Free speech

free speechLast week, President Trump “signed an executive order to authorize the denial of federal funds to colleges that suppress student free-speech rights,” F.H. Buckley writes in the New York Post. Students who express conservative views on college campuses have been routinely denounced across the country—but no more, says President Trump. “The federal government awards billions to our universities; top schools get a billion apiece. That’s going to stop, he said, if they don’t honor free-speech rights.”–White House email March 25, 2019

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a massive, long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The Movement was informally under the central leadership of Berkeley graduate student Mario Savio. Other student leaders include Jack Weinberg, Michael Rossman, George Barton, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Michael Teal, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others.

With the participation of thousands of students, the Free Speech Movement was the first mass act of civil disobedience on an American college campus in the 1960s. Students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom. The Free Speech Movement was influenced by the New Left, and was also related to the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. To this day, the Movement’s legacy continues to shape American political dialogue both on college campuses and in broader society, impacting on the political views and values of college students and the general public.–Wikipedia

Trump’s concern is that divisive speech by right-wing zealots is suppressed, a dubious idea. What a change from a time when the New Left demanded to be heard.

There’s a story conservatives have been telling about the decline of free speech on campuses, and it goes like this: America has spiraled downward from a golden age, when the groves of academe were precincts of whole-hearted civil freedom, to today, when hypersensitive left-wing students, obsessed by race- and gender-based “microaggressions,” clamor for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”–Todd Gitlin August 11, 2017

Read more in the WAPO article cited.


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3 Responses to Free speech

  1. josephurban says:

    Does this new “law” mean that Liberty University must allow me, an atheist, to speak on campus? Must a radical Muslim supporter of ISIS be allowed to speak? What about someone who wants abortions on demand, must they be allowed to speak at Notre Dame?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whungerford says:

    Could an executive order be applied arbitrarily to only right-wing speakers on liberal campuses? Could a school be required to allow speech which was likely to provoke a riot? Remember when executive orders were decried? I don’t know the answer, and I expect this hasn’t been carefully thought out.


  3. John Smith says:

    Awesome article. I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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