The UC Berkeley Administration Goes Laissez-Faire On Rioting Against Speech
Terrific post by Greg Lukianoff, the President and CEO of the campus free speech defending organization, TheFIRE.org -- the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
The Berkeley administration is incentivizing anyone who doesn't want a particular speaker to be heard to threaten (or even engage in) acts of violence. This all but guarantees that controversial speakers on a particular campus will be silenced, and teaches a generation of students that resorting to violence will be rewarded. Students are learning deeply illiberal lessons. I can think of few things that are more corrosive to higher education or a pluralistic democracy.
Anyone who responds to speech with violence should be prosecuted. So far, to our knowledge, nobody has been charged at Middlebury College, and possibly only one person has been charged in the Berkeley riots.
When students physically block access to speeches or shout down speakers to prevent them from being heard, they should likewise be punished. Failing to address these disruptions grants an ongoing heckler's veto to would-be censors. This is inimical to both freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus.
There is a reason nobody says, "If you want to stop a bully, give him everything he wants." Failure to address violent responses to speech only encourages more violence, while turning great institutions like the University of California, Berkeley, into environments where what can be said -- and therefore, what can be taught -- is dictated by a minority of violent students and other protesters.
To put it in stark terms, not taking a stand against violent protesters is eventually going to get someone killed.
UPDATE: "UC Berkeley reverses decision to cancel Ann Coulter visit."
Whatever you think of Ann Coulter or Milo or anyone else, the thug's veto should not be allowed to prevail. (The answer to speech you disagree with is more speech, not trying to silence the person making it.)