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Giving Compass' Take:
· Writing for the In Defense Of Liberty Blog, Jonathan Butcher explains that colleges should be preparing students for their future and provide each with a platform to demonstrate their own beliefs so long as they do not interfere with another student's right to do the same.
· Why has free speech on college campuses become such a problem? How have colleges limited students' rights to free speech? Why have they done so?
It’s a child’s game to pretend that when you close your eyes, other people can’t see you. It’s also foolish to think that if you ignore something you don’t like, it’s not really there.
Yet writers from the nonprofit PEN America try to ignore the challenges—threats, even—to First Amendment rights and physical safety posed by violent mobs, speaker shoutdowns, and other forms of censorship on college campuses today. By doing so, they underestimate the damage done to postsecondary education and disregard the poison injected into civil society when these students graduate.
In the Washington Post, PEN researchers said new state proposals to protect free speech on campus “dampen [students’ right to protest] in troubling ways.” However, in their seemingly innocent list of campus demonstrations such as sit-ins and walkouts, PEN fails to include the student who committed physical assault when faced with ideas with which she disagreed; violent mob activity; and chaos over a speech-related issue that drove professors into hiding at a progressive public college in Washington state. Or the college presidents who were chased off a stage. Or the state lawmakers who were shouted down on campus. These are not innocuous examples of picketing on a sidewalk. These behaviors put students, faculty, and any number of invited guests including elected officials at risk of injury, along with violating their expressive rights.
Read the full article about free speech on college campuses by Jonathan Butcher at In Defense Of Liberty.