“The students who smeared me got a safe space complete with coloring books and markers.”
I have an Op-Ed today at USA Today on the campaign by student activists at Vassar College to shut down my lecture on “hate speech” and free speech, based on fabricated claims that my appearance posed a danger to student safety.
You can read these two posts for background:
- Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech
- Actual Malice at Vassar College
The students behind the campaign are explicitly anti-free speech. They claim there is no individual right to free speech, only a collective right to be free from harmful speech, as I documented in my post, Vassar activists: Free Speech rights invalid “in our white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist society”.
In addition to rejecting the individual protections under the Bill of Rights, the activists have created a sideshow claiming that a change in the name of the speech was the problem. It wasn’t, as I wrote at the Cornell Sun, Setting the record straight on the attempt to silence me at Vassar.
I have an Op-Ed today at USA Today about my Vassar experience, and the implications for freedom of speech on campuses, My pro-free speech views made me the target of a smear campaign at Vassar College.
Here is an excerpt, but of course, head over to the Op-Ed for the full discussion, and feel free to tweet and share on Facebook:
… I’m not a household name. And I’m not particularly controversial, although I do stick out at Cornell as one of only a small number of openly politically conservative faculty members.
So despite my campus speeches and conservative politics, I never really thought the anti-free speech mob would come for me. Until they did, at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y….
Because I committed to discussing free speech and the constitutional protection of even hateful speech, I was made the object of hate by student activists who whipped the campus into a frenzy.
Why would any right-of-center student, faculty member or guest speaker want to endure what I had to go through? For that matter, why would any liberal defender of free speech want to undergo such a smear campaign?
And isn’t that the point? While I was permitted to speak, the message was sent that support for the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is not welcome. To get to speak on these sensitive yet critical topics means you have to run the gauntlet of anti-free speech progressives.
Here is what the student activists didn’t want to happen on campus:
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