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Last week, I wrote, once again, about “disinvitation season” on campus, the time of year when students and faculty join together to demand some voices not be heard on their campuses.
Shortly after that, however, the biggest controversy this season erupted at Brandeis University when the university decided to revoke the honorary degree it was planning to give to feminist and atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
While much digital ink has been spilled on this controversy there are three important points that need to be emphasized in the case:
- This incident is just one episode in what’s becoming a “disinvitation season” trend on campuses.
- Brandeis University is named after one of the great heroes of freedom of speech in American jurisprudence, yet it has an abysmal track record when it comes to freedom of speech.
- Students are watching this incident and further learning how to think like censors.
I wrote about these points in more detail today over at The Huffington Post. As I noted there:
My fear is that 30 years of campus speech codes and the cultivation of the sense among students that they have a “right not to be offended” have pushed students into an even more radical tendency: rather than being taught to beware groupthink and confirmation bias, students demand to be confirmed in their beliefs and not even have those speakers they sharply disagree with present on campus. This “expectation of confirmation” plays havoc with the very purpose of a university, and it’s a formula for turning today’s crop of our best and brightest into an echo-chamber generation.