George Will’s recent opinions column insightfully examines the alarming trend on college campuses to force students’ “conformity to liberal politics,” as Will calls it, through speech codes, speech zones and the politically-correct indoctrination of “diversity training.” Will reviews the book by Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.” George Will uses Lukianoff’s book to show how universities are training the next generation of America’s leaders to think it is normal and appropriate for the government to censor speech that makes other students uncomfortable, what Will calls, “the right never to be annoyed.” Will gives an unsettling sample of university policies that suppress unpopular views and other expression:
In recent years, a University of Oklahoma vice president has declared that no university resources, including e-mail, could be used for “the forwarding of political humor/commentary.” The College at Brockport in New York banned using the Internet to “annoy or otherwise inconvenience” anyone. Rhode Island College prohibited, among many other things, certain “attitudes.” Texas Southern University’s comprehensive proscriptions included “verbal harm” from damaging “assumptions” or “implications.” Texas A&M promised “freedom from indignity of any type.” Davidson banned “patronizing remarks.” Drexel University forbade “inappropriately directed laughter.” Western Michigan University banned “sexism,” including “the perception” of a person “not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” Banning “perceptions” must provide full employment for the burgeoning ranks of academic administrators.
Both Will’s column and Lukianoff’s book show the importance of Alliance Defending Freedom and allies to fight these unconstitutional policies, and why students and faculty need to stand up for liberty and freedom of expression. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys stand ready to protect students and faculty members from these unconstitutional policies restricting their speech. Universities are no longer a marketplace of ideas, encouraging robust debate, when they adopt and enforce these unconstitutional policies.
This post originally appeared here.