“The war in the Middle East is laying bare the difficulties American universities are confronting in navigating free expression.”
Free speech wasn’t a concern when conservatives were being shouted down on campus, but now that ‘pro-Palestinian’ voices might be silenced, this is a very important issue.
From the NY Times, via Yahoo News:
Campus Crackdowns Have Chilling Effect on Pro-Palestinian Speech
At the University of Pennsylvania, approval for the screening of a documentary critical of Israel was denied.
At Brandeis University — which expressed a public commitment to free speech — a pro-Palestinian student group was barred for statements made by its national chapter.
At the University of Vermont, a Palestinian poet was set to deliver a talk, but the school pulled the meeting space after students complained he was antisemitic.
There are growing signs that colleges are starting to clamp down on pro-Palestinian protests and events on campus, as the institutions face pressure from donors, alumni and politicians, who are furious over what they say is an antisemitic campaign against Jews.
Some schools have simply canceled events or delayed them. A handful of schools have shut down student groups and disciplined students. Some students have simply stopped participating in protests, concerned for their own safety, spooked by alumni who have started do-not-hire lists and outside groups that have doxxed students.
The war in the Middle East is laying bare the difficulties American universities are confronting in navigating free expression. Already under attack in recent years from conservatives for closing off debate on other topics, university leaders are now struggling to balance open expression with fears and complaints from some Jewish students that the language of pro-Palestinian protest calls for violence against them.
As video of some protests went viral, with some devolving into physical altercations, university officials have been under more and more pressure to find a way to contain the demonstrations.
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