There was a point, not so very long ago, when students and outside speakers advocating gay legal equality might not have been welcomed on campuses. That model of closed-mindedness isn’t something you might suppose those calling themselves “progressives” would aspire to emulate.
Later, when being gay was no longer anathema but support for same-sex marriage was a decidedly minority position (even on liberal campuses), discussions of marriage equality weren’t closed down. An open engage of conflicting ideas was viewed as central to a liberal education.
But today, progressives believe it is their responsibility to make sure no views outside their echo chamber, including conservative speakers and student op-eds, are permitted, lest they mislead those whose minds are not completely closed. Two cases in point, from Wesleyan University and at Williams College, expose the barely concealed authoritarianism that lurks behind much of progressive activism.
More. Feminist pioneer and committed leftist Germaine Greer is the wrong kind of feminist/leftist (not supportive of transgender rights). So:
While debate in a University should be encouraged, hosting a speaker with such problematic and hateful views towards marginalised and vulnerable groups is dangerous.
Brendan O’Neill responded:
The Cardiff censors say Greer’s ideas are ‘problematic’. That is what the PC say instead of ‘haram’.
Furthermore. The Williams student group that invited and then disinvited conservative author Suzanne Venker later reinvited her after being embarrassed over the fallout that followed their caving in to the student censors. At that point, Venker had apparently had enough and declined.
Late addition. Robby Soave writes at reason.com, citing Colorado College’s student newspaper, The Catalyst, that LGBT student activists at the college are demanding that the movie “Stonewall” is too offensive to be shown on campus by the college’s Film and Media Studies Department, which wanted to moderate a discussion about the controversy. Instead, they are demanding that the administration cancel the upcoming screening.
“I think Colorado College should cancel the screening because the safety and well-being of queer and trans students surpasses the importance of a critical discussion,” one student told The Catalyst. Said another: “If CC is really as dedicated to diversity and inclusion, they would never have agreed to screen a film that queer students have repeatedly stated is a threat to our identity and our safety. … It is fallacious to equate the rights of students to view a movie with the rights of students to exist free of violence.”
Soave comments regarding the students’ response to the film, directed by openly gay filmmaker Roland Emmerich, which positively depicts gay people fighting for equality in 1969:
That’s right: the film isn’t merely offensive to gay and trans students (despite having a truly gay-affirming message), it’s actively dangerous to their physical well-being…. This is a complaint emotionally-coddled students often make: that some kind of expression is so triggering that allowing it to proceed constitutes an act of violence. Such complaints are usually pure hyperbole, but hyperbole doesn’t even begin to cover the opinions of Colorado College’s precious snowflakes.