The assault on free speech in the United States is in full swing. I read an article in the NY Times today about a faculty member, Mrs. Erika Christakis, at Yale University. Additionally, she is an administrator at a student residence there. You can read the full article by clicking here. Personally, I find it TRULY OUTRAGEOUS.
All this woman, and subsequently her husband, did was offer an opinion. In an email to the students residing in her hall, she wrote:
“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.”
This opinion differed from the official view of Yale University, and shouldn’t that be a good thing? Aren’t colleges and universities supposed to encourage the free and unhindered exchange of opinions, views and points of view? Apparently not anymore.
According to the article:
Ms. Christakis’s email touched on a long-running debate over the balance between upholding free speech and protecting students from hurt feelings or personal offense. It also provoked a firestorm of condemnation from Yale students, hundreds of whom signed an open letter criticizing her argument that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence” should take precedence over other considerations.
“To ask marginalized students to throw away their enjoyment of a holiday, in order to expend emotional, mental, and physical energy to explain why something is offensive, is — offensive,” the letter said. “To be a student of color on Yale’s campus is to exist in a space that was not created for you.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mr. Christakis has had at least one heated encounter with a group of students, in which he was subjected to being berated. He was screamed at, told to keep quiet, and had profanity hurled at him. You can watch the exchange by clicking here.
What truly amazes me, and deeply saddens me at the same time, is that the students in the video are behaving so hypercritically. On the one hand, they are demanding that the feelings of students be held as more important than the rights protected under the first amendment, yet on the other hand, they scream profanities, silence, berate and chastise a faculty member simply because he holds an opinion that differs from theirs. It really is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. Simply put, THEIR FEELINGS matter, but the feelings of people who hold opposing views mean NOTHING. People have generally become so narcissistic, that they have absolutely no concern for anyone or anything other than themselves.
BRAVO to both Mr. & Mrs. Christakis! They are brave individuals, and it is sad that simply expressing an opinion makes you brave, but in this case, it is a fitting adjective. Perhaps if more faculty members at universities, colleges, high schools, and other schools actually tried to teach what free speech is all about, we wouldn’t have such controversy over simply expressing an opinion. But hey, I’m just a cop.
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