UC Berkeley Faculty Want to Shut Down Campus for Free Speech Week
“This is a clear threat to public higher education.”
A faculty letter addressed to the UC Berkeley campus and the Berkeley community at large is calling for a complete boycott of classes and campus activities during the upcoming “Free Speech Week,” which will feature conservative speakers whose very names inspire college students to seek safe spaces and therapy.
The Berkeley paper called The Daily Californian reports that the letter was co-written by seven faculty members, including Michael Cohen, a campus associate teaching professor of African American studies. The letter urges fellow faculty members to take three steps: cancel classes and tell students to stay home; close buildings and departments and allow staff to stay home; and not penalize students who are afraid of coming to campus. The letter was signed by 132 campus faculty members from various departments, and by 56 individuals who aren’t part of the UC Berkeley faculty.
Cohen said that most of the students in his African American Studies class are students “of color,” and he believes it is unethical and discriminatory for him to ask his students to be on campus during Free Speech Week, which will be held on campus from Sept. 24-27.
As noted by the Daily Californian, Free Speech Week is being hosted by the Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student newspaper. The four-day event includes themes such as “Feminism Awareness Day” and “Mario Savio is Dead.” Speakers scheduled to be on campus include Freedom Center founder David Horowitz, libertarian provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, and dreaded Breitbart honcho Steve Bannon.
“This is a clear threat to public higher education,” said Cohen. He and the other signers of the letter reluctantly concede that “we are legally bound by the Constitution to allow all viewpoints on campus.” But “there are forms of speech that are not protected under the First Amendment. These include speech that presents imminent physical danger and speech that disrupts the university’s mission to educate.”
The university’s mission is to educate? Who knew?
“Milo, Coulter and Bannon do not come to educate; they and their followers come to humiliate and incite… The boycott is a refusal to allow this to happen on our campus.”
“We’re not afraid of Milo, Ann (Coulter) or Bannon’s words,” claim the signatories of the letter. “We have a deep anxiety over the violence that their followers bring in response,” Cohen said.
Of course, the issue is not violence on the part of the followers of Yiannopoulos, Coulter, Bannon, et al; as always, it is the radical leftists who bring violence and mayhem to such events under the pretense of anti-fascism and self-defense.
“Chancellor [Carol T.] Christ’s idea that we can have these people on campus is a fantasy and a dangerous one,” Cohen complained, but he should be directing his complaint against the masked, black-clad, armed, anti-free speech protesters who come to assault innocent bystanders, intimidate peaceful conservative students, and vandalize public and private property. They are the ones who are truly dangerous.