On February 21st, American University’s YAL chapter was proud to host the Associate Editor of Reason Magazine Robby Soave! Speaking to a score of enthusiastic libertarian students, Soave led a discussion about the current challenges to free speech students face on a daily basis at their Universities. Once introduced by our chapter president Mathew Adams, Robby Soave in a relaxed manner talked about his experience in media and how he first had to contribute to a hyper liberal publication. He summarized that it was this experience arguing positions he did not personally believe in that made him more effective explaining and defending his positions.
Soave then moved on to talk about issues students face on campus, particularly the over-expansion of Title IX restrictions on schools and students. He explained how the one sentence statute that simply says no school with government funding can discriminate based on sex has been used as an equivalent to legal harassment and only requires a “preponderance of the evidence” in order to violate students' First Amendment rights! He completed his position by pointing out the false equivalency many students make between ideological comfort and physical safety, and schools legally need to follow these rules at the expense of discourse.
Once he finished, Soave opened the floor to questions, where he was asked about the salient issues following Milo Yiannopoulos and what students can do to promote free speech. Soave mentioned his belief that Milo will bounce back, but worries about how close he seems to walk between free speech and legitimate harassment and how that can be counterproductive to free speech activism. Robby Soave’s main contention was that in order to promote free speech and libertarianism, it is important to focus on being persuasive and better at listening to the beliefs of the other side.
After a group photo with the American University YAL chapter, the members of the executive board reminded the rest of the members to meet again March 7th for a major motion picture viewing!