Three messages about free speech. A. Protesters drown out James Comey speech B. Betsy DeVos’s Commencement Speech at Bethune-Cookman University C. 10,000 students learn about free speech for the first time.
A. Protesters drown out James Comey speech
B. Betsy DeVos’s Commencement Speech at Bethune-Cookman University
C. 10,000 students learn about free speech for the first time.
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.
In recent times, many colleges and universities in the United States have retreated from historically strong support for free speech, including through the dis-invitation of speakers, promulgation of speech codes that prohibit what is deemed “offensive speech,” and students protesting the participation of politically unpopular speakers on campus, including those widely regarded as outside the mainstream as well as those who are traditionalist Christians, pro-Israel, anti-abortion, or otherwise conservative.
Several high-profile incidents have occurred since 2014 in which large protests, which ranged in nature from peaceful disruption to widespread violence and rioting, periodically occurred on college campuses, such as at Yale University in 2016, at the University of Missouri in 2015, at the University of California Berkeley in 2017, at Middlebury College in 2017, at Evergreen State College in 2017, and elsewhere.
The rise of far-left militant groups, such as Antifa, prompted in large part by the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, which are often attracted to college protests, have led to a rise in the level of violence of some protests.
University of California, Los Angeles Chancellor Gene Block issued a statement concerning both the value of free speech and the responsibility for civil discourse.
The statement was in favor of an environment in which people coming from different beliefs and backgrounds may engage in passionate dialogue without belittling one another. In Block’s view, “just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive.”