How much does free speech cost on college campuses?

The tuition rates at universities today are astronomical.  Out-of-state students at U.C. Berkeley pay over $60,000 for their education, and when it comes to free speech, they get only half the argument.

Known as the home of free speech, Berkeley's official statement guarantees students the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, assembly, and worship.  Nevertheless, conservative Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos's talk was canceled due to protests on campus in February.  Yiannopoulos is a British commentator and media personality who is openly gay and has been called "dangerous" for expressing his opinions.  After somewhat of an uproar, the talk was suddenly rescheduled for November.  While safety is of the utmost importance, the university still was able to find security for a "vitriolic" white supremacist speaker on campus while canceling Yiannopoulos.

An equal platform should be given to all elements of political discourse.  It is understood that the U.C. Berkeley campus protects and encourages liberal viewpoints, but part of a full education is listening to a speaker you may not agree with in order to learn the other side of the argument.

Suppressing values of inclusion and tolerance to create the appearance of a constructive dialogue teaches students that the progressive political perspective is more important than intellectual honesty.

It is important to put this problem in perspective without making right seem wrong and wrong seem right.  Should all American taxpayers be required to subsidize universities who censor a conservative gay man's point of view?  Tolerance means allowing all points of view to be heard, not only those with which you agree.  As far as safety is concerned, the students who hold conservative values are those who are unsafe on campus – not those who are rioting and creating havoc.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say students should be guaranteed the right not to be offended.  When the demand for tolerance becomes so strong that censorship is employed, then the rights of free speech have been stifled.  When students who are of minority opinion are afraid to speak their minds and express their opinions at school, it is the university that has created the unsafe environment.  Even the American Civil Liberties Union stands with those who insist on the right to hold an opinion regardless of if the majority of students on campus disagree.  When the ACLU and the freedom of speech advocates are on the same side of an issue, it is time to take notice.  Value discussions create a comprehensive education, and without them, the school is merely a pep rally for a political party.

Do Americans really want to uphold feelings over the rule of law?

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Your Neighborhood.  She can be reached on her blog at Backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.

The tuition rates at universities today are astronomical.  Out-of-state students at U.C. Berkeley pay over $60,000 for their education, and when it comes to free speech, they get only half the argument.

Known as the home of free speech, Berkeley's official statement guarantees students the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, assembly, and worship.  Nevertheless, conservative Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos's talk was canceled due to protests on campus in February.  Yiannopoulos is a British commentator and media personality who is openly gay and has been called "dangerous" for expressing his opinions.  After somewhat of an uproar, the talk was suddenly rescheduled for November.  While safety is of the utmost importance, the university still was able to find security for a "vitriolic" white supremacist speaker on campus while canceling Yiannopoulos.

An equal platform should be given to all elements of political discourse.  It is understood that the U.C. Berkeley campus protects and encourages liberal viewpoints, but part of a full education is listening to a speaker you may not agree with in order to learn the other side of the argument.

Suppressing values of inclusion and tolerance to create the appearance of a constructive dialogue teaches students that the progressive political perspective is more important than intellectual honesty.

It is important to put this problem in perspective without making right seem wrong and wrong seem right.  Should all American taxpayers be required to subsidize universities who censor a conservative gay man's point of view?  Tolerance means allowing all points of view to be heard, not only those with which you agree.  As far as safety is concerned, the students who hold conservative values are those who are unsafe on campus – not those who are rioting and creating havoc.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say students should be guaranteed the right not to be offended.  When the demand for tolerance becomes so strong that censorship is employed, then the rights of free speech have been stifled.  When students who are of minority opinion are afraid to speak their minds and express their opinions at school, it is the university that has created the unsafe environment.  Even the American Civil Liberties Union stands with those who insist on the right to hold an opinion regardless of if the majority of students on campus disagree.  When the ACLU and the freedom of speech advocates are on the same side of an issue, it is time to take notice.  Value discussions create a comprehensive education, and without them, the school is merely a pep rally for a political party.

Do Americans really want to uphold feelings over the rule of law?

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Your Neighborhood.  She can be reached on her blog at Backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.

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