While Tufts University is in full-scale crisis over its mishandling of the right of religious association, as Robert so excellently chronicled yesterday, mere miles away in Waltham, Massachusetts, several Brandeis University student groups from across the political spectrum have united for the cause of free speech. The Brandeis chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), the Brandeis Democrats, and the Brandeis Libertarian Conservative Union all teamed up to erect a "free speech wall" on campus to call attention to deficiencies in Brandeis’ speech codes.
As Brandeis student newspaper The Justice reports:
The motivation for the wall stems from the release of the Rights and Responsibilities handbook in August, said Nahum Gilliat ’14, YAL vice president, in an interview with the Justice. After attending the Oct. 18 Town Hall meeting on the newly established Special Examiner’s process, Gilliat has advocated for a change to what he believes are vague sexual harassment codes.
The Justice also reports that YAL has circulated a petition stating that "Our school’s policies should prevent people from persistent, unwelcome advances of a sexual or bullying nature, but should not protect people from ideas and expressions that they don’t like."
How refreshing—especially given the still-unfolding debacle at Tufts—to see students of varying political persuasions banding together for the common cause of free speech. These students, at least, recognize that taking away the free speech rights of ideological opponents whose views we may despise is a pyrrhic victory, and that restrictive codes on campus may result in today’s proponents of censorship being censored themselves tomorrow.
Bravo to the students at Brandeis University for taking a stand for free speech! We’re happy to work with them and the Brandeis administration to make Brandeis a true haven of free speech and inquiry. Be sure to read The Justice for more on their efforts.