Tag Archives: Free Speech

Young Voices Podcast – Harvard Free Association Policies

Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Sergio Monreal and YV Advocate Alex Grass discussing campus free speech and association and what role university donors play in promoting free speech on campus.

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Brownie Patrol

Political correctness doesn’t have brakes. Its restless claws reach for everyone, including elementary school kids. Last week, police were called to an elementary school in New Jersey. The alleged crime? A third grader said the word “brownie” in class at an end of the school year party. Various news sources report that the brownie remark was in reference to the baked good, not a person.  

After making a comment about the brownies in class, the student was promptly interviewed by police. The mother of the perpetrator, Stacy dos Santos, said that the experience was traumatic for her nine-year-old boy. The child was interviewed by police without anyone by his side. Police are not known for their empathy when interviewing suspects. Now, imagine a child trying to articulate their defense of the word “brownie” to an officer with a gun in his holster.

This situation is not unique. The superintendent of the school estimates there are approximately five calls a day to police in the “district of 1,875 students.”

Over-criminalization has been in the news recently, but this one takes the cake— brownie. Criminalizing a nine-year-old for referring to a dessert brownie is not just a new low but also an indirect effect of school administrators trying to manage freedom of speech. Banning free speech or certain words on college campuses led to this situation. Schools are no longer the place for intellectual discussion — or brownies.

It is not the job of the police, school administrators, or government to police words. “Brownie” is not a bad word, but if you ask the child-suspect, he might now say police and school are bad words. It is easy to see the phrase on cop cars “protect and serve” as ironic. Who was protected? Who was served? Political correctness hangs the most defenseless in society, children, out to dry.

Will thoughtcrime be the next campus sin?

Trigger warnings, safe spaces, cultural appropriation. These terms have spread across college campuses like cancer recently, leaving one to wonder what the next illiberal trend will be.

If Harvard and the University or Oregon are good indicators, it will be thoughtcrime.

A concept originating from George Orwell’s 1984, thoughtcrime is exactly as it sounds — thinking socially unacceptable thoughts. While we thankfully don’t live in totalitarian Oceania, America’s college campuses are starting to look more like the work of fiction every day.

Last week, Harvard President Drew Faust announced that, beginning with the class of 2021, any student who joins one of the school’s elite secret societies (known as “final clubs”) will be ineligible for Rhodes or Marshall scholarships. Faust explained that the decision was made to combat “forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with [Harvard’s] deepest values.” Continue reading

Snowflakes: Stop Shutting Down Free Speech

A lack of diverse political discussion on college campuses does more harm than help to developing students.

College is a place for exploring new ideas and opening your mind to concepts you’ve never heard of before; not cowering in fear and retreating at the sight of chalk writings found on your campus sidewalk.

What has the environment on college campuses become if students are feeling threatened and unsafe because of someone writing a political candidates name in chalk on a sidewalk?

A history of shutting down political discussion, particularly from the right, has been emerging across college campuses and can have a detrimental effect on student’s education.

Just recently, when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro came to speak at California State University, Los Angeles, students had to literally sneak into the event due to organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the Black Student Union protesting and obstructing the events entrance.

Rather than shutting down speech that is contrary to your beliefs, students should engage on the subject. Students have the opportunity on college campuses to engage in ideas unlike at any other time in their lives.

Instead of suppressing someone else’s beliefs by demanding them silenced, challenge your opposition to a debate, peacefully protest an event, or hold your own counter event to share your side of the discussion.

Shutting down others speech does not make your opinion more valid or make you look mightier. It only makes you appear as if you don’t understand the concept of the 1st amendment and are too immature to have a conversation with your opposition.

Read the full article at Liberty Conservatives.

Identity Politics is the Enemy of Equality

Australian campuses have become infested with victim politics.

There is a growing obsession with victim politics on campus. It seems that certain groups are protected and everyone else is ignored or punished.

Take the recent events at one of Australia’s top universities. Outrage spread across the University of Melbourne campus following the discovery of anti-Islam graffiti. The chalked slogans, which were swiftly removed, stated ‘Islam is not a race’, ‘Stop the mosques’ and ‘Trump for president’.

The response was swift and furious. The vice-chancellor published a statement on Facebook within hours, asserting that the distressing and hurtful slogans ‘run counter to the vision of a safe, inclusive, connected and respectful university community’.

The University of Melbourne Students’ Union chimed in, denouncing the ‘hate speech and discrimination’ evident in the graffiti. The union proceeded to organise a ‘Chalk for Diversity’ morning, providing a free breakfast to students who wrote positive messages around campus.But But furious reaction to the graffiti was in stark contrast to way in which students and the university administration responded to another case of bigotry, just weeks earlier.

Hundreds of anti-Semitic flyers were distributed at the University of Melbourne during the first week of this academic year. The flyers, which were anonymously placed on car windscreens, stated that the Holocaust was ‘the greatest swindle of all time’ and that Holocaust Studies is ‘replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud’.

In this case, the vice-chancellor did not take to Facebook to condemn them. In fact, the formal response to this disgraceful act was near silence. Neither the university nor the students’ union have condemned the flyers, and no events were organised to educate students about the Holocaust.

Read the full article at Spiked-Online.