The president of a public community college in San Antonio, Texas, argues that “hate speech” is not “free speech.”
Northwest Vista College President Ric Baser argued in a recent op-ed for the San Antonio Express-News that speech deemed hateful should not receive First Amendment protections on college campuses.
The short column, which is titled “Hate Speech Does Not Equal Free Speech,” laments that controversial ideologues are using First Amendment protections to speak without consequence on college campuses.
“As members of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, we — the presidents of colleges and universities throughout this community, and supporters — feel it is important to speak out and make a distinction between diversity of thought and disingenuous misrepresentation of free speech,” Baser wrote. “We further attest that hate speech has no place at our colleges and universities. Inappropriate messages, such as banners and flyers that are meant to provoke, spread hate or create animosity and hostility, are not welcome or accepted.”
“San Antonio’s colleges and universities are stronger and more diverse than ever. During the upcoming Tricentennial, many events, activities, and symposiums are being planned at our colleges to honor the city’s multicultural heritage, as well as current and future residents,” he added. “San Antonio colleges and universities have played an enormous part in the city’s history. We are proud to have been a part of this great accomplishment and will further ensure that it continues to be our focus in the next 300 years.”
Baser isn’t alone in his perspective on the distinction between “hate speech” and free speech. There has been a growing discourse on hate speech, especially since the Charlottesville riots that took place in August.
In October, Vassar College offered a “safe room” to students who were traumatized over an on-campus guest lecture by Cornell Law Professor William. S. Jacobson, who spoke on First Amendment rights in light of the chaos in Charlottesville.