Emory U. Student Paper: We Need to ‘Rethink Free Speech’

Free Speech Sign
AFP Contributor

The student editors of the Emory University newspaper made the case that American universities and colleges need to “rethink” the concept of free speech in an editorial that was recently published.

The editorial board of the Emory Wheel thinks that universities and colleges need to reconsider their approach to free speech. The editorial board essentially claimed that universities should let leftist students do anything they please as long as they don’t threaten others with violence.

In an editorial that was published at the end of February, the editorial board highlighted a recent protest at Syracuse University that took place in response to an alleged series of racial incidents on campus. Breitbart News reported in February that Syracuse University suspended 30 students after they occupied an administrative building and refused to leave.

The editorial board argued that Syracuse officials violated the speech rights of the students when they arrested them for engaging in the protest. They claimed that the suspensions were inappropriate because the “sit-in” protesters had not threatened anyone with immediate bodily harm.

Syracuse had an equal obligation to protect both students’ right to free expression and their safety. No college should abet the trauma of violent demonstration, as occurred during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia or the 2017 riot at at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Given that, only threats of immediate bodily harm should permit universities to assert their authority over protesters. Since the Syracuse sit-in was entirely peaceful, the university’s administration had no grounds on which to interfere.

The editorial board went on to claim that the “sit-in” protest was a “peaceful demonstration.” As a result, they argued that punishing non-violent demonstrations effectively “constrain[ed] political activity” on campus.

In punishing the protesters while failing to adequately investigate the incidences of racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia which sparked their demonstration, the university acted unevenly and with considerable bias. Unless the university can prevent further incidents of bigotry, such events will continue. Furthermore, penalizing a peaceful demonstration both constrains political activity and impairs the university’s ability to respond to genuinely violent demonstrations.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more campus trends.

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