This is a very reasonable statement from former White House denizen and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano. When I saw the headline I initially thought the op-ed was from Judge Napolitano. But no, it was Janet defending free speech. OK.
So I figured that Ms. Napolitano would probably hedge the headline the whole way throuigh the piece. But she didn’t. She basically made the case of the “liberals” of my youth. Free speech is free speech. Even very unpopular, abhorrent views should be heard on American campuses.
So, Ms. Napolitano I’ll hand it to you on this one. It’s not a perfect statement from our perspective but it’s a pretty darn good one coming from the president of the University of California System. It’s light years from the totolitarianism we see on too many campuses these days.
(From The Boston Globe)
Years later, the sanctity of free speech in our country is hardly guaranteed — at least not on our college campuses, where freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas should incubate discovery and learning. This is an irony that gives me pause even as I write this.
As president of the University of California system, I write to show how far we have moved from freedom of speech on campuses to freedom from speech. If it hurts, if it’s controversial, if it articulates an extreme point of view, then speech has become the new bête noire of the academy. Speakers are disinvited, faculty are vilified, and administrators like me are constantly asked to intervene…
…The more difficult issues arise when students seek to shout down speakers or attempt to prevent them from appearing at all. If one believes in the value of free speech and its place in the modern university, these types of actions are antithetical. I personally disagree with many of the sentiments expressed in the public spaces on our campuses. But the way to deal with extreme, unfounded speech is not with less speech — it is with more speech, informed by facts and persuasive argument.