?

    When they start their chanting, laugh at their speech.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Hey Robby,

    Do all these kids do their thing and then go party afterwards? Some of me wants to believe part of the reason these kids get together is to get worked up, then after a good fash bash, they go drink and fuck? I'm hoping some of them are just tag-a-longs, not all zealots.

  • John||

    I bet they don't. I think these people are far too fucked up, angry, stupid and broken to actually have a good time doing much of anything. If they were not such vile little fuckers, I would feel sorry for them.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I bet you're right; I'm just looking for silver linings in a world gone mad.

  • ajkelly451@gmail.com||

    "I think these people are far too fucked up, angry, stupid and broken to actually have a good time doing much of anything"

    Deja Vu. I literally had this IDENTICAL thought about you after reading your multitude of vein-popping replies in so many Reason comment sections. Projecting much?

  • John||

    You had that thought because you are an idiot. But we kind already knew that

  • ajkelly451@gmail.com||

    SICK BURN. Did you think of it on your own? Or did your mom come down to the basement to help you out?

  • ||

    Some of me wants to believe part of the reason these kids get together is to get worked up, then after a good fash bash, they go drink and fuck?

    Here's Robby's third option; Administrators give up on the Title IX Inquisitions and allow these peoples' peers to ply them out of protesting with the twin pillars of any decent college education.

    Along those lines, it seems like it would be trivial to coordinate with a fraternity or other social organization to set up a sort of false front event where you hire some less cerebral but more offensive speaker to speak at an event where alcohol will be served, condoms will be handed out, and door-fee vouchers to the local strip clubs will be given away at the same time Murray (or whomever) is being invited to speak nearby. When life gives you Nazis, fight on two fronts.

  • DesigNate||

    This made me think: Is it possible that these fucktards are just super restless because they can't party and fuck anymore?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Plenty of others are partying and fucking, these morons are just choosing not to. IT'S MADNESS!

  • ||

    From my understanding, since the invention of freshmen there have always been people on campus incapable of partying and fucking. It's incumbent upon their peers and predecessors to remedy the situation.

    I'm still ironing out the details of my differential equations, but I *believe* we may've dropped below a tipping point in the drinking/fucking mentor-to-student ratio.

  • Microaggressor||

    they go drink and fuck?

    That's way too much rape culture to be tolerated.

  • p3orion||

    If they do tequila shots, is it cultural appropriation?

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    By taking a seat with the intention of vacating it in protest of Murray, the activists denied students who actually wanted to watch the event the opportunity to do so. And their heckling made it difficult to hear Murray for much if not most of the event.

    Robby, explain to me how succeeding is a problem for the protestors?

  • John||

    Or better yet explain to me why they shouldn't be expelled. Robby seems to either think this is just no big deal or that the people doing it will stop if we just ask them nicely. Does he really believe that or is he just trolling his readers?

  • Pogue Mahon||

    Charge a $100 cover. Enjoy the event like an adult, collect your $100 cover at the end. Heckle like a thug, forfeit your cover like a thug.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    This is kinda what I keep coming up with for a solution. Some kind of ticketing system to try to minimize the problem. Maybe even let the group holding the event be in charge of handing out the tickets.

  • John||

    That is nothing but surrender. You should be able to have an event that is open to the public without fascist assholes showing up and disrupting it. The people disrupting these events are engaging in a direct assault on our freedom. Their entire purpose is to make it impossible for anyone to publicly advocate for any idea they find objectionable. That should not be tolerated.

  • dchang0||

    A lottery system would work well.

    No charge for the tickets, but the people allowed entry are selected randomly.

    This should defeat organized shout-downs unless the interlopers are so large a proportion of the number applying for tickets that they get a sufficiently large number of their people into the event.
    If so, charging a small fee would at least make it more costly for them to spam the lottery. It doesn't have to be a $100 fee; $20 per ticket would be enough to cost a group of 500 protesters $10,000.

  • p3orion||

    "Charge a $100 cover $40,000 tuition. Enjoy the event your college years like an adult, collect your $100 cover degee at the end. Heckle like a thug, forfeit your cover tuition like a thug."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But the audience was about 90 percent activists...

    Then why bother.

    These people need to do webinars. Or, if they simply must have a gathering, stream the audio so attendees can listen through headphones. Technology should make disruptions much more difficult than they are.

  • Thomas O.||

    College organizations inviting these speakers should keep a Controversial Speaker Emergency Kit on hand, consisting of:

    A megaphone capable of amplifying over loud chants
    A GoPro camera that can save the speech for online rebroadcast, not to mention capture evidence of any assault
    Pepper spray to fend off would-be attackers or megaphone thieves

  • ||

    My favorite is the girl on the right in the headphones reading a handout from one of her classes. She's not going to risk hearing even one syllable.

  • DarrenM||

    Reading? At least she got something out of college. I don't see why they just don't stick their fingers in their ears and go "la la la la la" like the other children.

  • Jerryskids||

    Don't these "activists" have meetings? Can't we get some Hell's Angels free speech activists to show up at their meetings and have a vigorous discussion on civil behavior?

  • John||

    I am sure they do. And if anyone showed up to disrupt those meetings, suddenly the administration and sadly probably Robby, would see the light and the need to expel students for bad behavior.

  • Homple||

    Free speech Hell's Angels shutting down activist meetings would be not OK with the administration.

  • creech||

    Yeah, the local YAF chapter doing something like this would have their collective asses thrown off campus faster than a rapist fraternity I remember, back in the day, how difficult it was to charter my YAF chapter because some student council numbskulls thought it was a branch of the John Birch Society. Meanwhile, every flavor of leftwing Marxists had free run to use campus facilities for their organizations.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I think there actually might be an article on reason that showcases this--some right wing group getting busted for trying to talk at a left wing thing they'd been asked to attend.

    I think the article was an admonishing 'see the right does it too' type.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""the audience was about 90 percent activists""

    so... only 20 people or so actually wanted to hear w/ Murray had to talk about?

    I think that's actually a more damning sign of student intellectual cowardice than the narcissistic behavior of activists


    There are no good options for preventing students from shutting down speakers. The nuclear option, of course, is to expel them for doing so

    this seems a stupidly reductionist claim. apparently there's no possible range of actions that people can take in-between "fecklessly consigning oneself to a hecklers veto" and "kicking people out of school"? Nonsense.

    How about holding events in private venues? Charging money for speaking events, later refundable, provided you don't engage in any autistic screeching? How about administrative penalties for disruptive behavior -e.g. reduction of grade-point average by x% per incident? (which is hardly different from a temporary suspension which adversely affects your record)... and any number of other possible means of dealing with the modern mob-tactics.

    Of course 'better options' exist.

    administrators and campus security would not necessarily do a good job distinguishing mere protest (which is rightly protected by the First Amendment) from heckling

    protests happen outside the venue. heckling happens inside the venue. Voila.

  • John||

    Why is kicking people out of school a bad option? Why should someone who refuses to allow anyone they don't like to speak be allowed in college? You and Robby seem to have the position that colleges have some duty to allow people to disrupt speakers they don't like. And that is nonsense. They are colleges. Their entire purpose should be for the civilized exchange of ideas. You can't do that if your students are complete jackasses who refuse to allow anyone they don't like to speak.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Why is kicking people out of school a bad option?

    I dunno, but you're usually against it when it happens because a student was accused of rape.

  • John||

    I am all for kicking student who commit rape out of school. What I am not for is punishing anyone for a crime they didn't commit. So, if colleges are kicking people out for disrupting speeches when in fact they didn't, then that is a problem. But that doesn't mean they don't have a right and should not kick out those who do.

    Go back and think a little more and see if you can come up with a sensible response because your current one is pretty fucking stupid.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Do you trust the way college administrators are enforcing Title IX, in that case?

  • John||

    Colleges have the right to expel students who commit misconduct. And they should do so. In cases of rape, they have set up tribunals that are kangaroo courts. The solution to that is to change the system so that it doesn't punish innocent people, not to just say it is okay to do anything.

    Do you really think it is okay and colleges should tolerate their students assaulting any speaker they don't like or if not assaulting them ensuring that no one can hear them speak?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Do you really think it is okay and colleges should tolerate their students assaulting any speaker they don't like or if not assaulting them ensuring that no one can hear them speak?

    Who said it was "okay"? It's just better than the alternative. Do you even remember how to do anything other than lick boots anymore?

  • John||

    No it is not better than the alternative. How exactly is someone going to be falsely accused of disrupting an event? How would that work. The alternative is enforcing the rules and throwing people who disrupt events out. Doing that is completely different than adjudicating he said she said rape allegations. These are public events. You are not exactly going to be able to frame someone.

    Your position seems to be to give groups of thugs a hecklers veto on any form of speech on a campus because stopping them might cause someone to be wrongly expelled. Really? That is idiotic in the extreme.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    How exactly is someone going to be falsely accused of disrupting an event? How would that work.

    Well that's easy. Just progressively weakening what it means to disrupt and event. Did you sneeze too loud? That's disruption. And of course, they will have the ability to pick and choose how disruption is applied.

  • John||

    Any rule can be abused. Your argument applies to any situation that a college expells someone. So, is it your position that colleges should have no right to expel anyone? How would they function then? And if it isn't, then explain when they should have that right and why disrupting a public speech is somehow different than the circumstances that you agree the college should be allowed to expel someone.

  • DarrenM||

    Most of these people can easily be caught on camera. It's hard to argue with that. I don't know of many rapists who allowed themselves to be filmed.

  • Homple||

    I'd kick students convicted of rape out of school and jail them. But I'm unable to shake the innocent until proven guilty ethos I grew up in.

  • GILMORE™||

    Why is kicking people out of school a bad option?

    i never said it was.

    i was pointing out that Robby was presenting a false-choice fallacy; that "no good options" existed between total complacency and zero-tolerance.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    this seems a stupidly reductionist claim. apparently there's no possible range of actions that people can take in-between "fecklessly consigning oneself to a hecklers veto" and "kicking people out of school"? Nonsense.

    Yeah. For example, there's the "third way" Robby mentions in the final paragraph of the post. You're definitely not a mendacious asshole or anything.

    protests happen outside the venue. heckling happens inside the venue. Voila.

    Suddenly folks have a lot of faith in college administrators' respect for student rights. I expect to see more of the same on the next Title IX thread.

  • John||

    What "right" do you have to go and yell and disrupt a speech? What right do you have to even go and hold a sign? Where did this idea that a student on a college campus has the right to protest any speaker they don't like rather than just not attend? It is the college's campus. You can't go to a class and disrupt it or hold up a sign can you? Or least you should be able to. So why is a speech any different. Colleges have every right to tell their students that if they want to come to a speech on campus, they have to follow certain rules of decorum and that means sitting there and shutting the fuck up and listening to what the person has to say.

    How in the world do you think that students have a right to protest and disrupt events that they don't put on at venues they don't own?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I genuinely wonder if a public university would be sued for First Amendment violations for disallowing sign holding.

  • ||

    Why? There are Free Speech Zones for voting, FFS? What makes some University auditorium sacred?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Do you mean logically? Nothing. How the laws are applied, it could differ significantly. Also, those Free Speech Zones are clearly a limitation of free speech.

  • ||

    Free Speech Zones are a concession that the local Police Power authority to uphold the peace is not trumped by the First Amendment. Of course, it's a blurry line. But it's just another demonstration of how 1A is not absolute.

    As long as a University has a policy regarding protests that was consistently applied and reflected the need to keep the peace rather than any focus on content, it would be fine.

    These Universities likely have such policies already in place. They're just not doing anything with them for reasons I can't fathom.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    What "right" do you have to go and yell and disrupt a speech?

    Go ahead and show me where I said anyone did, mendacious asshole #2.

  • John||

    IF you are not saying that, then what the fuck is your point? If they don't' have a right, then the colleges are correct in kicking them out. Either admit you have no point or shut the fuck up you lying sack of shit.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    They have a right to protest. You are sliding back and forth between disrupting, yelling, protesting, holding signs, etc.

    Which is exactly why bureaucrats like yourself would end up expelling people unjustly.

  • ||

    They're right to protest is not absolute. For example, they can be barred from entering an indoor space and only allowed to protest outside.

  • GILMORE™||

    there's the "third way" Robby mentions in the final paragraph of the post

    based on his own experience at that even, that's not a "solution" at all, because it demonstrably accomplished nothing. and it is included in what i described as "consigning oneself to a hecklers veto". its not a solution for preventing it - its just lame pleading after the fact.

    i thought that was self-evident.

  • DesigNate||

    It was.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I can't help but wonder if expulsions would just charge their base even more. They should seriously sit down and talk with that professor leading this though. Even more shameful for them to descend into nothingness and screaming.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    How about holding events in private venues? Charging money for speaking events, later refundable, provided you don't engage in any autistic screeching?

    No, John says that's surrendering.

  • GILMORE™||

    I had no idea you took John's opinion so seriously.

  • John||

    It is surrendering. It is telling the protestors they get a veto on who speaks on campus. How the hell can you not see the harm in that?

  • GILMORE™||

    the examples I provided were just some (of many possible) ways that institutions COULD prevent the heckler's veto. You seem confused.

  • ||

    He's not confused. Universities are doing any discipline at all. There are a number of disciplinary options, up to and including dismissal.

    Students don't have a fundamental right to protest anytime anywhere.

    Robby pussy-foots around this so much. I'm as annoyed with that as John is.

  • John||

    They are not preventing the heckler's veto. They would be giving into it. The campus should be there for everyone. Saying "well if the assholes don't like you, you just have to take it off campus" is just giving into the hecklers' veto. The point is that anyone who is invited should be able to give a speech on campus.

  • GILMORE™||

    you just have to take it off campus

    that was only one of multiple options.

    and while you might argue that its (barely) some form of concession to protesters, it IS a way of preventing the heckler's veto.

    speakers could have their event, and people genuinely interested in attending could ensure it was undisturbed. on a practical level, that's an improvement. which is exactly what my first comment was pointing out.

  • John||

    No, it really isn't an improvement. You can always have speeches off campus. All you are saying Gilmore is that the way to solve the problem is not having the speech in the first place. That is giving into the hecklers' veto. The fact that Murrah can give a speech somewhere doesn't make the fact that he can't give a speech on a university campus any less of a problem.

  • GILMORE™||

    All you are saying Gilmore is that the way to solve the problem is not having the speech in the first place.

    that's not actually at all what i'm saying. As i said, it was also only one of a number of possible options which existed between "expulsion" and "hands-off complacency". My point was that Robby was presenting a false dilemma about the impossibility of avoiding the heckler's veto.

    Your complaints about whether some of these solutions fail to meet your personal standards of what 'free speech' requires on campus doesn't really add anything to that point.

  • John||

    Your only point Gilmore is that "hey you still have free speech off campus". And that is nice and all but that really has nothing to do with it no longer existing on campuses, which is what we are talking about here.

  • GILMORE™||

    e.g.

    the examples I provided were just some (of many possible) ways that institutions COULD prevent the heckler's veto

    i'm sure if you wanted to talk about some other aspect of the issue, you could always start your own thread and see if people respond to you.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I don't, really. As noted above, I think either of those are acceptable solutions. As well as keeping the event free but letting the organizers hand out tickets making it an invitation only event.

  • ||

    No, John says that's surrendering.

    Remember when the actual fascists occupied Europe and we sent waive after waive of lawyers politely armed with copies of the 1A to drive them out? It was slow-going at first but some of the lawyers had the brilliant idea of getting the League of Nations involved in order to bring the fascists in line. When it was all said and done, the lawyers and the administrators from the League of Nations got together and founded the UN so that never again would ordinary peoples' Constitutionally-guaranteed rights be trampled again. And everyone lived happily ever after. The End.

  • fronteirteg||

    No, 90% were activists because there were only 200 seats that the activists got there first.

    I like the rest of your comment.

  • DajjaI||

    This is great. The students expressed their opinions and Murray still got to speak. Yes it's expensive but over time protesters will realize it's a waste of time and just ignore the people they hate. Also remember, we spend a BILLION DOLLARS A DAY to bring 'freedom' to the middle east. We could spend a little on ourselves.

    For the record I know nothing about Murray but I believe everyone should be given an opportunity to speak no matter how vile. In fact, banning either free speech or protests is what leads to witch hunts and wars.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    so... only 20 people or so actually wanted to hear w/ Murray had to talk about?

    Or 180 people were so triggered by the thought of Murray being on campus that they couldn't go to class and camped out in line instead, leaving room inside for only 20 additional people.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    They blasted the Star Wars imperial march, and then, apropos of I'm-not-sure-what, Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money."

    "Damnit, Steve, you had one job!"

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Who are you to tell Steve he can't identify as someone who is always listening to Rihanna, shitlord?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Also, this is all so ironic that Murray was likely talking about his current hobby horse, which is how American culture is dividing and how this negatively impacts both the poor and society as a whole. It seems like his discussion would be right up their alley.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: white people are the worst.

  • GILMORE™||

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Other than beardo - who has some sweet moves - those are mostly elderly folk, and it's a known fact that everyone over the age of 60 should be put out of their misery.

    I prefer this horrid example of whitey dancing.

  • Homple||

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Frankly, I find the term "white" offensive. I am not white. I am more of a peach color, and that is how I would like to be referred to.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Shut up you dumb cracker ho.

  • DarrenM||

    You're just not cooking them long enough.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Ben Decatur, the American Enterprise Institute's student coordinator at Michigan, kicked off the event by asking the audience to respect free speech principles. But the audience was about 90 percent activists, and they laughed at this idea.

    Who are the fascists, again?

  • Microaggressor||

    But the Michigan event suggests a third way. It is incumbent on administrators, academics in good standing with the left, and other students to stand up to the activists and ask them to turn the dial down. Teach them to be better, and maybe, eventually, they will be.

    What a funny joke, Robby. Somehow, I don't think they're keen on becoming an Enemy of the People. I mean, Defender of White Supremacy.

  • Tony||

    I think that free speech means you get to say your piece without being shouted down. The First Amendment is not an invitation to chaos. Expulsion would be extreme and would step over the line of a violation of rights, but I think disruptive protesters can be escorted out.

    These kinds of protests don't change anyone's minds anyway, except perhaps someone who's not passionate about either side feeling sorry for the guy on the receiving end, which means they're counterproductive.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""but I think disruptive protesters can be escorted out.""

    Don't taze me bro

  • XM||

    Stadiums can ban fans for LIFE for making racist chants.

    Expulsion IS extreme but a violation of rights? Probably not.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Gee what's one little case of assault, obnoxious use of the heckler's veto and general ignorant assholery?

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Students Heckled Charles Murray at Michigan, But It Wasn't a Total Disaster
    What I saw at the latest campus free speech controversy

    Hey Big Blue.
    Go fuck yourself and your oppression.

  • Bubba Jones||

    It is technically correct that The Bell Curve is controversial. I haven't seen a persuasive argument that it is *wrong.*

    IIRC, the primary argument is that the black population is smaller than the white population, therefore the tails of the white distribution will extend farther and you will see a "disproportionate" number of whites at the top. And also the bottom.

    I don't think it claims that the mean of the distributions is different for blacks and whites.

    Quite the opposite. From Wiki:

    he second part describes how cognitive ability is related to social behaviors: high ability predicts socially desirable behavior, low ability undesirable behavior. The argument is made that group differences in social outcomes are better explained by intelligence differences rather than socioeconomic status, a perspective, the authors argue, that has been neglected in research.[1]

    The analyses reported in this part of the book were done using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth (NLSY), a study conducted by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics tracking thousands of Americans starting in the 1980s. Only non-Hispanic whites are included in the analyses so as to demonstrate that the relationships between cognitive ability and social behavior are not driven by race or ethnicity.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve

  • Careless||

    I don't think it claims that the mean of the distributions is different for blacks and whites.

    Um, yes, the book mentions it. It's an incredibly well established fact, it would have been crazy had they not.

  • p3orion||

    Established scientific fact is apparently no defense against an idea being "racist."

    Actually, that rather explains the whole "shout him down!" ethos. The civilized reaction to speech you don't like is to make a better argument, but you can't really make a good argument for much of what pregressives want.

  • p3orion||

    "Pregressives" was a typo, but I actually kind of like it.

  • vek||

    I've done a lot of reading on IQ distributions, and there is a LOT of interesting stuff there. It's all perfectly scientifically sound too. The truth is that a good chunk of the stereotypes people intuitively created in fact mesh up reasonably well with the science, both between races and between sexes. This is of course the most politically incorrect thing in the universe to the left, because it means all people are not magically interchangeable, and that lower levels of achievement does not necessarily imply oppression, but may simply be the natural state of things in a free society.

    In fact, studies have shown that black Americans earn EXACTLY what they should earn based on their IQs, which is to say high IQ blacks make just as much as whites or Asians in that same IQ range, as do less intelligent blacks and their dumb white/Asian counterparts. But the reality is that Africans have lower average IQs. This is an inescapable scientific fact. Everybody and their mother has tried to debunk it with various methodologies, but nobody has yet found an explanation other than they are genetically predisposed to having 10-15 point lower IQs. The funny thing is they score better on certain sub sets of IQ tests than whites, and whites do better than them on others, and Asians do better than either on different things. The bottom line is we are NOT all exactly the same biologically.

  • vek||

    DID YOU KNOW that East Asians have higher average IQs than whites... But Europeans actually have a more uneven IQ distribution? Whites have more low IQ people, but also more exceptionally high genius level IQs on average. The exact same fact is actually true between men and women as well. Women and mens average IQs are about the same (some studies showed small leads for one or the other, but nothing big or consistent) but men have a far higher instance of genius. By the time you get up into the 140+ IQ range there are orders of magnitude more men than women... I wonder why men tend to be in all the highest positions in the world in greater frequency... Hmmmm I wonder... It's just science. It's not racist, or sexist, it's just reality. We don't have to like it, I wish we were ALL exactly the same... But we're not.

    IQ doesn't measure everything that makes a person good or valuable, but it is in fact the best predictor of future life success that anyone has found. It predicts financial and personal success better than your race, sex, socioeconomic status at birth, etc. It's not everything, but it is important to consider.

    This undermines half of the lefts platform of course, so to allow such knowledge to become common place would perhaps be one of the most damaging things possible to them. I suggest anyone on here who hasn't read up on the subject to do so, it's interesting and will really make you rethink some things...

  • Azathoth!!||

    East Asians don't actually have higher IQs than 'whites' on average

    This skewing of the numbers is accomplished by declaring the Ashkenazim 'non-white'. It's a by-product of the diversity industry.

  • zimmeluke||

    I was one of the students who would've liked to attend but couldn't due to the autidorium being full of protestors. It's a real shame. I'm glad they didn't succeed in shutting it down though. Go blue!

  • Lawn Darts||

    I think it would be kinda hilarious if the people on the other side would also organize ahead of time. They could all show up wearing good headphones that knock out most background noise, and tune to a pre-arranged frequency, where the speaker was broadcasting. Like they do with "Silent Disco" parties. They'd be able to hear no matter what the hecklers were yelling. Add a really good directional mic for the Q&A, and you could pretty much ignore the dicks. The only way they'd be able to interfere is to grab someone's headphones, which would become assault/battery. To address the issue of interested people not getting in, they could also have the headphones outside. It would be just like Decentralized Dance Party; even better if they spin some good dance music before and after. It would really gall the protestors to see the protested having such a good time ignoring them.

  • josh||

    You don't have to expel them, but you should be tougher about this kind of thing. If it happens once, put a letter in their file. Twice, suspend them. If they are still causing havoc, show them the door. The options aren't tolerate them or expel them. There's a middle ground...there's always a middle ground.

  • p3orion||

    That's essentially what Universaity of Wisconsin just implemented: two offenses gets you a suspension, three strikes and you're out.

  • GILMORE™||

    There's a middle ground

    Yes. Everyone is making some version of this same point.

    Robby throws up his hands and says, "there are no good options" when clearly there's a whole spectrum of possible approaches. i can only assume its because (shocker) he's doesn't dare even consider any measures that would be seen as opposing the interests of the protesters.

    imagine a whole-book of this sort of nonsense.

  • XM||

    You don't have to expel them. Campus security and the administrators could escort them out and apply appropriate punishment.

    A guest speaker event isn't any different from a poetry reading or a school stage production. I've attended both (for extra credit, of course). The notion that students disrupt these events unpunished is strange to me.

  • p3orion||

    "...and apply appropriate punishment."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxAiLuPHnHs

  • Incredulous||

    I live in Ann Arbor and was not aware that Mr. Murray was speaking on campus. I would have liked to attend but was working anyway. And it sounds like the little terrorists prevented people like me from listening to Mr. Murray anyway.

    I appreciate the article but Robby, why are you so soft on these little terrorists? Expelling disruptive people IS NOT the nuclear option!! That is ridiculous. It should be the minimum expectation. Arrest and criminal charges for disturbing the peace or trespassing if they resist would be best. Even though the event was shut down, these terrorists prevented the full exercise of free speech in multiple ways. That is a crime and not acceptable anywhere. The police and the university were negligent in their duties. I will write to the President and point this out to him.

    As for Mr. Murray, his critics have it all wrong. Simply citing scientific evidence is not "controversial" or racist. The protesters themselves are anti-science and likely racists as well since they attack Mr. Murray as a "white supremacist" purely based on his race.

  • AndyWingall||

    Ironically, the major thesis of Murray's book is that smart people are happier because they can figure out how to navigate life's hardships. The SJW mob has no ability to do that and sadly, they are encouraged to never truly adapt by the very people who should be preparing them for life. As a result they will continue to be unhappy and most likely not very well off since their degrees will relegate them to social activism or welfare work, not very high paying fields. Thus, the activists themselves have created a vicious circle of stupidity and poverty.

  • DarrenM||

    Thus, the activists themselves have created a vicious circle of stupidity and poverty.

    I'd say it's more of a Mobius loop, but OK.

  • Technomad||

    Expel the mannerless leftist scum, and make damn sure that they can't get into any other college anywhere. Let them rot on minimum wage. Let them work for the rest of their worthless lives on the loading docks at Wal-Mart, or flipping burgers while living ten-to-a-room in someone's garage or basement.

  • ||

    "Teach them to be better", isn't that the school system and parent's job? Statistically both are failing systems in America, so this is what we're left with.

  • ||

    "Teach them to be better", isn't that the school system and parent's job? Statistically both are failing systems in America, so this is what we're left with.

  • fronteirteg||

    NIce

  • Azathoth!!||

    It's so interesting to note how, with the other speech, where people are 'petitioning the government for a redress of grievances' by heckling elected officials, Robby thinks those folks are 'snowflakes' and that they're wrong and they show the hypocrisy of the right.

    But left-wing people shouting down a private citizen and keeping the people from hearing him wasn't a 'total disaster' because this time they didn't send anyone to the hospital.....?

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