College Campuses Outlawing Dissent

November 17, 2015

By Staff at Tyler Morning Telegraph 

The left is becoming ever more authoritarian – at least on certain topics. Free speech is no longer sacrosanct to many progressives, as colleges cave in to young protesters and opposing arguments are silenced, not countered.

One of those young progressives has written in the U.K. Guardian that political correctness is, in fact, an expansion of free speech.

“Framing free speech and political correctness as opposing forces is a false dichotomy intended to derail uncomfortable but necessary conversations, a smokescreen ginned up by the ethically lazy. The fact is, political correctness doesn’t hinder free speech – it expands it. But for marginalized groups, rather than the status quo,” claims Lindy West, a Seattle writer.

If only that was so. But it’s not. Let’s look at some examples of how political correctness does, in fact, seek to silence any dissent – with violence, if that’s deemed necessary.

The latest example comes from the University of Missouri, which has been roiled with purported racist incidents and a vociferous response from students.

“A troubling administrative response to recent student protests at the University of Missouri was issued on Tuesday, with the University of Missouri Police Department asking ‘individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech’ to call the police immediately and photograph the individuals involved, allowing the university to ‘take disciplinary action’ against offending students,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reported last week.

Now, students who are actually threatened should call police. But that’s not what university officials are saying. They’re telling anyone who hears “hurtful” speech to call 911.

That’s a bad precedent, and it gives students a terrible power – the ability to call the cops on anyone whose views are not to their liking.

FIRE points out that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on these kind of speech-chilling campus rules, in a 1973 case that involved the University of Missouri itself.

In Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, the Court ruled that “the mere dissemination of ideas – no matter how offensive to good taste – on a state university campus may not be shut off in the name alone of ‘conventions of decency.’”

That ruling came at a time when the campus was roiled by students demanding the opposite. They wanted to be free to distribute anti-establishment literature – and ideas. Now, students and faculty want to silence dissenting opinions and uncomfortable words.

And it’s not just speech; it’s also freedom of the press under attack at Mizzou.

Assistant Professor of Communications Melissa Click (who should know better) threatened actual violence in an effort to chase away a student journalist covering an event. She asked for “muscle” because he wouldn’t leave a public event. (She later apologized.)

Yet a student government vice president at the school made her views on the First Amendment clear: “I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here.”

This is a very troubling view.

Schools: University of Missouri – Columbia Cases: University of Missouri: Policing of “Hurtful” Speech