This article gives presidents and trustees of higher education a call to action. It pushes the leaders to “stand the middle ground between extremes, [defend] free speech for everyone, [and fend] off attacks from all sides, regardless of political beliefs or personal opinions.” Sullivan makes a strong point on how a college campus should be a place for students to feel safe learning about different ideas, and not a place where ideas should be safe. She goes on to emphasize that students are encouraged to explore free speech and an array of different topics, but at the same time show respect for the many diverse backgrounds represented on campus. Sullivan argues, “The principles of free speech and campus inclusiveness should not be in conflict with each other; rather, they should reinforce each other.” Throughout the article she gives examples of many people from both the right and left side that have been denied opportunities to speak on college campuses because their ideas are too offensive, or lean too far right or left. Sullivan’s mission is to help university officials understand that free speech does not need to be restricted.
This article speaks about the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) findings of student knowledge over the last year about their First Amendment rights. Mr. Lukianoff of FIRE explains how most students are aware that they have a freedom of speech, but are not exactly sure why they do or the intricate parts to freedom of speech. FIRE conducted a survey on college campuses and found 69 percent of students agreed the school should have a policy against slurs and other intentionally offensive language. Also, 54 percent of the students polled felt their campus prevents them from expressing their beliefs because others might find them offensive. The article goes on to argue this hesitance is shifting curriculum. A tenured teacher at LSU was fired because students complained she had an “abrasive and disparaging style, [and] used profanity and sexual slang in the classroom.” The teacher argued her teaching style was blunt, but she had never violated the sexual harassment policy for which she was fired. FIRE works to support those whose First Amendment rights are violated.
This article hits how colleges in conservative “red” states also have policies that limit speech. Such policies are found on more campuses than just where leftists are popular and make known their “progressivism”. The article explains one case on the University of South Carolina’s campus. A campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty and College Libertarians followed every rule to host an event on campus. They got posters checked by the director of campus life, and had the event cleared as well. However, some students filed formal complains claiming discrimination. No action was taken officially from the complaints, but it shows how some college students are sensitive to ideas, and are not open to new topics.
The mayor of Berkeley, California called for the University of California to cancel “Free Speech Week”. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin wants to avoid making the city prone to more violence after a right-wing rally ended with anarchists chasing attendees. The mayor wants to halt plans of the conservative campus group for “Free Speech Week” in order to stop large groups from creating mayhem. Previously in February, anti-Yiannopolous protestors caused $100,000 of damage to the UC Berkeley campus. The top priority of the mayor is the safety of the community. It mentions UC Berkeley is committed to free speech but keeping the people safe, especially those who feel threatened. The mayor agrees he believes in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom and creating a threat in the community.