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Speaking at Vassar on October 25: An Examination of Hate Speech And Free Speech on College Campuses

Speaking at Vassar on October 25: An Examination of Hate Speech And Free Speech on College Campuses

What’s the problem with shout-downs, shut-downs, disruptions and silencing of speech.

We frequently cover issues related to free speech on campus, including shut-downs, shout-downs, disruptions, threats and violence.

There is a long history to this problem, and it first showed itself in attacks on Israeli, pro-Israel and Jewish speakers, as I documented in With campus shout downs, first they came for the Jews and Israel.

In recent years the targets expanded to conservatives, Republicans, and anyone deemed to offend “social justice” and progressive sensitivities. In the age of Trump, the focus on shutting down campus speakers and speech is through the anti-fascist “Antifa” movement and sympathizers.

The neo-Nazi/Klan torchlight rally at U. Virginia in Charlottesville, and the subsequent riots and murder in the town later that weekend, have crystallized the issue of whose speech should be banned on campus.

Vassar, October 25, 7 p.m.

As long-time readers may recall, I have a history at Vassar, having spoken there in May 2014 on the issue of the anti-Israel boycott at Vassar and academic freedom. My appearance in May 2014 generated some controversy, but ended up going quite well.

I’m going to address the issue of free speech on campus at Vassar College on October 25, at 7 p.m. Here’s the description:

Should “hate speech” be banned at Vassar, particularly after Charlottesville? Who decides what “hate speech” is, and what does the law say about the right of people to express views others find offensive? Cornell Law School Clinical Professor of Law William A. Jacobson, Esq., will argue in favor of free speech on campuses, with legal and historical perspective on the role the First Amendment has played. There will be time for Q&A.

The event is co-sponsored by the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union, Students for Liberty, and the Leadership institute. The Vassar Student Association also provided support for the event.

The event is open to the public. So if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by. I love that.

NOTE: The speech title was changed from “Hate Speech” is still Free Speech, even after Charlottesville because VCLU originally got the event approved as An Examination of Hate Speech And Free Speech on College Campuses.



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G. de La Hoya | October 17, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Hopefully, one of these days I can be in your neighborhood and we might cross paths 🙂
Good luck.

@ G de La Hoya- be prepared if u ever come to the Ithaca area to visit the professor, it’s a smaller, east coast version of San Francisco. Around the area it’s referred to as “ten square miles surrounded by reality”. On the bright side there are a ton waterfalls to go see and beautiful gorges to hike in the area.

DINORightMarie | October 18, 2017 at 12:00 am

I think the first shout-down on a campus I ever saw (online of course) was of David Horowitz, back in 2009.

I am sure there were may before (against him and others), but his situation was so offensive at the time, all because he was speaking out against the left and Islamic terrorism–and I knew that it was going to get worse, because the university security and authorities did NOTHING.

DINORightMarie | October 18, 2017 at 12:04 am

More on the subject from NRO

I hope your trip to Vassar goes well–that they listen, debate with civility, and that your message on free speech, that they so desperately need, will be heard and impress them for years to come.

Hope it goes very well, Prof.

Good luck Professor.

regulus arcturus | October 18, 2017 at 10:21 am

Give ‘em hell Professor Jacobson.

Hopefully, this visit to my alma mater will be as successful as your prior one.

Unfortunately, Vassar is not known for its acceptance of right-leaning views and expression of those views. It is interesting to note that VSA is sponsoring your visit, since they have a history of hostile actions towards on and off campus speakers and outlets for conservative and libertarian views.

I was a witness and participant in one such action against conservatives, where VSA defunded the Vassar Spectator, where I wrote at the time.

Before that action, and prior to my arrival, Bill Buckley was invited to speak on campus (his wife Pat was a Vassar alum). During his speech, multiple disruptions occurred, culminating in liberal protestors shutting off the power in Josselyn Hall, where Buckley was speaking.

Buckley shot back with one of his trademark off-the-cuff retorts – “Now they [liberals] have us right where they want us: in the dark.”

Not sure you can work this in, but you might want to include another Vassar alum’s ignorant and possibly offensive speech about Harvey Weinstein – Meryl Streep.

Eager to hear how it goes.