“The First Amendment is about opinions that you passionately disagree with and the right of others to express them.”
Respecting free speech has been an ongoing issue on college campuses for years now but reached a boiling point in 2017. So far this year, there was a riot at Berkeley over a planned speech by Milo Yiannopoulos. Berkeley also had to cancel a speech by Ann Coulter over threats of violence.
And then there’s Evergreen State College.
Those are just a few of the high profile examples.
The situation is so serious that the Senate held a hearing on the subject. CNN reports:
Senate judiciary committee hearing focuses on campus free speech
Two college students warned of increasingly stifled speech on college campuses at a Senate judiciary committee hearing Tuesday.
Zachary Wood, a rising senior at Williams College, and Isaac Smith, a student at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, appeared before the committee at a hearing titled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses.”
As the president of “Uncomfortable Learning,” Wood faced backlash for his student organization inviting controversial speakers to campus, like conservative commentator John Derbyshire. According to Wood’s testimony, Derbyshire’s invitation was canceled after significant outcry from Williams students and faculty over Derbyshire’s inflammatory comments about race.
“In my time at Williams, I cannot name a single conservative speaker that has been brought to campus by the administration,” said Wood, who himself identifies as a liberal Democrat.
Smith echoed Wood’s sentiment in his own testimony, sharing how he sued Ohio University for penalizing his student group over allegedly offensive T-shirts, which violated OU’s code of conduct at the time.
The person who really stood out during the hearing was Senator Ted Cruz. He was in his element and his understanding of the importance of the issue came through perfectly.
Chris Pandolfo of Conservative Review rounded up some of Cruz’s best lines:
Ted Cruz wallops anti-speech college crybullies
In his opening statement during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses,” Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered a robust defense of free speech, criticizing colleges and universities that have “quietly rolled over” to intolerant and bullying liberal student bodies.
“If universities become homogenizing institutions that are focused on inculcating and indoctrinating rather than challenging, we will lose what makes universities great,” Cruz said. “The First Amendment is about opinions that you passionately disagree with and the right of others to express them.”
“College administrators and faculties have become complicit in functioning essentially as speech police – deciding what speech is permissible and what speech isn’t,” Cruz said. “You see violent protests … enacting effectively a heckler’s veto where violent thugs come in and say ‘this particular speaker, I disagree with what he or she has to say. And therefore, I will threaten physical violence if the speech is allowed to happen.”…
“What an indictment of our university system,” Cruz declared. “If ideas are strong, if ideas are right, you don’t need to muzzle the opposition. You should welcome the opposition. When you see college faculties and administrators being complicit or active players in silencing those with opposing views, what they are saying is they are afraid.”
“They are afraid that their ideas cannot stand the dialectic, cannot stand opposition, cannot stand facts or reasoning, or anything on the other side. And it is only through force and power that their ideas can be accepted.”
Watch Cruz in the video below:
Bravo, Senator. We need more like you in Washington, DC to defend our basic but sacred rights.
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