For Free Expression!
Michael Green offers some words about freedom of expression in a recent column, "Forsaking our principles" (JoongAng Daily, December 5-6, 2015):
In the U.S., the pressure on academic freedom is coming from social movements that seek to penalize scholars or students who express views deemed hurtful to certain groups. There is no place on American campuses for hate speech, racism or anti-Semitism, to be sure. Discourse in a university should be civil - but there must also be room for different perspectives. The interaction of eclectic thinking is the essence of a liberal education. Higher learning should never be about ideological indoctrination or rote memorization. Yet recent protests at Yale University, the University of Missouri and other institutions of higher education have argued for just that. Protesters - mostly students but also some faculty - have demanded mandatory courses in sensitivity as well as accountability for lecturers or students who engage in "microaggressions" that might implicitly defame aggrieved groups on ethnic, gender, religious or other grounds. When a student journalist sought to cover these protests at the University of Missouri, a protesting faculty member called out for "more muscle" to help drive off the student. At Yale, a junior faculty member and his wife were surrounded and shouted down for arguing that efforts to police Halloween costumes had gone too far and were symbolic of a larger stifling of free speech on campus. Initially stunned by the protests - or sympathetic with student criticism of the establishment - faculty members across American universities have only just begun objecting to demands from students and sometimes administrators that they not engage certain sensitive subjects in class.These are the very restrictions on free expressions that I was criticizing only a few weeks ago, and I see that Green holds the same view that I have, namely, that "the assault on academic freedom in the U.S. is mostly coming from the left." I'm thus heartened to hear - and to hear of - other dissenting voices.