American colleges sweep 'Jefferson Muzzle Awards'
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression usually hands out awards every year to the most oppressive and anti-free speech government agencies.
But the group took a different tack this year. Witnessing the incredible assaults on free speech at colleges and universities across America last year, the TJC gave its "Jefferson Muzzle Awards" to those institutions of higher education that demonstrated "excellence” in the categories of censorship and intolerance.
Many of the award winners were involved in highly publicized incidents on campus.
“Never in our 25 years of awarding the Jefferson Muzzles have we observed such an alarming concentration of anti-speech activity as we saw last year on college campuses across the country,” the TJC wrote when announcing the winners.
The awards were broken down into five categories this year, including both “censorship of students” and “censorship by students.” Yale University took first in the latter category for its Halloween costume incident, during which a respected professor was chased off campus by her students for suggesting in an email that they may be capable of selecting a costume on their own.
“The student response to Christakis’ email was swift and severe. Students’ called the email ‘disrespectful’ and ‘dangerous.’ Angry students surrounded Nicholas Christakis, cursing at him and calling him ‘disgusting,’ while several students told reporters that they could no longer bear to live in the college,” the TJC commented.
In the category of “Efforts to Limit Press Access on Campus,” former University of Missouri (Mizzou) professor Melissa Click took home the grand prize in what was perhaps the most memorable campus moment of 2015.
Click, an assistant professor of mass media studies, was captured on video attempting to prevent coverage of a public protest on campus.
“Click was fired in February 2016,” the TJC duly noted.
Several universities tied for first in the category of “Censorship of Outside Speakers.” In many cases, the “outside speaker” was either Ben Shapiro or Milo Yiannopoulos, both conservative pundits on speaking tours.
“Students at numerous universities attempted to exclude certain viewpoints from being heard on their campuses in 2015,” the TJC observed, saying, “such efforts do all members of the community a disservice by stifling open debate and the ability of others to hear and challenge controversial ideas.”
Dozens of other universities were awarded muzzles for their anti-free speech efforts, including Louisiana State University, Northwestern, and Butler, all of which fired tenured professors for saying or writing something inconsistent with the administration’s orthodoxy.
So the question we should be asking is, are these just islands of intolerance, or is the cancer spreading across the country? I think we know the answer to that question. Led by the rabid left and aided by the Democratic Party, there is a steepening price for conservatives to speak their mind anywhere. And it's likely to get a lot worse before there's a chance for it to get better.
When politcal opponents can be throttled by accusing them of using "hate speech," we approach the reality of a one-party dictatorship. Criminalizing freedom of expression has already begun and, as Germany's descent into Nazism showed, it is not a huge leap from jailing people for expressing unpopular thoughts to jailing people for opposition to a leader.
The American people would barely look up from their smartphones to notice they've become slaves.