There is a reason we have been focusing on the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speech at Fordham, in which the President of the University, Father Joseph McShane, publicly shamed the College Republican’s for inviting her, then reveled in their apology and request for forgiveness.
President McShane’s statements were, according to Greg Lukianoff, President of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Eduaction (The FIRE), “ the longest, strongest condemnation of a speaker that I’ve ever seen in which a university president also tried to claim that he was defending freedom of speech.”
That quote was from a lengthy article in The Wall Street Journal profiling Lukianoff, How Free Speech Died on Campus:
In his new book, “Unlearning Liberty,” Mr. Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. It was wiped out in the 1990s by administrators, diversity hustlers and liability-management professionals, who were often abetted by professors committed to political agendas.
The proliferation of speech codes, both explicit and implicit, is beyond belief. It goes far beyond the usual political correctness in which support for treating people without regard to race will get you called a racist.
Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website, and Mr. Lukianoff’s book offers an eye-opening sampling. What they share is a view of “harassment” so broad and so removed from its legal definition that, Mr. Lukianoff says, “literally every student on campus is already guilty.”
The problem is not just the proliferation, but selective enforcement, which creates an in terrorem effect whereby students who think about speaking out against liberal orthodoxy choose do not do so. The risk/reward analysis tells non-liberal students to keep quiet, go with the flow, and hopefully escape unscathed.
It really is that bad. Even on campuses you would expect not to be that way, like Catholic universities.
It’s one of the reasons I started College Insurrection, to shed light on the intellectual terror.
The title of the post is from 2:10 of this interview.