April 16, 2011

"Universities have long told the larger culture that it must simply put up with whatever is said, however offensive, in the interest of free expression."

"Now we see more evidence that that was always a lie, a self-serving cover story that was really meant simply to protect speech that the larger culture didn’t want to hear, with no intention to protect speech that people at universities don’t want to hear. Universities, meanwhile, have become some of the most hostile environments for free speech anywhere in America."

ADDED: "Is Yale University Sexist?"
What is really at stake in the current investigation of Yale is the proper mission of the university. The complainants, not a few university administrators and faculty, and powerful forces at work in the Department of Education seem to think that one of a university's top priorities is policing students' opinions and utterances to ensure that they adopt government-approved ideas about sexual relations. That priority can't be reconciled with the imperatives of a liberal education.

36 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

And lest we forget the ultimate irony, Yale hosts Sex Week:

http://www.sexweekatyale.com/

During which is teaches its students how to be properly perverted according to the diktats of the feminazi left.

somefeller said...

Yawn. This is the same commentary we've heard for the past 20 years if not longer (from both sides), particularly during the heyday of ridiculous campus PC in the early 90s. But somehow, despite all these supposedly overwhelming attacks on free speech on campus, people still say what they want to say, conservative/libertarian ideas get disseminated and Republicans get elected to office. Everybody plays their part and life goes on.

Actually, conservatives and libertarians should be pleased by this sort of thing. When it's noticed (which it usually isn't - stuff like this is just background noise to most students), it usually succeeds in creating more conservatives and libertarians on campus.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yawn. This is the same commentary we've heard for the past 20 years if not longer..."

Yale is being investigated for under a pretty lame charge of sexual harassment. That's what makes the story timely.

PatCA said...

Oh, the inherent contradictions! As we used to say in the '60s.

edutcher said...

This is the Left on the whole. The universities are just the most intense because their population can be fairly restricted.

somefeller said...

Yawn. This is the same commentary we've heard for the past 20 years if not longer (from both sides), particularly during the heyday of ridiculous campus PC in the early 90s. But somehow, despite all these supposedly overwhelming attacks on free speech on campus, people still say what they want to say, conservative/libertarian ideas get disseminated and Republicans get elected to office. Everybody plays their part and life goes on.

Only because most people don't live on campus. Most get to live in the real world where they have to pay taxes and deal with all manner of intrusions that put the lie to what university profs tell people is how the world works.

Sounds like some phony folksy likes the idea of an environment where there is no dissent.

Actually, conservatives and libertarians should be pleased by this sort of thing. When it's noticed (which it usually isn't - stuff like this is just background noise to most students), it usually succeeds in creating more conservatives and libertarians on campus.

It's noticed all the time, for those who actually have been on a university campus in the last 40 years or so. Which, of course, explains why there are so many Conservatives and Libertarians living off campus.

somefeller said...

I didn't say the story wasn't timely. Obviously the investigation makes it a live topic. But the underlying story is an old and stale one. Students do something stupid, campus administrators do something stupid, and conservative pundits say the stupid actions of the administration are indicative of the great anti-free speech indoctrination from The Left that will lead to the abolition of capitalism, the banning of Christianity and the J. Crew catalog showing a ditsy mother painting her son's toenails pink. (Oh, crap, that one actually did happen.) Everybody plays their parts and no one learns anything from it, except maybe some students who are paying attention and become libertarians, at least until graduation. And usually later in the process (if it's a state school) the local ACLU comes in on the side of the students and free speech, but the conservative pundits generally don't mention that part.

Big Mike said...

Universities, meanwhile, have become some of the most hostile environments for free speech anywhere in America.

Perfectly true.

virgil xenophon said...

My all-purpose comment to an art. such as this:

"I try to be cynical, but I can't keep up."

------Political Philosopher Lilly Tomlin



wv: habletra=no hablo eduStalin-speak.

Conserve Liberty said...

Here's an archaic idea:

Would men simply behave as gentlemen all of this would go away.

How would liberal women respond to being treated as ladies? (no doubt they'd think of some way to label such treatment "harassment").

EDH said...

Given my prior comment that I didn't think some of these Yale incidents were examples of protected speech, here's the excerpt I thought was the most interesting observation from Instapundit.

See, you used to be able to punish the sort of behavior complained of here on the ground that it violated general principles of decency and acceptable public behavior. But after a half-century or so of attacking even the notion of general principles of decency and acceptable public behavior — especially where sex is concerned! — that doesn’t work.

Big Mike said...

@somefeller, my impression is that it is very rare for the ACLU to so much as lift its pinky finger* of the students. In my eyes, at least, the organization has been totally captured by the left-wing lunatic fringe and is indistinguishable in its views from the university PC movement.

Consequently I have not donated to the ACLU for decades.

And the proof of my assertion is, if the ACLU was doing its job on behalf of the students there would be no reason for FIRE to exist. FIRE came into existence entirely because for the most part the ACLU is in full agreement with the university PC speech codes.
___________
* Middle finger, yes.

Big Mike said...

@Conserve, a very astute observation.

traditionalguy said...

The long 50 year march of relativist sexual morality was a freeing experience from the restraints of legalistic assholes. But lo and behold, the legalistic assholes are now back in charge with a sexual anti-morality to condemn others with. Sexual freedom is not that interesting any more.

Paddy O said...

Yale needs to have a mandatory course in late adolescent male history. That way they could learn how late adolescent males have long been oppressed, and even currently live in a situation in which most women reject them.

Thus, what may seem offensive to some is just a cultural expression of repression that has found its own symbols and speech-acts as a way of coping with systemic oppression from higher ranking males who possess more power and beard growth, as well as dominant females who take advantage of young males unresolved sexual potentiality to gain social status or other favors.

Andrea said...

There used to be a place where women could go so they wouldn't have to hear all the crude talk from men. It was called a "convent."

Eric said...

But somehow, despite all these supposedly overwhelming attacks on free speech on campus, people still say what they want to say...

Do they? Everybody knows there are things you can't say if you want to be a student/value your job.

Ambrose said...

The problem is that everything in our world has been constitutionalized. The boys (and they still are boys in my view) were taunting the girls with some pretty nasty language. In a proper world, the school would have disciplined the boys for misbehaving, they would have learned an important lesson about acting like adults (imagine, learning something from your college) and that should have been the end of it. Instead, we have to put up with a ridiculous battle between the boys' First Amendment rights versus the girl's statutory right not to be harrassed. Not everything has to be about conflicting rights under federal law.

Paddy O said...

In fact, young males of college age have long been on the forefront of exploration and leadership, whether in the military forces or in video game championships. Some have even become mayors. Indeed the campaigns of successful student government victories could be a whole quarter's worth of study so that we discover how such potent sexuality can be encouraged both in its innate primary expression as well as channeled into world transforming participation in the broader culture.

somefeller said...

@somefeller, my impression is that it is very rare for the ACLU to so much as lift its pinky finger* of the students. In my eyes, at least, the organization has been totally captured by the left-wing lunatic fringe and is indistinguishable in its views from the university PC movement.

I can't do much for your impressions, particularly if you aren't interested in looking at the facts. I provided a link to a recent example of the ACLU coming in to help (in this case, conservative) students with a free speech issue on campus. Also, you can look up stuff like this and this with simple research. The ACLU gets involved in favor of student free speech all the time. They don't do it at private schools, because the First Amendment doesn't apply to private institutions and the ACLU focuses on state action.

And the proof of my assertion is, if the ACLU was doing its job on behalf of the students there would be no reason for FIRE to exist. FIRE came into existence entirely because for the most part the ACLU is in full agreement with the university PC speech codes.

Gee, then I guess the existence of groups like Gun Owners of America shows that the NRA is not serious about gun rights and the existence of NARAL shows that Planned Parenthood isn't serious about abortion rights. You can have more than one group working on an issue, particularly if you have groups that focus on one aspect of an issue (like FIRE, which focuses on education institutions rather than all sorts of civil liberties issues). Your proof isn't much of a proof of anything.

Paddy O said...

Lincoln, all historians agree, was once a young man in his late teens and early 20s. Some even say the whiskers were fake and he was only 19 when he was president.

King David, the Bible attests, was very well known as a young man, purportedly being chosen for king, even though he was a young man, and then later, still as a young male, going off to defeat Goliath, in an archetypical narrative of late adolescent potency confronting and defeating established, mature male hierarchy.

mesquito said...

Universities are little islands of repression in a sea of freedom.

Pogo said...

In which Universities discover that discarding Western Civ might have been a bad idea.

Anglelyne said...

Conserve Liberty: Would men simply behave as gentlemen all of this would go away.

How would liberal women respond to being treated as ladies? (no doubt they'd think of some way to label such treatment "harassment").

By behaving always as a gentlemen, you please the women you'd like to please. You also, without breaking any rules of decorum, annoy the women you'd like to annoy. Win-win.

(Yeah, I know, sometimes some of the latter will contrive to persecute you for oppressing them with your good manners...but most of the time they're a good weapon.)

Lucien said...

It was disappointing to read the president of Yale's comments and notice that he did not mention any need, or desire, to balance the right of free expression against the interest in discouraging harassment.

Big Mike said...

@somefeller, the "this" and the "that" you link to are pretty weak. If there were better cases, you'd have found them.

And since when does the status of the school, public versus private, make any difference with respect to free speech? As long as the university sits on American soil, it is answerable to the US Constitution. That goes double if they receive money from the US government, as nearly all of them do.

Kirby Olson said...

I wonder what the Tiger Mom thinks.

Alex said...

somefeller -

Actually, conservatives and libertarians should be pleased by this sort of thing. When it's noticed (which it usually isn't - stuff like this is just background noise to most students), it usually succeeds in creating more conservatives and libertarians on campus.

Oh really, do you have any evidence? Sounds like bullshit to me. Students are a captive audience to be filled up with whatever garbage the professors spew at them.

Alex said...

Universities are little islands of repression in a sea of freedom.

What about corporate America? Another sea of PC speech codes.

Alex said...

BTW, boys will be boys. No matter how many laws you pass.

William said...

Gay Pride parades are famous for behavior that many consider offensive. The salient point, however, is not the offense but who takes offense. Such offended people,i.e. male heterosexuals, are not protected under the present sanctuary laws. Their taking offense is itself a kind of violation of the First Amdendment. If a militant gay group had made such a demonstration in front of a straight fraternity, many liberals would find common cause with them.......The ACLU defends conservatives with about the same frequency and fervor that Jon Stewart attacks liberals. It happens occasionally, but that's not why people tune in. The occasional defense of conservatives is to further the scam that they are in disinterested pursuit of civil liberties.

somefeller said...

@somefeller, the "this" and the "that" you link to are pretty weak. If there were better cases, you'd have found them.

Let's recap. The three items I cited were (i) a link to a case that the ACLU was involved in, in which a group of conservative students won a large judgment against a state school in vindication of their First Amendment rights, (ii) a general statement of ACLU policy on its website that directly refuted your statements regarding its policies and (iii) a laudatory statement from a noted right-of-center legal scholar regarding the ACLU and student speech. And all that came from just a few seconds of research. You can do all the hand-waving you want (basically, that's all you have for an argument), but those aren't trivial items, and you are free to spend some time looking for more examples. I won't do any further research work for you, unless you are willing to pay for my time. Also, I notice you don't bother mentioning my refutation of your silly "proof", and that's probably for the best.

And since when does the status of the school, public versus private, make any difference with respect to free speech? As long as the university sits on American soil, it is answerable to the US Constitution. That goes double if they receive money from the US government, as nearly all of them do.

Because the Bill of Rights is a list of rights enforceable against the government, not private actors. (Originally, just the federal government, but that's expanded over time.) The fact that a private entity gets some government funding doesn't automatically turn it into an arm of the state.

Big Mike said...

(ii) a general statement of ACLU policy on its website that directly refuted your statements regarding its policies.

I don't give a rat's ass about what anybody says. I care about what they do. I assert that if the ACLU actually really, deep down, was concerned about university PC codes that restricted the free speech rights of conservative students, then there would be no such codes anywhere at all. It's all wink, wink, nudge, nudge between the ACLU and university presidents.

somefeller said...

I assert that if the ACLU actually really, deep down, was concerned about university PC codes that restricted the free speech rights of conservative students, then there would be no such codes anywhere at all.

Ah, yes, proof by assertion raises its head. Always good to see it. And the existence of policies the ACLU opposes is proof of its secret support for such policies. Brilliant argument! Bravo, Big Mike, you really are on to something here. God, what a joke.

Alex said...

somefeller - just admit that the ACLU are a bunch of Commie pigs.

Big Mike said...

@somefeller, so why not go to the ACLU's own website and poke around. I did, using "university free speech" as my search terms, and here's what I found:

ACLU's lawsuit to restore Ward Churchill's professorship at Colorado.

ACLU sent a letter to Hampton University on behalf of students who were handing leaflets in support of Amnesty International.

ACLU went to bat for a UC San Diego student who had posted a sign in his window saying "Fuck Netanyahu."

And a couple of more even-handed efforts at Grambling and the University of Maryland that can be interpreted to support either party equally.

But in the first hundred hits that came up, that's about it.

Talk, talk, talk. You need to learn the difference between talking the talk, and walking the walk.

Lyle said...

It's pitiful so many academics are uneducated.