Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (26 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration made matters much worse. Just as Obama's Education Department had conditioned federal funding on schools stripping students and staff of due process protections in sexual misconduct cases,
his Justice Department conspired with the University of Montana in settling a case to redefine sexual harassment to limit protected speech. Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), argued that the administration mandated a definition of sexual harassment so broad that it exposes all students to harassment claims and effectively imposes unconstitutional speech codes at universities throughout America.

The government imposed these new rules on all campuses by decreeing that the Montana findings should serve as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” Henceforth, said Lukianoff, “only a stunningly broad definition of sexual harassment—‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature'—will now satisfy federal statutory requirements. This explicitly includes ‘verbal conduct,' otherwise known as speech.” Campuses would now have “an obligation to respond to student-on-student harassment” even when it occurs off campus. “In some circumstances… universities may take ‘disciplinary action against the harasser' ” before the case is completed. “In plain English: Students can be punished before they are found guilty of harassment.”

The Obama administration further sought to deny the accused the right to question the accuser in sexual harassment cases—because the accuser might find it traumatic or intimidating. As liberal
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley observed, “Notably, the Supreme Court stated in 2004 that ‘dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with a jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty.' ”

When U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos reversed Obama's unconstitutional policy, Texas attorney Rob Ranco said he'd “be okay” if DeVos were sexually assaulted. Charming. That's the thanks conservatives get from progressives for, to quote Turley again, “restoring minimal rules of due process for the investigation of sexual misconduct.”
Turley notes that liberals are imposing a false choice between due process for students accused of sexual harassment and full protection for their alleged victims.

Leftist professors have infected their students, including journalism students, with an alarming tolerance for censorship. When violent leftist protesters at Middlebury College in Vermont silenced visiting speaker Charles Murray, a conservative thinker, and pulled the hair and injured the neck of the professor trying to shield him, the school's paper, the
Middlebury Campus
, refused to denounce the protestors, and most of the opinions solicited and printed by the paper defended them. When another violent mob at the University of California, Berkeley blocked Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, the
Daily Californian
's student journalists defended the mob, claiming that the university had “invited chaos” by giving a platform to “someone who never belonged here.”
Twelve of the university's professors had sent a letter asking the administration to cancel the speaking event before it occurred, with nearly ninety more professors later signing on. In an email to the paper, one of the letter's authors, David Landreth, argued the professors “wholeheartedly” support free speech
Yiannopoulos engages in “personal harassment,” so he should be silenced.

Progressives frequently justify their censorship by labeling certain opinions “hate speech.” “Free speech is no longer sacred among young journalists who have absorbed the campus lessons about ‘hate
speech'—defined more broadly—and they're breaking long-standing taboos as they bring ‘cancel culture' into professional newsrooms,” writes New York journalist John Tierney. They are “terrified of seeming insufficiently ‘woke.' Most professional journalists, young and old, still pay lip service to the First Amendment, and they certainly believe it protects their own work, but they're increasingly eager for others to be ‘de-platformed' or ‘no-platformed,' as today's censors like to put it—effectively silenced.”

Tierney is right about these “younger progressive journalists” who try to get their conservative counterparts fired and banned from social media platforms, lobby Amazon to ban conservative books, and organize advertising boycotts against conservatives, which we Fox prime-time hosts are routinely subjected to. Tierney makes a point I often make: “They equate conservatives' speech with violence and rationalize leftists' actual violence as… speech.”
These virtue-signaling liberals are ever more dangerous to free expression in this country, blissfully unaware that eviscerating free speech for conservatives will inevitably, someday, boomerang back against the left.


Discrimination against campus conservative groups is another leftist ploy to suppress speech. Trinity University's student government denied funding to bring conservative author Heather Mac Donald to campus because she has been an outspoken critic of universities' diversity mania. One student senator commented that if Mac Donald was “going to come to our campus and tell us that, like campus rape culture isn't a thing, I think that would make a lot of people on this campus feel unsafe.” Another said that inviting her would be “the equivalent of inviting a climate change denier.”
You got that? It endangers students if someone denies leftists' claims that rape is a common and socially
acceptable occurrence on campuses, and allowing that kind of speech is just as bad as allowing someone to deny that we're all going to die from global warming.

Often led by extremely high-salaried bureaucrats, university “diversity” programs are a colossal waste of resources that drive up tuition rates. But hearing that is simply unbearable on many campuses. There is only one acceptable opinion. This is the type of leftist intolerance that courses through the Democratic Party and threatens our First Amendment freedoms.

It's no wonder campus thought police resent Mac Donald, a leading critic of campus censorship. In
City Journal
, she cited numerous outrageous examples. At Claremont McKenna College, in October 2015, a Hispanic student complained in an op-ed about the school's “western, white, cisheteronormative upper to upper-middle class values” that make minority students feel out of place. In response, the dean of students attempted to accommodate the student, asking her to meet with administrators to assist them to “better serve students, especially those that don't fit our CMC mold.” Boy, did that backfire—though minority students had themselves used the phrase “not fitting the mold,” they launched protests, hunger strikes, and marches demanding that the dean resign for supposedly insulting them. Unable to appease them despite an hour's worth of apologizing, the dean quit.
Mission accomplished! Leftist hate vindicated!

I've covered a few examples of this kind of student tyranny on my show, including Mac Donald's own experience with Claremont McKenna, where agitators cut short her speech using what she called “brute totalitarian force.” I also told you about a student group protesting a proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania, claiming it could jeopardize the school's “safe spaces.” There are endless other examples.

At Emory University, in March 2016, minority students demanded that the university's president protect them from “Trump 2016”
slogans written in chalk on sidewalks, which made them “afraid.” Groveling university president James Wagner said, “I learn from every conversation like the one that took place yesterday and know that further conversations are necessary.” Wagner announced a plan to “honor” the students' complaints, to include reviewing the sidewalk Trump slogans. Like a good leftist, he invoked the language of inclusion to announce exclusionary measures. “As an academic community, we must value… the expression of ideas… [But] at the same time, our commitment to respect, civility, and inclusion calls us to provide a safe environment that inspires and supports courageous inquiry.” “ ‘Safety,' ” Mac Donald comments, “is a code word for suppression.”

Do schools even question the merits of such complaints anymore? Think about the supposed offense here—advocating the election of someone who was promising to improve living conditions for minorities (and the president has kept that promise). That anyone, let alone the administration of an institution of higher learning, would treat this as threatening is appalling and alarming. Since we're talking about safety, who is attending to the safety of Trump-supporting students? Wouldn't they have more reason to feel unsafe on campus, being surrounded by intolerant leftist students, professors, and administrators?

At Evergreen State College, in May 2017, students screamed obscenities at biology professor Bret Weinstein for refusing to comply with an order from the school's director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services that all white professors must cancel their courses for a day and not enter the campus. The students shouted, “F--- you, you piece of s---.” “Get the f--- out of here.” “F--- what you have to say.” “This is not a discussion.” Weinstein, notes Mac Donald, is a lifelong progressive.

The radical students also cursed out the university's president, who then
the students' misbehavior. “Let me reiterate my gratitude for the passion and courage you have shown me and others,” said President George Bridges. “I want every one of you to feel safe on this
campus and be able to learn in a supportive environment free from discrimination or intimidation…. For a long time, we've been working on the concerns you've raised and acknowledge that our results have fallen short…. This week, you are inviting us into the struggle you have taken up.” Mac Donald informs us that “Weinstein and his biologist wife, Heather Heying, were eventually hounded out of Evergreen.” This, my friends, is leftism at work. This is the future if we don't fight and win. Our universities are molding a generation of Stalinist leftists and enabling their fanatical behavior.

Abortion is another hot-button issue for campus leftists. Colorado State University denied a “diversity grant” for its Students for Life chapter “to educate students on the differing perspectives surrounding the abortion argument and encourage students to take a stand on the issue.” But as you well know, “diversity” doesn't mean diversity of ideas. Campus Activities Program coordinator Tyrell Allen informed the group that the Diversity Grant Committee denied the request because the “speaker's content doesn't appear entirely unbiased as it addresses the topic of abortion,” and the “committee worries that folks from varying sides of the issue won't necessarily feel affirmed in attending the event.”

So a university denied a voice to a conservative group because the mere expression of a contrary view might make leftist students feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or unaffirmed. Welcome to our world! Conservative students feel unaffirmed and uncomfortable every day at their close-minded leftist universities. Take for instance a Purdue University employee who denounced Purdue Students for Life as “vile, racist idiots” on Facebook for distributing pro-life brochures on campus with the slogan “Hands up, don't abort”—a takeoff on a Black Lives Matter slogan. How's that for unaffirming? The students said they found the comments disturbing and were concerned for their safety on campus.
For once, it seems students had legitimate safety concerns as opposed to using such concerns as a smoke screen for silencing opposing viewpoints.


Progressive students are dutifully learning the ways of their leftist mentors. For example, the University of Scranton student government refused to recognize a chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative group. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) asked the university's president to recognize the group in accordance with its commitment to free expression or to provide a viewpoint-neutral reason for its refusal. According to FIRE, the university sent an unsatisfactory response and has not provided clarification despite further requests.

The student government president seemed hell-bent on denying recognition to the group. He insisted the student government has the right to consider a prospective group and say, “Yikes, nope, denied.” He added that “in the slim chance” the student senate does approve the group, he has the power to veto that decision.
I can honestly say that conservatives don't think like this. While we strongly disagree with leftists—obviously—we wouldn't deny their right to form a student group even if we had the power to do it. But many leftists who doubtlessly consider themselves progressive, enlightened, and tolerant have no qualms denying conservatives a voice, even if those rights are guaranteed by the university to the students.

While liberals downplay this disturbing trend, there were more than fifty attempts to disinvite speakers from college campuses in 2018 and 2019.
Possibly even more egregious, more than 120 colleges and universities have campus speech codes that restrict what students may say,
even though courts have consistently held these to be unconstitutional.
Some of the examples are almost too bizarre to believe. At Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, three students were
arrested and jailed
for distributing pocket copies of the United States Constitution in the process of forming a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. It seems that the conservative students had ventured outside the university's “speech zone” and were violating
the school's Speech Permit Policy by “engaging [students] in conversation on their way to education places” without a permit.

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
13.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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