Last week, a student group at Temple University was put on probation for bringing FIRE President Greg Lukianoff to speak on campus. The group, Temple University Purpose, was notified of its probation on the morning of Greg’s speech. The university official responsible for this decision justified it by deciding that Greg would need a security officer and that therefore the group did not fill out the appropriate paperwork.
In The Huffington Post this morning, Greg followed up on his speech and wrote about just how controversial and unruly it really was. As he says:
But the grandiosity that the Temple administration had imparted to me was disappointingly unwarranted. The room in which I was speaking was large with a beautiful view of northern Philly in the spring, but the students didn’t show up to protest. Indeed, I ended up convening a discussion group with the eight or so students who were there. The attendance was far smaller than I am used to (I speak on campuses on a regular basis), but it contributed to an atmosphere that was quite pleasant, if a bit quiet.
The students asked thoughtful questions, and as the conversation continued the Philly police officer, who seemed bored out of his mind guarding the door, came in and sat down and listened to the speech. He later told me he really enjoyed it. Alas, the event was downright serene, not the glamorous calamity Temple had apparently envisioned.
Greg also discusses Temple’s possible motivations for putting the group on probation:
As I wrote in my previous post, I sincerely doubt that the decision to pick on this student group and a speech by me was coincidental. Temple University Purpose has a knack for stirring up controversy, having brought to campus both Dutch politician Geert Wilders and notable Iranian dissidents (here’s some video). But even if it was just bureaucratic overreach, it is an object lesson on why it is such a problem that campus bureaucracies have been mushrooming over the past two decades, bringing with them many of the ridiculous cases I have to fight on a daily basis.
You can read Greg’s full article on his speech here.