Saturday, October 8, 2016

Colleges and Free Speech

Colleges have rarely been defenders of free speech and they are not today.  Colleges only permit free speech if that speech is consistent with the current views of the college administration.

When I was an undergraduate, the editor of the Rice Thresher, Hugh Rice Kelly, was removed (in 1964) as editor by the school's administration because he wrote an editorial condemning US policy in Vietnam.  He was never reinstated.  The far right was in control and they enforced that control.  No faculty supported Kelly.

In the late 1940s, Woodrow Seals, editor of the student newspaper at the University of Alabama, wrote an editorial that appeared to support integrating the all-white student body at the University of Alabama.  Seals was removed from the student body and only allowed to graduate after writing a letter of apology for his errant views.  No faculty spoke up for Seals at the time.  (Seals would later be a leader in the movement for integrating southern public schools while serving as a Federal District attorney in the Kennedy Administration and was later appointed a Federal Judge by Lyndon Johnson).

Today, the far left runs almost every college in the US.  Any statement that doesn't agree with the views of those running these schools carries the potential for dismissal.  If you criticize the Black Lives Matter movement, you run the risk of losing your employment.

There is no free speech on most college campuses.  If you have the political point of view of the current administration, then you are free to parrot the views of the current administration.  Otherwise, forget free speech.  It isn't available on college campuses and never has been.  Academics are no fans of free and independent thought and they never have been.

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