Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
We want your feedback! Complete our survey and enter to win one of four $25 gift cards.

Speaking Freely: What Students Think About Self-Expression at American Colleges

124

Replies to: Speaking Freely: What Students Think About Self-Expression at American Colleges

  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,837 Senior Member
    Are you seriously saying the difference between pleading guilty to treason (technically aiding the enemy under the UCMJ I think) and being convicted of making a false statement/obstruction is a quibble?

    Does any of that alter your view that the person's speech is protected? If not, then yes, it's a quibble, because that is how I'm using it here.
    If Harvard ever offered Libby a fellowship (I know, don't laugh) and a couple people made a stink/withdrew which caused Harvard to withdraw the offer, I would be ok with it. Those are the types of decisions an institution is supposed to make. It might tell you something about their priorities, but it is unquestionably the institution's right to make those calls.

    That's fair, and I agree.

    I think it's OK for a college to say that speakers who make their living being provocative and hateful (let's say, Milo Y or Richard Spencer), that cost the college hundreds of thousands of dollars in security should be able to limit those engagements, because that's hundreds of thousands of dollars colleges should be spending on education, not on preventing people from running cars into protesters or students from shouting during the speech or whatever.

    That's MY call, I understand yours would be different.
  • fractalmstrfractalmstr Registered User Posts: 2,283 Senior Member
    Does any of that alter your view that the person's speech is protected?

    Uh, yeaaaah!

    Is it really that out of line for the head of the CIA to not want to support or associate with a person who has ~20 charges of high level espionage against her? I mean, come on people....

    This has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with Manning being an untrustworthy sleazeball.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 65,205 Senior Member
    More survey evidence that general support of free speech seems to be weak among all adults, not just college students:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/a-sneak-peek-at-new-survey-data-on-free-speech/542028/
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/10/republicans-are-far-from-consistent-cham

    Looks like the full results have not yet been released; the writers of the above pieces had advance access. But what they did mention are results showing a strong tendency toward politically and ideologically selective support of and opposition to free speech, on both the right and left. This is similar to some of the results in the FIRE survey linked in post #0.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,259 Senior Member
    Does any of that alter your view that the person's speech is protected? If not, then yes, it's a quibble, because that is how I'm using it here.

    I never said Manning's speech wasn't protected. @zinhead and I keep pointing out that Manning was not disinvited nor was she prevented from speaking. She was "disinvested" I guess would be the word with the designation visiting Fellow based at least in part to the speech and actions of others. To the extent the concept of free speech is involved here at all (and I know, Harvard is a private school, state action, blah, blah, blah), it operates to protect the decision by those who chose to disassociate themselves from the decision to "honor" Manning. I don't see how her rights were chilled or infringed at all.
    I think it's OK for a college to say that speakers who make their living being provocative and hateful (let's say, Milo Y or Richard Spencer), that cost the college hundreds of thousands of dollars in security should be able to limit those engagements, because that's hundreds of thousands of dollars colleges should be spending on education, not on preventing people from running cars into protesters or students from shouting during the speech or whatever.

    That's MY call, I understand yours would be different.

    Honestly I go back and forth on that a lot. I agree that professional provocateurs (Milo, Spencer, Ann Coulter, some of the crazier lefty professors I guess) should bear the cost of the anticipated consequences of their actions, and in that sense I see the point in charging those speakers more for security services, etc for the reasons you state. The wall I keep running up against there though is that this is quite clearly a one sided problem, and nobody worries about a bunch of college republicans storming the stage when fringe leftists speak, but we see lots of problems when even people like Charles Murray talk. It's hard for me to support the use of the heckler's veto by charging pretty much every right of center speaker a "tax" because some portion of the faculty and student body doesn't want to hear what they have to say. It's a tough situation.

  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,862 Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    I'll give this one last shot. The visiting fellows program is integrated into the HKS program. It inherently involves the university making judgment calls on who to include and who not to. That's very different than the question of whether to allow a speaker invited by some random student group or some individual faculty members to the university. I think Lewandowski would be interesting, even if you don't agree with his politics. He was at least temporarily the chief campaign manager in an election political scientists will be studying for decades. However, if the university decided to offer someone else a visiting fellow slot instead, I would view that as a pedagogical issue. If Harvard said Lewandowski couldn't be a guest speaker, when invited by the college republicans, I would view that as clearly a free speech issue. For what it's worth, I'm not aware of any evidence Morell is a conservative. He was the acting Director under Obama and he endorsed Hillary. That doesn't support OHMomof2's narrative of Manning being silenced by conservatives.
  • tonymomtonymom Registered User Posts: 1,032 Senior Member
    @Ohiodad51 you are better than that....you understand that Milo and AnnC are playing to a certain lower common denominator. They add NOTHING to any conversation about conservative and liberal dialogues...it's actually really sad to me that what should be a vivacious intellectual environment for my and your son has digressed into a sorry environment. That's not the fault of the "right" or "left" per say but more akin to an unwillingness to see beyond our differences. I'm offended that folks like Milo and AnnC are associated with the Right. My father is quite conservative but would be very offended at being associated with these folks.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,259 Senior Member
    ^ whether you or I like a particular speaker is completely immaterial to whether that speech should be prohibited or circumscribed. That's the entire point.
  • simba9simba9 Registered User Posts: 2,785 Senior Member
    My point is when a conservative speaker is shut down by students, there is a very predictable outcry here, but when powerful conservatives shut a speaker down that they do not like, crickets.

    Manning's invitation to speak at Hahvaad was not withdrawn. She threw a hissy fit about having the fellowship withdrawn, and then she decided to cancel her speaking engagement.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    @OHMomof2 -
    My point is when a conservative speaker is shut down by students, there is a very predictable outcry here, but when powerful conservatives shut a speaker down that they do not like, crickets.

    Well, powerful conservatives shut down a speaker they did not like at Whittier College last week. Guess who reported on it.

    https://www.thefire.org/hecklers-shout-down-california-attorney-general-assembly-majority-leader-at-whittier-college/
    Last week, Whittier College — my alma mater — hosted California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, in a question-and-answer session organized by Ian Calderon, the Majority Leader of the California State Assembly.
    They tried to, anyway. The event ended early after pro-Trump hecklers, upset about Becerra’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over DACA, continuously shouted slogans and insults at Becerra and Calderon. A group affiliated with the hecklers later boasted that the speakers were “SHOUTED DOWN BY FED-UP CALIFORNIANS” and that the “meeting became so raucous that it ended about a half hour early.

    And guess who condemned it:
    Unfortunately, Schaper and others weren’t interested in an exchange of views. Instead, they engaged in a “heckler’s veto” — a form of censorship FIRE emphatically condemns.
  • tonymomtonymom Registered User Posts: 1,032 Senior Member
    California AG and Ann C or Milo are now equivalent speakers?
    I'm not saying you don't have a "right" to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry to speak at a college but when a group goes out of their way to invite incendiary speakers just to cause a #%%* storm they should be called out for it. These are institutions of higher learning. I'd hope for a higher bar on both sides of the political spectrum....
    Sadly reality TV norms seem to be spreading...
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    California AG and Ann C or Milo are now equivalent speakers?

    That does not matter if they are equivalent speakers. Students should not be shutting down speech by an AG, Coulter or Milo, or Richard Spencer, Chelsea Manning or any other controversial figure.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,837 Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    @Zinhead Well, powerful conservatives shut down a speaker they did not like at Whittier College last week. Guess who reported on it.

    Yes FIRE also reported negatively on the Manning dis-invitation. Like the ACLU, it seems to be somewhat equal-opportunity when it sees censorship.

    https://www.thefire.org/harvard-bows-to-pressure-from-the-intelligence-community-withdraws-visiting-fellow-title-from-chelsea-manning/
    Moreover, even if Harvard is committed to allowing Manning to speak, the genuflection to pressure invites future pressure whenever there’s a controversial speaker, and it suggests that Harvard will condition future invitations based on its sensitivity to criticism. Behavior that gets rewarded will be repeated. Harvard fellowships are now subject to a litmus test premised upon whoever can gin up enough pressure. Today that test was defined by the intelligence community; tomorrow?
    ---
    Harvard suggested today — as it has again and again and again — that its public perception and sensitivity to criticism, at least from those who it sees as powerful, is more important than its commitment to open discourse and open inquiry.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,837 Senior Member
    @zinhead - Students should not be shutting down speech by an AG, Coulter or Milo, or Richard Spencer, Chelsea Manning or any other controversial figure.

    What about the students' right to free speech, assembly, protest? It seems that's being threatened now.
    Free-speech principles are relatively easy to apply when the government tries to shut down an individual's expression. But when you simply have two people talking at once, civil libertarians don't necessarily have a clear way to choose between them.

    ---

    Free speech, for pundits, often is indistinguishable from a call for free speech for pundits. They are saying, in so many words, People like me should be able to talk without interruption from people like you.

    ---

    Yet, historically as today, it's clear that pundit speech is not the speech most under threat. The civil rights movement was advanced through street protest and occupying business establishments, not primarily through paid speeches on college campuses. And despite all the hue and cry over college protesters, there's little question that, today, the most serious threat to the First Amendment is not protesters, but rather a government that refuses to tolerate protest. After a mass arrest of inaugural protesters in January, prosecutors are threatening 197 of them with large fines and up to 75 years in prison. The Department of Justice, in an unprecedented move, is trying to seize 1.3 million IP addresses of people who logged onto a website to read about Inauguration organizing. This is a direct encroachment on the First Amendment, by a government that wants to silence criticism, dissent, and protest.*

    More at https://psmag.com/education/why-do-pundits-keep-getting-student-protest-so-wrong
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,837 Senior Member
    Whittier was also covered by Reason, and additionally discusses a left-wing professor's dismissal for...speech.

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/16/whittier-college-speakers-trump-shutdown
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,259 Senior Member
    Freedom to speak is not freedom from consequences, and if a professor wants to rail against the patriarchy and blame it for the Las Vegas shooting, then consequences should be expected. Same as if he wanted to blame the shooting on Hillary Clinton.

    And again, you keep conflating decisions made by organizations as a consequence of speech (or actions) with actions taken by mobs of 18-22 year olds to prevent speech. It's not even close to the same thing.

    As far as the riots on inauguration day, no one will be put in jail for protesting. Throwing stuff, destruction of property, is a different story.

    That said, I am troubled by the attempts to find riot participants by looking through IP addresses, because that seems to me to be a pretty obvious chilling of speech. We will have to see what the courts say there.
Sign In or Register to comment.