Peter Wood on ‘Affirmative Action Bake Sales’

By December 8, 2010

National Association of Scholars President Peter Wood discusses "affirmative action bake sales," names several schools that have tried to censor them over the years in violation of students’ freedom of speech (such as at University of California, Irvine and Bucknell), and presents his view of the larger context that too often leads administrators to try to censor and punish such political theater. "Any form of imposed civility that would try to foreclose offensive speech is doomed to fail," Wood says, "since all it does is establish the boundary that someone will break. … When we recognize speech as offensive, we shouldn’t think that we have therefore anesthetized people against its sting. It will sting, at least if it is done right."