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Friday, July 7, 2017

The American University: Where Free Speech Goes To Die

     On Tuesday, September 25, 2015, a student at the University of Delaware saw pieces of metal hangers dangling from tree limbs by pieces of string. The concerned student, obviously finely tuned to such things, interpreted the objects as miniature nooses, symbols of the lynchings that occurred during the early decades of the 20th century. The sighting came the day after a Fox News contributor named Katie Pavlich delivered a talk at the school. Pavlich's appearance created an uproar among members of the student body and faculty who objected to Pavich's earlier condemnation of the Black Lives Matter Movement. (Most universities and colleges do not take kindly to people who deviate from left-wing orthodoxy. The views of these apostates are considered toxic to the ivory tower environment where any idea outside progressive thinking could adversely affect the mission of political and cultural indoctrination. Examples of this are everywhere.)

     The president of the university, calling the suspected nooses a "deplorable act," and a "hateful display," sprang into action by launching a hate crime investigation. (The school must have a hate crime investigation department or committee. Are these trained investigators? Are they like the religious police in the middle east?) Without waiting for the results of that inquiry, President Nancy Targett issued the following statement: "We are both saddened and disturbed that this deplorable act has taken place on our campus. This hateful display stands in stark contrast to Monday night's peaceful protest and discussion [pertaining to the Katie Pavilich appearance]. We ask everyone in our community to stand together against intolerance and hate." Targett called for a student rally to impress the point the follow afternoon. (Question: If a student studying for an exam skipped the rally, is that student a part of the problem?)

     While the university president wrung her hands over the offending symbols of racism, Delaware students expressed outrage and concern on social media.

     On Wednesday, September 23, the day of the scheduled student rally, the hate crime police determined that the objects that had been hanging from the trees were the remains of lanterns left over from a previous social event.

     When the inconvenient truth hit the fan, President Targett, rather than apologizing for her knee-jerk reaction, proclaimed that the "incident," and her response to it, revealed just how sensitive the campus was to the potential issue of racism. Moreover, it showed a need for "continuing dialogue" on the subject.

     In reality, this "incident" reveals how politically oppressive student life has become on some university campuses. Most students, I would imagine, simply want to improve their lives through higher education. They are not incurring serious debt to be told what to think, what not to say, or how to live their lives. After residing four-years in a bubble where no one can be offended and free speech is out the window, real life must come to these students as a tremendous cultural shock.

     Since I first published this piece in September 2015, America's so-called elite universities, principally in response to the 2016 presidential election, have cracked down even harder on free speech. This has gotten so out of control and undemocratic that older liberals, once the vanguards of free speech, have spoken out against it.

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