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Vassar College Tag

Search for Vassar College in Legal Insurrection's archives, and you'll find scores of posts documenting Vassar students' efforts to shut down speech with which they disagree. This is a longstanding problem on today's college campuses, and it is perhaps most commonly manifested in attacks on Israeli, pro-Israel, and/or Jewish speakers. Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has a particularly sordid history, including posting of an anti-Jewish and anti-American Nazi cartoon, glorifying terrorists, and picketing a course that involved travel to Israel.

A little over two years ago, on October 25, 2017, I gave a speech about free speech and hate speech at Vassar College. It was, as I have described many times, an 'out-of-body' experience because of false claims spread about me and my appearance by students, including student government. From my post, Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech:

I was honored and humbled to be present at the White House last week to witness President Trump sign an executive order designed to protect free speech in higher education. Public colleges and universities must now stop trampling upon students’ First Amendment rights, or risk federal cuts to their research dollars. I hope the order goes a long way in securing students’ freedom of expression.

The demonization and delegitimization of Israel and bigotry directed toward Jewish faculty, staff, and students is increasing at dramatic rates on university and college campuses. In these supposedly intellectual spaces, virulently anti-Israel “scholars” and student-activists connected to, and supportive of, the global BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement regularly:

Brian Leiter's Law School Reports website, run by U. Chicago law professor Brian Leiter, isn't a high traffic site, but it does have a following among people interested in the law professor profession. So it is not surprising that some Legal Insurrection readers also read Leiter's website. Several of those readers contacted me today about a guest column by USC Professor of Law and Accounting Michael Simkovic about me and other conservative law professors. I don't know who Simkovic is and never heard of him before.

An excellent Open Letter to the President of the Vassar College from a Vassar alumnus, published in the student newspaper, is a must read as to what happened when I spoke at Vassar on "hate speech" and free speech. President Elizabeth Bradley's response is here. That letter exchange was the subject of my post, Alum to Vassar College President: “You owe Professor Jacobson a public apology”, which has even more detailed background. That letter exchange also caused me to go back and look at a letter from the Executive Board of the Vassar Student Association (the student government) to Vassar's President, demanding my appearance be cancelled. After lodging a series of accusations against me, the VSA letter concluded:

Here at LI, we've covered the increasing, alarming, and widespread leftist intolerance for free speech in this country.  The radical left has decided and worked diligently to spread the dangerous notion that any ideas they deem offensive or objectionable should not be expressed, and if they are, there is the growing sense that violence should be used to silence anyone speaking words with which they disagree. What we haven't seen as often is what everyone else feels about the far left's increasingly fascistic approach to silencing any but their own speech.  It turns out that Americans are generally pretty fed up with it, and that there is a growing sense that we cannot express our true thoughts or views.

Healing to Action is the Vassar College student group which organized the incitement against me by making false claims that the campus was in danger by my lecture on "hate speech" and free speech. The fabricated claims included that I was posting event information on multiple White Nationalist websites in order to bring people to campus to target minorities, LGBT and Jewish students. The details of those false claims are documented in these posts:

I'm still trying to get my mind around the Vassar College campus reaction to my planned lecture on "hate speech" and free speech, which I wrote about in Safe Spaces and Safety Teams at Vassar College for My Lecture on Free Speech. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff were whipped into a frenzy by factually false accusations against me and regarding my appearance. There were many false accusations. In this post, I'll address just one aspect, that I supposedly posed a threat to campus safety.

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.
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