This is frightening, infuriating, and, of course, unethical. Sharing responsibility, however, are the supposed devotees of intellectual freedom, freedom of thought and freedom of speech who have been asleep at the switch while dedicated anti-democratic, anti-American values revolutionaries seized control over nearly all U.S. colleges and universities. Not only has the essential resistance to this siege been weak, late and under-publicized, the public’s awareness of the phenomenon is shockingly dim.
Good job, everyone.
A recent and blatant example of restrictions on ideas and beliefs comes to us from California (naturally), where the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom had sued Clovis Community College after the administration ordered the removal of flyers that had previously been approved.
In November 2021, three Clovis students received permission from administrators to post anti-Communist flyers on bulletin boards inside Clovis’ academic buildings. The flyers were later removed when the school reversed its position in response to student objections. A month later, the college denied the YAF’s’s request to post anti-abortion flyers on bulletin boards in the academic buildings. Instead, the flyers were only allowed at an outdoor “free-speech kiosk” on the Clovis campus. The censored students are being represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the nonprofit that has taken over the national role of non-partisan champion of free speech now that the ACLU has sided with the rising totalitarians in our institutions and government.
Exhibits in the suit include emails from an administrator who wrote that approving the flyers was probably a “mistake,” and that Clovis could have censored them under its policy that states: “Posters with inappropriate or offense[ive] language or themes are not permitted and will not be approved.” That’s as good an example as one could imaging of deliberately vague language that could support censoring almost anything. “Clovis tried to put up barriers against our ideas because administrators didn’t like them,” says YAF-Clovis founder Alejandro Flores. “But that’s the opposite of what a college should do. Our college should encourage us to discuss and sharpen our ideas, not shut down the conversation.”
I wonder if a flyer stating that would be taken down.
The suit against Clovis asks for monetary damages for the lost flyers and punitive damages for administrators’ “knowing and willful violation” of the students’ constitutional rights. It also seeks an injunction barring the college from applying a flyer policy that “is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it bans speech that the government deems offensive.”
Yes, these are just some flyers. However, the fact that any college administrators in the United States would even think such viewpoint-based suppression of words and thought could be justified is far more alarming than the episode itself. Where and how did our culture and society go so far astray that they allowed such foes of intellectual freedom and personal liberty to rise to positions where they could suffocate intellectual inquiry in the very places that are suppose to nurture it?
4 thoughts on “Compelled Ideological Conformity In Higher Education: Part I, The Students”
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“In December,” ?
Ugh. More floating text. WordPress hasn’t been responsive lately to cutting, copying, italics—everything has to be done at least twice. I often past an entire source article into a draft so I don’t have to keep jumping back and forth, then highlight and delete, but if I’m in the wrong “block,” not everything will be deleted. Rushing today…my fault. Thanks.
The roots of this now omnipresent issue are found in the antiwar movement of the late 60″ and 70″s. Then military recruiters were banned from campuses, ROTC buildings were vandalized, and ROTC students were demeaned. Planned Parenthood posters were everywhere, yet not one anti-abortion statement was to be found. Those of us who returned from Vietnam, trying to use our GI bill were confronted with obstructions from the administrative staff.