This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 11,2015:
Yale University adopted the first section of the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale back in 1975 as official policy, and has continued to abide by it, at least up until last Friday. Apparently, claims for a “safe space” for students is now the rule at Yale: no dissenting opinions, no contrarian points of view, no First Amendment rights.
Named for the committee’s chairman, C. Vann Woodward, the final paragraph of that now defunct policy reads:
The conclusions we draw, then, are these: even when some members of the university community fail to meet their social and ethical responsibilities, the paramount obligation of the university is to protect their right to free expression. This obligation can and should be enforced by appropriate formal sanctions. If the university’s overriding commitment to free expression is to be sustained, secondary social and ethical responsibilities must be left to the informal processes of suasion, example, and argument. (emphases added)
In other words, the First Amendment rules, and if an individual violates this policy, “appropriate formal sanctions” will be applied, presumably including expulsion from Yale.
Last Friday 14 well-known and highly regarded speakers presented at the Fifth Annual Conference on Free Speech, the program titled “The Future of Free Speech: Threats in Higher Education and Beyond,” where the speakers and their audience were rudely subjected to that future. U. S. Senator Ben Sasse gave the keynote address on Friday evening, November 6th, and was preceded during the day by worthies such as Professor Charles Hill, a lecturer in International Studies at Yale, political historian and author Dr. Geoffrey Kabaservice, Roger Kimball who is the editor of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books and author of Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education, along with others of similar heritage and credibility.
But their efforts to explore the implications of freedom of speech offended some radicals who didn’t like what they were hearing and tried to disrupt the conference. When that didn’t work, the crowd of several hundred students surrounding the lecture hall waited for them to leave so they could hurl epithets and obscenities and spittle at them as punishment for bringing politically incorrect points of view to their sacred, pristine, unsullied hallowed halls of learning.
The conference put the capper on a week’s worth of protests by students offended by an email from the faculty urging them to use discretion and good judgment when selecting their Halloween costumes. Yale’s dean sent the email to every student, imploring students to be thoughtful about how their costumes might offend some on campus, suggesting that costumes such as feathered headdresses, turbans, “war paint,” and blackface were inappropriate “cultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation.”
On Friday, October 20th, just after midnight, one Erika Christakis, co-Master of Silliman College at Yale, responded to this perceived outrage with an email of her own:
Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.
That was the spark that ignited protests among Yale students who likely never heard of the Woodward Report or Yale’s adoption of it as official policy. These were students, in the words of one of them, who thought that somehow Yale was going to be sanctuary, a “safe space” away from the madding world:
It’s not a home. It is no longer a safe space for me. And I find that incredibly depressing.
This was once a space that I was proud to be a part of because of the loving community.
The idea that Yale was never designed to be a home away from home, a cocoon of safety from the realities of a harsh and demanding world, probably never even entered her head. Instead she appears to want a place of hibernation, where nary a discouraging word is heard, and certainly nothing disagreeable to her worldview that might interrupt her reveries.
Happily, there was at least one sensible and reasonable voice in attendance, Zachary Young, a junior at Yale and president of the Buckley Program. Following the infantile attempts to disrupt and intimidate the lecturers, Young wrote in the Yale Daily News:
Protestors lined up outside the lecture hall. Some demanded that we immediately add speakers of their choosing to the conference. Others tried to get into the lecture hall [but] police stood guard at the doors to ensure our symposium could go on as planned….
For nearly two hours, the crowd outside grew in size and volume. Social media attacks on our organization intensified. When I offered the protestors some leftover cookies – intended as a nice gesture – I was called a “white colonizer” and told to stay in the hallway to be “educated.”
As audience members exited the lecture hall, protesters chanted, “Genocide is not a joke,” called attendees “traitors” and “racists” and, in at least one instance, spat on an attendee affiliated with the Buckley Program.
Our entire conference on free speech had come under attack.
These are examples of the upper crust of society, attending an elite Ivy League school, working hard to prepare for the world outside. But police protecting the audience from those opposed to ideas antithetical to their supposedly superior worldview?
No evidence has surfaced anywhere in the media indicating that Yale intends to do what the Woodward Report recommended: apply appropriate formal sanctions – such as kicking their sorry hind parts off campus so those serious about their futures can go about their business of preparing for the real world. These are students who are studying instead of immersing themselves into some kind of false, infantile cotton candy cocoon where there are no dissenting views, where everything is sweetness and light, everyone conforms to the common views of things and lovingly participates in the “safe space” supposedly to be provided by Yale.
Where is that world they are preparing for? Is this what passes for education in America?