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Kaminer: Students Seeking Censorship Might ‘Feel Right at Home in North Korea’

By December 23, 2014

When it comes to tolerance for critical ideas, attorney, author, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer argues that today’s college students are in the same league as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Writing for Cognoscenti, Kaminer takes stock of a depressing number of recent requests for campus censorship from students and draws a parallel with the North Korean Supreme Leader’s notoriously thin-skinned approach to expression he doesn’t like. Surveying the recent debacle at the University of Iowa, Kaminer writes:

As these controversies (and many others) demonstrate, students who feel entitled to silence language or art and discussions of ideas they don’t like are enabled by school officials who share or pander to student hostility to free speech. These days, many administrators, including college presidents, demonstrate less courage or concern for free expression than Sony’s corporate chieftains.

At least Sony was confronting a genuine threat, which had already damaged its bottom line and undermined the safety and privacy of its employees. College and university administrators have nothing to fear but the anger and hurt feelings of students who are intolerant and scared of offending ideas.

Kaminer asks: “How would fearful, easily offended students react to a satire like ‘The Interview’ involving their communities?“ Not well, if FIRE’s case archives have any predictive value.

Check out the rest of Kaminer’s piece here.