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Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech

Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech

Malicious smear campaign against me sends campus into a frenzy: “Library will provide coloring books, zine kits, markers, construction paper etc. “

On October 25, 2017, I gave a speech at Vassar College on “An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech on College Campuses.” The main sponsor was the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union, which also sponsored my 2014 speech at Vassar. Other sponsors were Students for Liberty and the Leadership Institute.

The lecture originally was advertised as “‘Hate Speech’ is Still Free Speech, Even After Charlottesville.” The name was changed because the sponsoring student group filed for funding under another title, so we were asked to use that approved title.

Regardless of title, the planned discussion of hate speech sent a portion of the campus into a vicious smear campaign against me.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff on campus were whipped into a frenzy by false and malicious accusations, originating it appears with a student group Healing 2 Action, but also spread by the Vassar Student Association. In addition to maligning me personally, accusations were spread falsely claiming White Nationalist supporters might come to campus to target students of color, LGBT students, Jewish students and others.

VSA originally was one of the co-sponsors, and agreed to pay part of my fee (which I still expect it to pay). But during the hysteria, the Executive Board of the VSA unsuccessfully requested that Vassar’s President, Elizabeth Bradley, cancel my appearance and find a way to breach its contract, based on the accusations (bold and italics in original).

…. We strongly urge you, on account of students undergoing serious and real pain, to take our words and ideas seriously, and work towards breaching the contract, ultimately preventing him from coming to campus on Wednesday. On account of the timeframe under which we are operating, we urge the College to undertake speedy and urgent action, as outlined in the beginning of this communication, for the wellbeing of our community. We also urge you to denounce the sentiments and ideologies underlying these types of events, instrumentalizing the language of“free speech” to allow a platform for hate .

We urge you to think critically about these things. Rather than just engaging the abstract, we urge you to understand how these ideas have physical implications for the safety and well-being of real students on this campus . Ideas are not merely esoteric concepts; they have historically (and presently) been used to silence and justify extreme violence. William Jacobson’s rhetoric and worldview is an illustrative example of where we locate this violence; this is not “free speech.” This is sanctioned violence hiding behind the veneer of liberalism.

The VSA Executive Board

I may have more on that smear campaign — which appears to be ongoing — and who was behind, it in a later post.

Healing 2 Action organized a series of steps in advance of my appearance that were other-worldly.

Here was Healing 2 Actions plan for the day of my appearance:

TODAY the lecture formerly titled “Hate Speech is Still Free Speech Even After Charlottesville,” will take place in Rocky 300 at 7pm.

There will be many different ways to heal. Above all, we want to prioritize SAFETY.

H2A does not endorse attendance of this event, but for those who do choose to attend it is essential that safety is prioritized and attendees be mindful of engaging with the speaker in a way that does not put Black, brown, Jewish, queer and trans bodies at risk.

Healing to Action does not endorse violent acts of protest.

[***-***-****}]: Includes non-emergency security, counselor on call, and student van drivers if you need to get off campus
[***-***-****}]: Emergency — includes EMS

1. Rocky 304 will function as a safety room if you choose to leave the lecture. There will be a designated student in the room both during and after the lecture.
2. Sit with people who you feel comfortable around.
3. Sit starting from the back seats on either side of the room, filling towards the front without leaving empty seats. This will concentrate non-students towards the front/center and allow students access to the exits.
4. White nationalists are manipulative. While it’s normal to have an emotional response, don’t let yourself be baited; they want to incite “fragile liberals.”
5. Wear all black for solidarity.
6. Know that if you choose to attend, there is the possibility of those in the audience filming and taking photograph
7. If you’re going into the space and you have privilege (i.e. white people), you have a responsibility to look out for and support those who are targets of violence, (i.e. Black, brown, Jewish, queer and trans folk) since Jacobson is not trying to have a dialogue but instead is intentionally using loaded language to rile up students.

6:30 pm: Lobby: Join us for food & button-making, and each other’s company.
Atrium: Devoted to Programming/Collaborative Art
Library will provide coloring books, zine kits, markers, construction paper etc. Please bring supplies, if you have them.
Space for testimonials/oral art to be shared.
Dialogue led by staff, faculty, and admin.
7:00pm: Meditation Circle by Office of Religious Student Life in Quiet Room (3rd Floor)

Safe(r) spaces will be occupied by designated Vassar students with glowsticks. Please come to any of these spaces or people if you feel unsafe.
Stationed at: Library, Strong 1st floor, Raymond 1st floor, ALANA Center, North Lot area, Quad, Bayit, Rocky 304.

Drink water. Sleep 7-9 hours. Eat when you’re hungry. Shower. Remember to take your medicine if you need it. Your health comes before deadlines! Reach out to people to get what you need.

Take self-care moments to recenter yourself. If it helps, breathe for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat until calm(er).

**We are acting to protect marginalized identities put in the most danger. This includes Jewish people, Black and Brown people, Queer and Trans folk.**

That a significant portion (but not majority) of the Vassar community reacted this way to a right-of-center speaker like me, who had spoken at Vassar previously, truly took me by surprise. I suspect there is something else going on here, but what it is remains to be seen.

Despite all the agitation and hysteria, the event went off without complication. Vassar provided excellent security both for me personally and for the event venue.

The turnout was excellent, approximately 200 students in the room (full capacity) plus overflow in the hallway. The students who attended, even the ones who showed up wearing black in protest, listened intently. I think they were expecting someone and something very different based on the campus hysteria. I addressed the hysteria in my lecture.

After my lecture, we had over an hour-long question and answer session, and almost all the students stayed to the very end. The questions were thoughtful and in many instances quite challenging, the students respectful, and I think we all learned something.

I wish the lecture had not been tarnished by the malicious campus campaign against me.

I hope the student body now realizes it was manipulated by those fanning the flames, and that those people do not have the students’ best interests in mind.

Here’s the lecture part of the event. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to transcribe it. I’ll also try to add the Q&A video later.

(added) Here is the Q&A:


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OleDirtyBarrister | October 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Facts and truth are the new “hate speech” because they conflict with the artificial world liberals have constructed and substituted for reality.

Wow ! It appears that Vassar is a young adult day care center instead of a college.

    The ongoing campaign to infantilize college students is repugnant and has a nefarious purpose. Young adults who see themselves as little more than toddlers in need of constant coddling and a pervasive atmosphere of “safety” are extremely easy to control. Send them off to the playroom to blow bubbles and make models of unicorns out of Play-Doh, and the radical leftist adults can get on with their plan for America.

    lgbmiel in reply to olafauer. | October 27, 2017 at 11:41 am

    When reading the article I couldn’t be sure if Prof Jacobson was describing his talk at a college or a toddler daycare center.!

Prof….I will send cash for you to open a “even more safer space” for them including diapers, pacifiers, lullaby music, blankets and every other over the top prop to mock them.

Sounds like a cracking success…!!!

Splendid, Prof.

Professor, you really should be ashamed of yourself ginning up Antisemitism!

nordic_prince | October 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I hope progressives keep on pushing the “hate” thing to the breaking point. Then it will lose its power, much like the term “racism” has ceased to be a potent accusation.

These fools don’t realize the more they cry about X, the less normal people will take them seriously, and just yawn or roll their eyes whenever they hear these histrionics.

I learned that lesson a long time ago when I was doing temp work at a printing facility. It seemed like nearly every job got labeled “urgent,” which of course had the practical implication that NOTHING was urgent.

Same thing with labeling every kid a “special snowflake.” If everyone is “special,” then no one is, really.

If everything is “racist,” then nothing is really racist.

If everything is “hate speech,” then nothing is.

If every sexual interaction is “rape,” then no sexual interaction is.

Of course, this robs people of the ability to recognize true urgency, true specialness, true racism, true hate, true rape when they encounter it.

I guess it’s nice they were concerned about the threat Prof. Jacobson’s speech posed, especially to Jewish students.

    Ragspierre in reply to malclave. | October 26, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I did note their list was very UN-inclusive. No mention of Christian, Buddist, Satanists or Muslim students. They’re just haters, those snowflakes…

nordic_prince | October 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Professor, you have an Eastern accent! 😉

“TODAY the lecture formerly titled ‘Hate Speech is Still Free Speech Even After Charlottesville,’ will take place in Rocky 300 at 7pm.”

Not shown is Jacobson strutting onto the stage to triggering movie-theme music.

Release the full, unedited video!

Paul In Sweden | October 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

It sounded to me that the warning notices were more geared towards a secure psychiatric facility and not a place where functional people are permitted to move about unsupervised.


I can only imagine what the faculty thinks of the state of today’s campus. What percent laugh/cry/rant and of those that rant, what are they ranting about?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Paul In Sweden. | October 26, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Or towards a kindergarten class after they are accidently shown a scary movie.

    “Drink water. Sleep 7-9 hours. Eat when you’re hungry. Shower. Remember to take your medicine if you need it. Your health comes before deadlines! Reach out to people to get what you need.”

    Seriously if you need to hear this then the last thing you should be is in college.

      It is easy to forget about basic needs with all those crayons and all that construction paper to keep oneself occupied. Finger painting might’ve led to severe health crisis.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to mrzee. | October 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Yea, if they are gonna have these safe spaces they should really have potty breaks for the poor unfortunate souls.

“Ideas are not merely esoteric concepts; they have historically (and presently) been used to silence and justify extreme violence.”

They definitely know that, as they are using the idea that this is harmful to silence you, and this same idea animates Antifa.

It’s pure projection. SJWs *always* project.

” … they want to incite ‘fragile liberals.’”

Scare quotes can be very scary. Drink water. Eat food. Breath oxygen. Pee urine. Poop. Wipe. Sleep 7-9 hours. Eat when you’re hungry. Shower. Poop. Remember to take your medicine if you need it. Your health comes before deadlines! Reach out to people to get what you need. Steal if you must. Your health comes before death!

Take self-care moments to recenter yourself. If it helps, breathe for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. Pat your head 5 times while simultaneously rubbing your belly 5 times. Say “Toy Boat” 5 times as fast as you can. Repeat until calm(er).

Remember to take your medicine.
Remember to take your medicine.
Remember to take your medicine.
Remember to take your medicine.
Remember to take your medicine.

“Avoidance Behavior” is the core of these groups’ coping mechanism. That they can turn to violence to avoid confronting uncomfortable issues shows how severe their dysfunction is. Their “therapeutic” actions of safe spaces, cuddly dolls etc only exacerbate their condition. Michael Savage is correct that progressivism is a mental health issue.

Good work, Professor! It’s actually a little encouraging that, after all that agitation and slander, students apparently listened to you and asked questions rather than just screaming.

casualobserver | October 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The modern progressive students really buy into symbolism. To me that partly explains their monotonous use of phrases and epithets and lack of original thought. But I still would be shocked if many of these coddled kids participate in these safe space lollipop sessions. Do many?

regulus arcturus | October 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Glad it went well, Prof. Jacobson. A few observations from an alum –

I am unsurprised by VSA’s actions – from my previous comments, VSA has an established history of hostility towards views with which they disagree, which is anything to the right of Marx. Vassar student government is an arm of the leftmost organizations on campus. Do not be surprised if they break the payment contract.

This was great –

We urge you to think critically about these things. Rather than just engaging the abstract, we urge you to understand how these ideas have physical implications for the safety and well-being of real students on this campus .

Oh, the irony. These people have no self-awareness.

[Sidenote: This isolated quote reads like a Mafia threat, without the Sicilian flair.]

In their effort to create and enforce an obnoxiously presumptuous pseudointellectual monoculture, Vassar liberals, and regressive liberals at large, have demonstrated their complete intolerance for differing views of any stripe. This was true during my stay, when I predicted the extensive social and political fracturing of academia and nearly every aspect of life, and is much worse now, especially in academia, Vassar included.

I’m also unsurprised at the backlash and personal vitriol directed at you – I saw them do the same thing to then NY Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who raised such rancor that he was forced to resign his honorary speaking residence chair.

Lastly, I’m ashamed that the unintentionally hilarious, stupefying H2A “Action Plan” is a product of my school. I apologize deeply for that. Needless to say, I won’t be sending any donations anytime soon.

Great lecture and insights.

It should be required of Vassar students to be psychologically analyzed for snowflake syndrome prior to admission as snowflakes are unable to cope in the adult world. Those failing analysis will be refused admission until they grow up.

5. Wear all black for solidarity.

I should think wearing diapers would be a more appropriate display of solidarity.

Symbolic, functional, and hard to misinterpret.

ufo destroyers | October 26, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Do any of these “young skull of mush” plan on getting a real world degree in business or a STEM field. I’m sure that when I was in college in the late 80s-early 90s there were these types of students around. But with me wanting to be a capitalist pig in the accounting world, I had no time for this faux outrage over everything.

Can you home school college?

This is truly terrifying in that these nutcases will our “leaders” in 20 years or so. So when Russia says “boo” they’ll go hide under their desks?

Possible solution: require 2 years military service after high school like Israel. They would enter college afterward as an adult and our future leaders wouldn’t be chicken-s**ts.

“does not put Black, brown, Jewish, queer and trans bodies at risk.”

These idiots are mentally ill! How can talking put people at risk and why special treatment for these groups?

What a change in just a few decades.

College students of 1900s: Expected to understand the classics in the original Greek.

College students of 2000s: Expected to be able to color inside the lines. Maybe. If they want to.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Good speech regarding the legal aspects of free speech. I’m glad you pointed out that free speech was absolutely necessary to get so much of the liberty we take for granted.

Slavery never would have been outlawed in any state prior to the Civil War had it not been for the free speech of abolitionists. Women would not have gotten the right to vote without suffragettes. And societal attitudes about “rights” for minorities, animals, homosexuals and environmental protection only came about because free speech facilitated vigorous public debate and persuaded people to change their values.

Next time urge them to read John Stewart Mill’s pamphlet “On Liberty”.

>> But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. <<

I don’t believe for a second that the people spreading lies about the professor do not understand that his words don’t actually pose any threat – especially not a physical one. (He might, indeed, threaten the ignorance of so many of the student body).

Given that they know there is no threat, their only possible purpose for ginning up such a silly overreaction must be to condition the students to reflexively hate those who disagree and run to the liars for help.

It’s a vile game and I’m disappointed that so few of the students seem to see through it.

Laugh at them.

It works great.

I love it when an insufferable bunch of delicate snowflakes proves your point for you.

Carry on, Professor!

These are no longer institutions of “higher” learning. Since they are all subsidized by the government, government worship is the only “learning” to be had. Cultural Marxism is their aim and they seem to be succeeding!

Professor, people like you need to continue the good fight by delivering more and more of these lectures. Already cracks have appeared where the Left and colleges have been shamed into letting you and other conservatives speak and in every case the same pattern is followed: A) A build up before the speech to warn students of the horrific things that the speaker is going to say, B) a presentation that is nothing like what the Left has advertised and where the students are intrigued by the non-threatening and nonviolent content, and C) the opening of the eyes of the students to realize that the Left has lied to them time and again starting with their fear tactics concerning the lecture.
What we are watching today are shaking this country to the core as one truth bomb after another are being exploded across this nation. Every day it seems we discover how Obama violated the Constitution, lied to the country, or created some action that is against what almost everyone wanted; almost daily we are hearing more sins of the DNC as they paid for the “Trump dossier”, skewed the primaries to Clinton, and so forth; every day now we hear of Hillary Clinton and how the sins she committed that we thought we knew about was only the tip of the iceberg; routinely we hear of how agencies like the DOJ, FBI, IRS, and others routinely lied to the American public and performed illegal acts in an effort to shore up the Democrats in office; and every day we hear of more and more of other supposed Leftist leaders, whether they are Hollywood actors/producers, renown journalists, or others, who railed against misogynists while being one themselves. The country, and college students especially are seeing these truth bombs and are now discovering how most everything told by the Left is a lie fabricated to gain their support through fear. The Left is eating itself alive and dying. Efforts like yours helps this process. Please keep up the good work.

Prof., you should put the Q&A video up as it’s own post. More people will see it!

Vassar has a student newsletter at that has an article about Prof. Jacobson’s talk- ”Banning hate speech ultimately…” where the writer- Andrew Solender writes that ”William A.Jacobson is, in fact, a white supremacist…”. Anyone can leave a comment on that student website. Solender’s article clearly libels W. A. Jacobson as a white supremacist and also states where the slander originated from. Solender presents no proof of this at all. I hope someone who is more eloquent than I am goes to that website and leaves a strong comment.

    Ragspierre in reply to Windi. | October 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    The first action that I would like to address is the misrepresentation of facts. For this, I would like to clarify the truth of a few claims H2A made about the event for the sake of upholding truth. Firstly, while Professor Jacobson is a conservative and runs a conservative publication called “Legal Insurrection,” it was alleged by some that he is actually a white supremacist. There is no evidence to support this fact, and while some may argue that conservative and white supremacist are one and the same, Jacobson, to my knowledge, has not been accused by anybody besides H2A of harboring racist or white supremacist opinions.

    Furthermore, some people alleged that news of the event was shared on white supremacist and neo-Nazi websites and publications. My research found that the news was shared on four sites: Legal Insurrection,, LongRoom. com and VCLU’s own newspaper, Tertium Quids. While some of these sites lean right, none could reasonably be considered white nationalist in the way that the Daily Stormer or the KKK’s website can. The statement that the event has been shared on white nationalist websites is misleading.

    Lastly, there is no evidence that I could find to support H2A’s claim that members of national hate groups are likely to come to this event as they did in Charlottesville. The president of VCLU told me that they know of “five people” who are attending and who shall remain confidential.. Besides that, there is no evidence of attendees from the outside community, and claims of any are little more than speculation branching off of the earlier claim that news of the event was shared on white nationalist websites.

    Pretty gutsy. The same author, eating his errors. You have to admire that rare event.