Saturday, November 09, 2019

The Real Attack on Free Speech?

Fox News does a lot of shrieking, but the real oppression -- as all of us who work on campuses know -- lands on the usual suspects: the poor, the brown, women, and the powerless.

The Right -- or rather, certain members of the Right, those with a lot of power -- are just good at playing the Refs; and at getting attention from the media.

For more see here.

You should especially notice this:

....four Republican-controlled state governments have set up new rules for political speech in public universities in response to concerns about free speech. At least seven other state legislatures are considering doing the same, efforts that the New York Times reports are “funded in part by big-money Republican donors” in a “growing and well-organized campaign that has put academia squarely in the crosshairs of the American right.”

Our state is one of those considering such a law. They have already disposed of our ability to create a designated a free speech forum -- we can no longer restrict the area of campus where people can make speeches.

Why would we want to restrict free speech to a specific area?

Well, imagine trying to teach grammar when some angry incel is standing outside your classroom with a megaphone shouting about how feminism is cancer and all these girls in short skirts are agents of Satan, and yes, this actually happened to me.

The thing is, when state legislatures start interfering with the governing of university campuses, they usually have no idea how campuses work or how they should be run. They have no idea why we want a designated free speech forum area, for instance; or why we don't want guns in our classroom. (They know quite well why they don't want guns in their workplace, but that is somehow different.) They make rules without understanding the situation, in other words.

So they will almost certainly make rules that don't work well for our campuses.

There is a reason university campuses have traditionally been self-governing. You need to leave the running of universities to those who know how universities work. And that's not some guy who hasn't been on one since he was twenty-two  years old and who wasn't really paying attention even then.

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