College is a place where free speech is secondary to ‘right’ not to be offended

college free speech

Today’s college campuses have been turned into indoctrination centers where free speech is secondary to political correctness, and where students are transformed into emotional basket cases who believe they possess a non-existent “right” not to be offended.

College used to be a place where young minds were encouraged to develop into mature, responsible,  and independent adults; a place to form new ideas in an atmosphere where free speech and free thought were encouraged and protected. But not anymore.

Today’s youth are being indoctrinated to care more about their feelings and less about the things they need to know to live in a land of liberty. Instead of free-thinkers, college campuses have become the “safe space” for a generation of hypersensitive “snowflakes” who believe that sticks and stones may break their bones, but offensive words and politically incorrect opinions causes certain death.

Over the past few years, organizations such as the Safe Space Network have protected these censorious crybabies by creating safe-space zones on college campuses across America where free speech is restricted in order to keep them from hearing things that don’t agree with their politically correct attitudes about culture and so-called values; particularly when it pertains to LGBT issues.

“[Safe space zones are] a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability.”

In other words, these are places where you’re prohibited from talking about anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

Banning free speech to protect a student’s “right” not to be offended gained a lot of momentum during the Trump presidency.

In the fall of 2016, I reported on a survey that showed how 50% of college students in America approved of limits on their speech and the speech of their professors. In addition, an even larger number of respondents believed that colleges should monitor the speech of speakers who come to campus and ban them if they used unacceptable “hate speech.”

In February 2017, riots broke out at UC Berkeley against former Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulous as protestors against his appearance held signs that read, “Hate Speech is not Free Speech.” And in April 2017, protesters tried to keep so-called conservative Ben Shapiro from giving a speech at the University of Florida. During the protest, a pro-LGBT professor at the university participating in the demonstration held up a sign that read, “Hate Speech Kills.”

April 2017 is also when an event at UC Berkeley featuring Ann Coulter was cancelled by the sponsors of her appearance — Berkley College Republicans, BridgeCal, and Young America’s Foundation — after students threatened another round of rioting and violence if she spoke.

A few months after these events, the Brookings Institute conducted a new poll and it showed, ironically, that 20 percent of college students were willing to use violence to silence anyone they feel says “offensive and hurtful” things. This number included 22 percent of those who identified as Republican. Additionally, nearly 40 percent believed that hate speech should NOT be protected by the First Amendment.

The far-left doesn’t own the patent on snowflakery. Over the past four years, so-called conservative Trump snowflakes, led by the Snowflake-in-Chief himself, have been just as much of a threat to free speech as their counterparts — seeking to silence what they called hate speech because it was critical of their orange messiah.

For the record, I’m not a fan of any of the Trumpist speakers listed above, and I’m certainly no fan of Donald Trump. But they’re just as entitled to free speech as the snowflakes who are trying to shut them down.

CU Boulder is one of the college campuses treating free speech as secondary to the right not to be offended, as we see in this report by The Center Square.

A free speech advocacy group sent a letter to the University of Colorado Boulder on Wednesday saying its response to visiting professor John Eastman’s speech at a Trump rally last month violates the First Amendment.

The letter from the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to Chancellor Philip DiStefano says the public university’s response to Eastman “exceeds the boundaries permitted to it by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the rationales proffered by the university.”

Eastman, who is a visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the university’s Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, spoke at a Trump rally on Jan. 6, prior to the U.S. Capitol riot that took place later that day. Eastman was not at the riot, according to FIRE.

Eastman’s speech, which mostly focused on the Trump campaign’s allegations of election fraud, was publicly criticized, leading to the university canceling his classes, prohibiting him from doing outreach as part of the center, and saying his contract would not be extended.

While the letter cited comments from university officials condemning Eastman, they also acknowledged his speech did not encourage violence and was protected by the First Amendment.

“The university’s rationales for punishing professor Eastman are fundamentally at odds with the basic principles of free expression,” FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh said in a statement. “If donor interests, public anger, reputation, or administrators’ ire are sufficient to grant the institution the authority to punish members of its faculty, then only speech popular with donors, the public, and administrators is protected. This inverts the purpose of the First Amendment.” (emphasis mine)

If Eastman had incited the crowd to violence, CU Boulder would have a case, but the university admitted he didn’t do that.

In October 2019, a poll conducted by the Campaign For Free Speech (CFFS) showed that a majority of Americans favored re-writing the Constitution to be more politically correct and to “reflect the cultural norms of today.”

CFFS executive director Bob Lystad said of the survey, “Our free speech rights and our free press rights have evolved well over 200 years, and people now seem to be rethinking them.” The poll results showed:

  • 51% of Americans think the First Amendment is outdated and should be rewritten
  • 48% believe “hate speech” should be illegal and punished by jail and/or fines
  • 80% didn’t know what the First Amendment really protects

Though undefined by polling respondents, most agreed that “hate speech” should be opposed, rebuked, and criticized. But when government (including college campuses) determines what is or isn’t hate speech, it becomes a political weapon used to punish people on the other side of an issue.

America’s indoctrination centers (public schools, college campuses, and universities) have made free speech secondary to the “right” not to be offended, and as they continue to do so, we are witnessing one of the greatest assaults on liberty in our history.


David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.

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