Politics

19 Displays of Failure on University Campuses That Demonstrate How Free Speech and Civility are Dying

We are supporters of free speech and equality for all groups, but some colleges and universities have perhaps gone a step too far and placed their social agendas, justified or not, ahead of academics and civility.

In doing so, these campuses across the United States have found themselves embroiled in a fight to police free speech.  The University of Illinois at Chicago has taken it to new heights by launching a campaign titled “Words Matter!”  This program features workshops aimed at words like crazy, ghetto, and illegal alien.  Apparently the use of these words isn’t “inclusive.”  Ironically, the workshop also targets the expression “man up.”

The university claims their mission isn’t to hinder free speech, but to highlight how powerful words are in hopes to create a happy space full of rainbows and hand-holding students skipping to class.  If the university hopes to create a welcoming and inclusive environment by policing words, they have an entire encyclopedia of cuss words to work with.  Or they could just man up.

In perhaps the most infamous incident of stifling free speech, residents of Berkeley, CA took to the streets to violently rip apart their own community in response to a scheduled speech at UC Berkeley featuring conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.  Citizens vandalized property, set fires, and carried out acts of violence against one another.

The riot got so out of hand, the speech had to be cancelled out of safety concerns.  Liberal UC Berkeley successfully demonstrated that tolerance and inclusion only works for them when the message falls in line with certain beliefs.

Not everyone on our staff loves Milo either, but c’mon…is burning stuff down over a speaker that you do not have to listen to, the way to go?

Black graduate students of Harvard University organized a blacks-only graduation ceremony that was held on campus.  While it was reported that the controversial ceremony was eventually opened to white graduate students who wished to attend as well, black undergraduate students were not welcome.  Items on the agenda were politics, social issues, and “staying woke.”  There was also much emphasis put on being black in an elite college environment.

There’s a new era that has been ushered into American society that makes segregation acceptable in the eyes of those who have historically been victims of actual injustice.  While there is something to be said about celebrating achievements among community and family, excluding groups of people in the name of inclusion takes away from the desired outcome.

Going back to Harvard University to explore the curious case of students vs Harvard Law.  After winning the fight to remove the crest of Isaac Royall Jr.–a notorious slave owner whose money founded the law school–social justice warriors referred to this victory as being too small to exact the change they demanded.  Even after protests saw the fall of the Royall crest, students continued protesting what they deemed “problematic” curriculum taught by Harvard Law.

Citing racism as being a huge problem at Harvard Law, one student said there’s a lack of “serious study into the implications of racism, white supremacy, and imperialism.”  Another issue protesting students had with Harvard Law was the lack of a diversity and inclusion office.  They were met with an explanation that while the school supports diversity, these demands are only made by a small number of them.

A student at Washington State University destroyed a pro-life display on campus. The Cemetery of the Innocents was made of tiny crosses meant to represent the number of abortions carried out in one day. The student who vandalized the display did so twice and claimed that the display shamed women who have had abortions and went against his own pro-abortion beliefs.

When confronted, the student said he would continue to vandalize the display as long as it was up.  The organizer of the display reached out to have a conversation with the man, but he refused to speak with her.  This situation highlights the serious double standard on campuses when it comes to freedom of speech.  Many times, students are ostracized if their beliefs don’t fall in line with trending outrage.

It is okay to disagree folks, but don’t make a fool of yourself over it…trust us, someone is filming it on their phone.

When conservative speaker Heather Mac Donald–the author of The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe–appeared at Claremont McKenna College, she was greeted by a large group of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement.  They blocked the entrance to the building where Mac Donald was scheduled to speak.  Although law enforcement was present in large numbers, the campus powers that be made the decision not to intervene by making arrests.

As a result, Heather Mac Donald was forced to make her presentation via live stream to a small group of people.  This incident also highlights the amount of anti-police sentiment on campuses.  Mac Donald reported that among the chants from the protesters was “F*** the Police!”

Harvard doesn’t seem to like breaks from being in the center of the social justice warrior social media storm, so let’s keep talking about them.

When campusreform.org conducted a survey of students currently in attendance, the results were astounding.  The question presented: who scares you more, Trump or the Islamic State?  Naturally, several students said that President Trump is more dangerous than ISIS.  That’s right, ISIS.

One student even said, “Terrorism really isn’t that big of a deal.”  Students went on to say President Trump poses a threat to their everyday lives.  It’s to be expected that institutions who heavily police speech would resist the Trump administration to some extent.  We get that, but brushing off ISIS and terrorism as “not that big of a deal” also shows how sheltered and privileged many of these campuses make students feel.

Controversy hit the University of Alaska-Anchorage after a professor named Thomas Chung entered his “art” piece for display during a week-long art exhibition on campus.  The visual presentation featured an image of a decapitated head resembling that of President Donald Trump, being held up by actor Chris Evans, the star of the Captain America movies.

Needless to say, the controversy artwork sparked outrage on campus and across the United States.  Chung explained that he created the piece because he wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the 2016 election.  When interviewed, Chung said he “spent days weeping” following the victory of President Donald Trump.

Sorry, it goes both ways Chung. You are welcome to paint whatever you want, but this seems more like a cry for attention than thoughtful art.

Side note: we do not condone the actual or fictional decapitation of any president, whether he or she is red, blue, green or any other political color. #ShowSomeRespect

It’s been established that UC Berkeley isn’t really on the side of free speech unless it’s liberal speech.  Another infamous incident occurred when conservative commentator Ann Coulter was set to give a talk on campus at UC Berkeley.

Much like the situation with Milo Yiannopoulos, many students protested the impending speech. Protests were planned, rioters prepped their black masks, and general uprising occurred in response to the scheduled appearance.

The college was a stop on Coulter’s book tour, but she was forced to cancel when her sponsors pulled out of the appearance over safety concerns.  UC Berkeley attempted to reschedule for when class wasn’t in session, but Coulter declined.

Again, like Ann or don’t like Ann, we don’t care.  But if you do not like her, the answer is simple, do not go and listen to her speech.

Militant protests erupted at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA after the school-sanctioned event “A Day of Absence” commenced.  The event is traditionally held at a location off campus, but this year organizers were struck by the good idea fairy.  Rather than hold the event off campus for the normal inclusionary day of a diverse and empowering day of presentations and fellowship, the event was held on campus.

Not only was the event held on campus, the phrase “day of absence” referred to white people, instead of a day of absence from campus.

Organizers called upon white people to remain off campus for the entire day.  One professor, Bret Weinstein, decided to remain on campus because he disagreed and this resulted in mobs of protesters converging on his classroom.

A Yale University dean was placed on administrative leave following a series of racist Yelp reviews she left for local businesses.  June Chu, the dean at Pierson College, took to the review site to slam a Japanese restaurant by describing it as a good place to go “if you’re white trash.”

Her polarizing reviews went viral on social media, with many users calling for her dismissal.

Chu released an apology acknowledging that her reviews were reprehensible and “insensitive in matters relating to race and class.”

Chu was suspended and barred from attending commencement at the college over her posts.  A good example of how unprofessional and racist remarks made outside of the workplace can have serious impact on a person’s job.

Undocumented immigrants at Swarthmore College started a campaign on campus featuring a butterfly sticker reading, “Migration is beautiful.”

The idea behind the stickers was to create a safe space for undocumented immigrants currently in attendance at the college.  Apparently, displaying the sticker shows support and solidarity with students who are in the country illegally.

In order to receive a sticker, people have to sit through an informational presentation that highlights the struggle of undocumented students, such as their inability to receive scholarships and certain types of student aid.

The founders of the butterfly stickers say their future is uncertain ever since President Trump took office and this is their way to protect one another.  Swarthmore is a sanctuary campus, which means it doesn’t share information voluntarily about the immigration status of students.

Following the election of President Donald Trump, many college students broke out into hysterics.  There was talk of persecution on a large scale, the end of the world, and fear for the safety of individuals across the nation at the hands of President Trump.  Many social justice warriors took some odd measures.

Thus the birth of the safety pin movement.  Many liberals began wearing the safety pin to let undocumented immigrants–as well as minority groups–that they are safe spaces.  Meaning, anyone in those categories is “safe” in the presence of a safety pin wearing individual.

Violence broke out at Auburn University during an appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.  A court had previously ruled that Spencer would be allowed to exercise his First Amendment rights after the public university tried to cancel his speech.

Protesters clashed with one another, resulting in bloody physical altercations.  Students protested Spencer and didn’t want him to speak because of his views.

Many college have followed suit when it comes to controversial speakers appearing on campus.  It has sparked serious concerns over whether or not college campuses are trying too hard to shut down polarizing speakers and their First Amendment rights.

When conservative writer Charles Murray appeared to speak at Middlebury College in Vermont, dozens of student protesters flooded the venue.  Armed with signs containing profanity and complete lack of tolerance, the entire audience turned their backs on Murray and began the tired “hey hey, ho ho” chants and refused to restore order so that Murray could carry out his speech.

The college eventually disciplined 67 students for their participation in breaking policy, but none were suspended or expelled.

The students were upset that Murray was being given an opportunity to speak, and rather than simply forego the event, they decided to shut it down and make it impossible for the author to exercise his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Following the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, a group of students at Cornell University held a “cry in.”  That’s right, a cry in.

Students gathered to sit together under blankets to write words of consolation and “mourn” the election of President Trump.  One student said, “We need to just take a break and just cry.  Tomorrow we get back up and keep fighting, because people feel really, really powerless.”

Apparently, the election results shocked many students and they weren’t prepared for life under the Trump administration.  Many people in the United States were shocked about big election upset.  Not everyone huddled into a giant ball of on the grass with their markers and paper.  The Cornell students encouraged others to join them in the spirit of inclusion, hoping that it would send a message of their resolve to fight discrimination.  Well, and also to cry and color together.

No college uprising would be complete without good ol’ Linda Sarsour.

After it was announced that Sarsour would deliver the commencement speech at CUNY School of Public Health, all hell broke loose.  Several citizens of NYC began to protest the choice to feature Sarsour as the keynote speaker.  Elected officials even attempted to voice concerns over Sarsour speaking at a school with a significant Jewish population.  Sarsour is known for her polarizing comments, specifically how “there is nothing creepier than Zionism.”

The commencement speech went off without a hitch.  Sarsour took to the stage to wax poetic about social injustice and discrimination, as per usual.  Very little of her speech addressed the incredible accomplishments her audience just achieved.  She even made sure to highlight her own work and resolve to continue using her loud voice.

A faculty committee at Harvard University (yes, they are back in the article) has proposed that final clubs be phased out by the 2022.

Final clubs are all-male social clubs that aren’t officially recognized by the university.  Membership is limited and comes with many benefits, such as lifelong membership and professional networking.  Final clubs were officially unrecognized by Harvard in 1985 when they refused to allow women to join.

The committee has put together a recommendation that would ban all single-gender clubs at Harvard, even though they aren’t officially recognized by the university.  This includes final clubs, sororities, and fraternities–which Harvard also doesn’t recognize as being official.  Their goal is to foster inclusivity by banning historical clubs deeply rooted in Harvard tradition.

In perhaps the most disgraceful display of tantrum throwing, Notre Dame wins honorable mention.

When Vice President Mike Pence was invited to keynote at the commencement, many students at the Catholic school had meltdowns.  Protesting the decision to invite Vice President Pence to speak fell on deaf ears.  The school defended their selection, as Vice President Pence hails from Indiana–the location of the University of Notre Dame.

As the Vice President took to the podium, several students got out of their seats and marched out.  Some simply stood up and turned their backs on Vice President Pence.  Students then gathered outside to hold up “Love Trumps Hate” signs and stand in unity against the horrible commencement ceremony.

We have met Presidents (and Vice Presidents) from both sides of the aisle, and guess what? Regardless of politics, we are honored to meet them each time.

Angelina Newsom

Angelina Newsom is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.

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