Free speech for some.
I knew this would come back and bite Syracuse University. Then again, anyone with a brain cell could see this coming from 500 miles away.
The chemistry professor Syracuse disciplined over “China Flu” and “Chinese Communist Party Virus” comments tore apart the school for using the free speech argument with a professor who blamed 9/11 on America.
Last Friday on the day before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Maxwell School professor Jenn Jackson sent a series of controversial tweets. It sparked outrage with the professor receiving threats. Syracuse University officials defended her, saying her comments were protected speech. Despite calls for her removal, SU said that would not happen.
But the university’s response was different one year ago when Professor Jon Zubieta included the words “Wuhan Flu” and “Chinese Communist Party Virus” on a course syllabus. Zubieta told CNYCentral in a statement, “I agree with the Chancellor that Jackson’s statements, while unhinged and malicious, constitute protected speech. Of course, that does not protect the individual from well-deserved criticism. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that the university’s support of freedom of speech is quite dependent on the position of that speech on the wokeness spectrum.”
“Last year’s case shows the difficulty that we have in dealing with all sorts of potentially offensive material. And it shows how each case is really different and unique and it’s really difficult to put together a template or a cookie cutter approach to any of these issues.” – Roy Gutterman – Director, Tully Center for Free Speech, Newhouse School
“They (SU) may have done the wrong thing in the past, but it’s good to see them doing the right thing now,” said Adam Steinbaugh, Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “And doing the right thing now means that in the future it’s much easier and more credible to say look we don’t agree with the speech now, but we defend the right of people to say things that we disagree with or find offensive.”
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