Chicago School of Free Speech

An antidote for the infantilizing craze sweeping campuses.

Students have been taught there are no limits, so they expect their most extreme demands to be taken seriously. “Be quiet!” a Yale undergraduate screamed to the master of her residential college: “It is not about creating an intellectual space!” Students insist on “trigger warnings,” protection from “microaggressions,” and “safe spaces” where no one will challenge their prejudices.

 

“I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” read the headline of an essay for the liberal website Vox earlier this year. The author, who was frightened enough to write under a pseudonym, admitted that he “cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad,” including books by Mark Twain.

The American Association of University Professors last year warned: “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.”

The liberals who run U.S. universities can’t be surprised by the epidemic of grievances on their campuses. Their generation used political correctness to exclude conservative thought from the faculty. Now their students reject academic freedom for everyone. Administrators quickly cave in to their demands, abandoning centuries-old principles of open inquiry.

Students have been taught there are no limits, so they expect their most extreme demands to be taken seriously. “Be quiet!” a Yale undergraduate screamed to the master of her residential college: “It is not about creating an intellectual space!” Students insist on “trigger warnings,” protection from “microaggressions,” and “safe spaces” where no one will challenge their prejudices.

Protesters at Amherst demand a ban on posters favoring free speech. Johns Hopkins students want a mandatory class on “cultural competency.” Wesleyan undergraduates tried to get the campus newspaper defunded for an op-ed critical of Black Lives Matter.

After students at Yale demanded that Calhoun College be renamed because its namesake defended slavery in the early 19th century, students at Princeton demanded its Woodrow Wilson School be renamed because Wilson was a segregationist in the early 20th century. Even Rhodes scholars are joining in: A group last year ended the tradition of toasting their Oxford benefactor because Cecil Rhodes was prime minister of segregated South Africa more than a century ago—never mind that he was a liberal in that era.

Read More