Congress held a hearing this week on the subject of free speech on college campuses, a topic we’ve covered extensively over the years.

Among those who offered testimony were conservative writer and radio host Ben Shapiro, and comedian and sometimes TV host Adam Carolla.

Here’s the hearing agenda, via the House of Representatives website:

Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

PURPOSE:

  • To identify the harms of infringing on the right to free speech on college campuses.
  • To explore recommendations on how to encourage and protect First Amendment rights, as well as intellectual and ideological diversity, on college campuses.
  • To understand administrators’ concerns about public safety and controversial speakers on campus, which sometimes lead to unconstitutional restrictions on free speech.

BACKGROUND:

  • In recent years, failures by college administrators and rising intolerance among college students have led to a number of disturbing and, at times, violent anti-speech incidents on college campuses.
  • While students’ constitutionally protected right to free speech is under attack on campuses, these schools receive billions of dollars each year from federal taxpayers.
  • Some of the witnesses will be able to speak firsthand about speech suppression on campus, including having been shouted down, threatened, and disinvited.

Ben Shapiro focused on the process by which social justice warriors use microaggressions and the philosophy of intersectionality to silence others.

Here’s part of Shapiro’s opening statement, via The Daily Wire:

It’s an honor to testify here before you here today. The reason I’m with you today is that I speak on dozens of college campuses every year, so I have first-hand experience with the anti-First Amendment activities that have been taking place on some of our college campuses. I’ve encountered anti-free speech measures, administrative cowardice, even physical violence on campuses ranging from California State University at Los Angeles to University of Wisconsin at Madison which is driving the legislation that Ms. Demings was talking about, to Penn State University to UC Berkeley. And I am not alone.

In order to understand what’s been going on at some of our college campuses, it’s necessary to explore the ideology that provides the impetus for a lot of the protesters who violently obstruct events, pull fire alarms, assault professors and even other students — and the impetus for administrators who all too often humor these protesters. Free speech is under assault because of a three-step argument made by the advocates and justifiers of violence.

The first step is they say that the validity or invalidity of an argument can be judged solely by the ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identity of the person making the argument.

The second step is that they claim those who say otherwise are engaging in what they call verbal violence.

The final step is they conclude that physical violence is sometimes justified in order to stop such verbal violence.

Read the rest here. Watch the video below:

Carolla’s testimony focused on the need for faculty and administrators to resume their role as adults on campus. He stressed that sheltering students from ideas ultimately harms them.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Adam Carolla Goes to Congress, Says Adults Need to Take Back College Campuses

Comedian Adam Carolla was invited to testify before Congress on the state of free speech at American universities and said that it was time for the “adults” to take back control of campus.

Carolla, who has emerged as an active voice for free speech and is working on a new film that rails against “safe spaces,” told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that university faculties are doing a disservice to students by letting them decide what speech is safe for them to hear.

“Children are the future but we are the present” Carolla said. “We’re the adults.”

“We’re talking a lot about kids, and I think they’re just that—kids,” Carolla said. “We are the adults and we need to act like it.”

“These are 18- and 19-year-old kids that grew up dipped in Purell playing soccer games where they never kept score and watching Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, and we’re asking them to be mature,” he said. “We need the adults to start being the adults.”

Watch the video:

It’s heartening to see this issue finally getting the attention it deserves.

Featured image via YouTube.