Diversity is all the rage on college and university campuses across America. That is, diversity as it pertains to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. But when it comes to a diversity of ideas, college students aren't all that interested.
As Accuracy in Academia points out, many campuses are melting down over the free expression of ideas. Here are just a few examples of recent activity:
- Students at Williams College recently invited John Derbyshire, a controversial journalist who opposes immigration and has been charged with nativism, to speak. The college president, Adam Falk, disinvited him.
- At Virginia Tech, a conservative student group, Young Americans for Freedom, hosted a standing-room-only event on immigration reform with Bay Buchanan, former Treasurer of the United States, as speaker. The event was promoted with a flyer headlined provocatively. “Alien Invasion: How Illegal Immigration Is Hurting America.” The school’s Student Budget Board voted to defund the conservative student group.
- On February 25, when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was scheduled to appear at California State University in Los Angeles to deliver a talk called “When Diversity Becomes A Problem,” the University President William Covino canceled the event. Mr. Shapiro vowed to come anyway. Mr. Covino reversed the cancellation, and Shapiro appeared. But those on campus who have contempt for free speech did their best to prevent the talk from proceeding.
For President Falk at Williams College, he has decided that censoring speech he disagrees with an acceptable practice: "We have said that we wouldn’t cancel speakers or prevent the expression of views except in the most extreme circumstances, but there’s a line somewhere."
It's all about "identity politics," according to the report which states that "people are not viewed as individuals but as members of this or that racial, ethnic or sexual group, is used to eliminate the free speech of anyone whose words might cause 'offense' in any way."
University of Pennsylvania Professor Alan Charles Kors puts it this way:
What universities mean by diversity and multiculturalism, above all else, is simply ‘not white,’ although ‘not male’ and ‘not heterosexual’ are not all that far behind. They speak of ‘white’ and ‘white privilege’ as a single cultural phenomenon, linking those look-alike, think-alike Finns and Sicilians, French atheists and Eastern Orthodox Slavs, North Dakotans and New Yorkers into one identity. They believe that this is a deep analysis. They now must deal with the rage and often pained (and painful) silliness of those ‘excluded’ students who believe them.
In a national "What Will They Learn?" study, it was found that in over 1,100 colleges and universities, only 18% of them will require a course in American history or government, including the essential roles our founding documents play in securing individual freedoms. Other surveys show abysmal levels of knowledge of basic historical events including the Emancipation Proclamation and past presidents among college graduates, meaning they knew the same entering college as they did exiting. Even worse, many of those students agreed that the First Amendment goes "too far," according to Academia.
Professor Kors makes a plea for everyone to get off the "sidelines" and join the struggle to let freedom ring on campuses nationwide once more:
Students do not choose universities to be their parents or therapists, let alone a political police enforcing partisan whims. Higher education needs individuals for all seasons who bear witness to beliefs antithetical to the new tyrannies.