Collin Fossett —
We need to maintain free speech on campus so that the exchange of opinions and new ideas can be exchanged.
College campuses serve multiple functions in a community including providing a place for students to grow. Now there is a dilemma: Should students feel welcomed or challenged intellectually?
Conservative speaker Erik Prince’s speech was canceled at Beloit University this week. It is not uncommon for conservative speakers to have their events canceled or denied on campuses. We have clearly made a decision to favor comfort over intellectual diversity.
The diversity of opinions among guest speakers is important. College campuses are already liberal. Nationally there are 11.5 liberal professors for each conservative according to the Econ Journal Watch.
Economics professor Alexei Izyumov said U of L does not deviate far from that norm.
“I came from a communist USSR, and there at the Academy I was considered a dissident as I criticized government control of the economy and politics. In the US academy I feel like a dissident again as an overwhelming majority of profs are of liberal ilk,” said Izyumov.
The dangers of an ideological bubble are clear. “Today’s partisans intentionally avoid information that goes against their existing partisan beliefs and seek out information that reinforces their existing attitudes,” said political science professor Jennifer Anderson.
“The rise of partisan media outlets also pushes both Republicans and Democrats alike to dislike and distrust members of the other party.”
Not only is a lack of ideological diversity in education counterproductive for producing students who are able to function in our society, but this artificial ignorance can lead to violence.
This was demonstrated when a conservative organizer was physically assaulted at UC Berkeley. This event represents a failure on the part of colleges.
Students paying to be educated and prepared for the workforce should understand that just because they disagree with someone doesn’t mean they should assault them.
Not only is restricting ideas on campus hurtful, it should have never been allowed in the first place.
The president signed an executive order making the administration’s position on the issue clear. The government sees college campuses as public spaces. Free speech should be protected in such spaces.
Moving forward we need an objective standard by which speaking platforms are granted on campus. Students are presumably adults and we should be mature enough to process conflicting viewpoints in a healthy way.
Students should consider developing these skills before entering an intellectually challenging arena like a college campus.
Voice your distaste when you see this objective standard being violated. Petition and protest your school to do the right thing in upholding the first amendment. It is important for us to understand that free speech is granted to all citizens in the bill of rights.