Latest News and Commentary: National

April 7, 2023
By Tess Winston
The Washington Post

Excerpt: Stanford Law School has been in the news lately, after students disrupted a talk by a conservative federal judge. Similar protests have derailed events featuring conservative speakers at other law schools over the past year. But as a third-year student at Stanford Law School, I see a more troubling problem: an academic environment with two loud camps, one aligning with far-right politics, one aligning with the far left. In between, where most students can be found: silence.

April 6, 2023
By Emma Pettit
Chronicle of Higher Education

Excerpt: Last year, Hamline University did not renew an art-history lecturer’s contract after a student complained that the instructor had shown depictions of the Prophet Muhammad during an online class. Knowing such images are offensive to many Muslims, the lecturer tried to offer content warnings, but university leaders still criticized her handling of the incident. Respect for the religious students in the classroom “should have superseded academic freedom,” they said soon after the class. (Hamline leaders later walked back some of their comments.)

April 6, 2023
By Iván Marinovic and John Ellis
Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: Anonymous informers have always been a hallmark of totalitarian regimes. Friends, neighbors and even family members are encouraged to inform on those who speak against the regime. This is effective social control: Nowhere is safe to discuss politics, and everyday life is subdued. To this day, when Cubans want to discuss something sensitive, they go into their bathrooms, let the water flow and whisper.

April 5, 2023
By Alexa Schwerha
Daily Caller

Excerpt: SUNY Albany (UAlbany) students shouted down a conservative speaker who was invited to campus by a student organization to talk about free speech on Tuesday, videos of the event show. The Turning Point USA (TPUSA) at UAlbany invited Ian Haworth, speaker and host of “Off Limits,” to discuss “Free Speech on Campus” Tuesday evening, according to the chapter’s Instagram. Students flooded the event to heckle and shout down Haworth in an attempt to disrupt the event, videos posted on social media reveal.


April 4, 2023
By The Editorial Board
Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: Diversity enforcers have become speech enforcers on many college campuses, but a few schools are starting to articulate some limits. The latest is Cornell University, which has refused to adopt a student resolution that would have required “trigger warnings” anytime an upsetting subject is mentioned in the classroom.

April 3, 2023
By Alumni Free Speech Alliance

Excerpt: In this debate, co-hosted by the MIT chapter of the Adam Smith Society and the MIT Free Speech Alliance, two teams will debate the place of academic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in higher education and whether they should be abolished – a move increasingly called for by DEI critics, including in state government.

April 3, 2023
By Seth Lucas & GianCarlo Canaparo
The Daily Signal

Excerpt: Students are proving that they learned their social justice lessons well, as shout-downs of conservative campus speakers at universities like Stanford demonstrate. But when students demanded that state-funded George Mason University cancel Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin as this year’s commencement speaker, the university refused. The university president defended the decision to host Youngkin because, in his view, universities should expose students to different ideas. His response got it right—mostly.

April 3, 2023
By Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic

Excerpt: Can an administrator at a public university cancel a performance because he believes that it is degrading to women? That’s the position that Walter Wendler, the president of West Texas A&M University, took in a recent letter explaining why he was prohibiting a student group from going forward with an on-campus event raising money for charity.

April 3, 2023
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Virginia Commonwealth University’s president, Michael Rao, on Saturday criticized the disruption of a speech at VCU last week by antiabortion activists.

“As our nation’s Constitution protects the free speech of all, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with what is being said, it is essential that everyone treat everyone else with respect and civility,” Rao said.

VCU police charged two protesters. “One protester was charged with simple assault and the other with disorderly conduct. Neither individual was a VCU student nor had any connection to the university,” Rao said.

April 1, 2023
By Teddy Ray
The Dispatch

Excerpt: When federal judge Kyle Duncan entered a classroom at Stanford Law School last month to speak at the invitation of the Federalist Society, he was greeted by a student shouting, “We hope your daughters get raped.” It did not get better from there. Students heckled him for 11 straight minutes, and the longest he spoke without disturbance was 12 seconds. Students were vulgar, asking about Duncan’s sex life in graphic terms. And they were sadistic: Listen to the audio and decide for yourself whether they were enjoying the humiliation they inflicted.