Students at Wisconsin’s flagship campus are petitioning university officials to curb free speech on campus. The Student Coalition for Progress wants the University of Wisconsin-Madison to formally denounce a student organization, Young Americans for Freedom, for inviting as a guest speaker Ben Shapiro, editor of the Daily Wire.
The irony is richer than the Mesabi Range, although that is apparently oblivious to the Snowflakes Against Progress.
The irony is that the Coalition students are exercising their First Amendment right to petition for redress of grievances in order to deny those same rights to their political opponents. This isn’t theory. Many of the petitioners actually did disrupt Shapiro’s speech to the YAF on November 16. (The right to speak entitles the right to be heard.)
The disruption was physical — they stormed the stage — and vocal, they tried to shout him down. Your Humble Bloggeur wrote about it here. Even more ironic, Shapiro, a graduation of Harvard Law, is fairly mainstream conservative. He quit Breitbart in protest and has been targeted by the Alt-Right, although no one on the right side of the spectrum is trying to silence Shapiro.
The UW petition demands that YAF be silenced:
While Young Americans for Freedom is basking in their newfound campus “relevance”, members of marginalized groups are feeling less safe than ever before.
Said one student: “I just watched Shapiro’s lecture, and as an international minority student, seeing familiar faces of classmates in the cheering crowd, I felt betrayed, unwelcome, and regretting my choice of university and ever coming to the U.S.”
Members of Y.A.F. have further contributed to making campus a hostile environment by attempting to out and misgender LGBTQIA+ students as well as have individually confronted and made feel unsafe prominent members of student government.
We, the undersigned are asking that UW-Madison administration take a hard look at the charter of Young Americans for Freedom, an organization where some of their chapters have been classified as hate groups by the SPLC, and ideally put the involved students through intensive diversity training and have the charter revoked so Y.A.F. is no longer a campus organization that can create a hostile environment on campus.
The Blaska Policy Werkes gags at the phrase “intensive diversity training.” Isn’t that Castro’s Cuba? A gulag with a dental plan.
It is encouraging that many are signing the students’ petition only so they can register their dismay. This one is typical: “I am signing solely to dissent from the current authoritarian echo chamber here. No, rights do not end where your feelings begin. That “progressive” sentiment is as dangerous as the views of the alt right. You cannot censor different opinions just because you do not like them. The first amendment is not there so we can talk about the weather. It is there so we can say controversial and unpopular things.”
This is taken directly from Wikipedia:
“In November 2015, in the wake of the protests at the University of Missouri, Shapiro was invited by the campus’s chapter of the College Republicans, in conjunction with Young America’s Foundation, to speak at the university. The speech, entitled “The Truth is a Microaggression,” was critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, safe spaces, micro-aggressions, and other aspects of American college campuses and the behavior of modern college students. The theater in which he spoke was filled to capacity as over 400 people attended, and the live-stream of the event was viewed by more than 130,000 people.”
Action this day — Governor Walker, Speaker Vos, State Rep. Nass — take measures to respect free speech on our public college campuses. Wisconsin news media (print, broadcast, and on-line) stand up for the First Amendment! Don’t our schools teach the Constitution any longer?
The sounds of silence
A group of Washington State University professors have decried “discourses of free speech” in an open letter to the campus community, suggesting such defenses of the First Amendment hurt “marginalized students,” according to the College Fix.
“We condemn freedom of speech that hurts other people’s feelings.” — Tufts University.