National Student Group Seeks To Bolster Campus Free Speech
Earlier this month, a professor at California State University, Fresno, berated the school’s Students for Life group, going so far as to scrub out chalk messages that were part of the club’s university-approved pro-life display. Fresno State students also tried to efface the display, and the professor insisted that free speech was only permitted in the “free speech” zone, which had in fact been eliminated by the school’s administration two years earlier.
Such incidents occur so frequently on college campuses these days that it’s easy for them to become white noise. When groups host conservative events on campus, they are most often greeted by protests, some of which have grown violent in recent months — like the debacles greeting Charles Murray and Ann Coulter at Middlebury College and UC–Berkeley respectively. And frequently, the colleges and universities involved acquiesce to student requests to shut down certain events with which they disagree. While groups such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Alliance Defending Freedom have long track records of legally (and successfully) protecting students’ rights on campus, there has been little in the way of nationally coordinated free-speech movements bubbling up from students who have had enough of being shut down.