tv Free Speech on College Campuses CSPAN June 2, 2017 2:47am-3:58am EDT
>> it resulted in a naval victory for the u.s. after six months on the attack on pearl harbor. friday, american history tv will be live all day from the macarthur memorial business center just visitor center for the 75th anniversary of the battle of midway. admiral who won the war at sea. elliott carlson with his book, the odyssey of the code breaker that outwitted yamamoto. the co-author of shattered sword and timothy or, co-author of never call me a hero. watch the battle of midway 75th anniversary special live from the macarthur memorial visitor
center in norfolk, virginia on american history tv on c-span3. >> a college student from the university of california tried to help organize an event with conservative commentator ann coulter on campus. he talked about his experience. this was a part of the panel on free speech. it runs a little over an hour. scott: good morning, i would like to welcome you to today's discussion about free speech issues on campus.
i will give a very brief introduction before introducing my colleagues. i will then ask them some questions and throw it open to you. there are microphones on both aisles for that. first of all, just a few introductory remarks about free speech on campus. first of all, it is not new. it has gotten some more attention this year than in many years in the past, but there are fairly constantly debate over controversial speakers and whatnot, and i think that context has been missing sometimes. likewise for reasons that are somewhat hard to predict, the press jumped on some incidents much more than others. and so as you look at these issues as they come up, that's important to remember. i also think it's very important to remember that when you're talking about controversial speakers on campus, most of them speak relatively without incident. even some of the speakers that will be talked about today that it been very controversial have appeared far more times without incident than they had been canceled. it doesn't in any way negate the seriousness of the issue of the
cancellations or the disruptions, but i think that is important context. what's happened this year that's made this got more attention? first, you had the middlebury incident where you had charles murray. he is a very controversial social scientist. most of the controversy about in concerns a book he wrote, he cowrote many years ago, although some often concerns his more recent writing. at middlebury, students stood and turned their backs and chanted and stomped to prevent him from speaking. when middlebury then took him to another location to speak via livecast, he did that, but as he was leaving along with the professor who was with him, not a supporter, they were pretty much attacked by a crowd and the crowd attacked the car trying to take him away. at berkeley there been a series of incidents. first involving a very popular
campus speaker until he became actually too controversial for the conservatives who are bringing him to campus with his comments about underage sex. then with ann coulter, who was scheduled to appear and then called off her appearance amid exchanges of charges over who was responsible for that. a few other key bits of context. one is the first amendment, which we all know about as journalists. it is important to note the first amendment is legally enforceable at public institutions. at private institutions, is also worth noting that many claim or say that they follow first amendment principles. so, with covering this disputes at private institutions, it may be more endorsement of principles rather than the letter of the law. there've also been several instances this year, and it came up of both middlebury and a
at -- and berkeley, where outside groups or a parody of said groups, you don't really know because they wore masks, were involved in disruptive protests trying to prevent speakers from appearing. this is important because i think there's been a lot of journalistic miscoverage stating, for instance, berkeley students engage in activities of vandalism and disruption that were actually the work of the outside groups. there are some who believe there were berkeley students wearing masks. i don't know but there hasn't been much evidence of that. this has added an issue of safety that has come up in several of these incidents that complicates things up a little if you're a public university that says you recognize the right of all to speak but then all of a sudden you're facing a safety issue. there are issues whether you planned adequately, made the right call, that has complicated things in much of the
discussion. we are joined today, on my left, by greg lukianoff for the foundation for individual rights in education or fire. if you are writing about these issues, quite likely fire will get involved and issue statements or lawsuits. a good person to know, and fire people in my experience are almost always eminently quotable. [laughter] scott: so regardless of whether you agree with them or not, that's an important journalistic quality. also eminently quotable is to his left, judith shapiro. judith is president of the teagle foundation, which is an interesting organization to know when your writing for teaching and very important issues that may are may be less sexy than free-speech debate, but go to the core of higher education. she has said anything she's going to say some contrary things about the way colleges
respond when students say they may be feeling hurt. she has also raised important issues about the educational experience created by certain speakers and trends in speaking. and then to her left, on my side, we have pranav jandhyala, who is a berkeley student, we have a real life student, is involved with the group with the shocking mission of trying to help students who might disagree politically talk civilly to one another. so this is just earth shattering to many. and i think it's important to note that there are a lot of students who are not trying to shut down speech, but actually trying to encourage speech. so first we are going to go from my left down, and i'm going to
ask them to just outline their views on these issues briefly. i'm going to ask them a few questions and then we'll get you involved as well. greg. greg: my name is greg lukianoff. i've been doing this since about 2001. i am the first an employee. i joined fire when it is a very small organization, legal director of fire. my lifelong passion has been first amendment law. i teach first and middle classes sometimes, it's i write the most about. the thing i would most like to say to people who cover these issues on campus is pretty much exactly what scott said to begin is this is been going on for a long time. since 2001, i worked at the aclu in northern california. i studied the history of freedom of speech going back literally hundreds of years and i was on the less shock of the kind of things you could get in trouble for on the college campus in 2001. and all throughout my career. for most of that time the main perpetrators, the main people punishing people for the speech were administrators. for some reason, this is not considered that sexy by a lot of journalists and it didn't get in my opinion the coverage it
deserves. there was a moment around 2011, 2013, when the issue became more with the department of education was giving advice to universities to give a big part of the problem but it's amazing to watch how much more interest in this issue popped up when in 2013, 2014, the people who are demanding the speech codes were increasingly students. i want to stress prior to that, the most support constituency for free speech on campus was not professors. it was not administrators. it was the students themselves. i do find it interesting to some degree, interest from the press increased when issues on campus looked more like existing conservative stereotypes of what free speech on campus issues look like. so for example, last year a case of the most upset it was case university of northern michigan where students who took advantage of the counseling services were then sent scary letters saying, listen, if you talk to your friends about thoughts of self harm, you will
be punished. this is insane. this is telling people that are either depressed or anxious, they are a burden on the friends and they should isolate themselves. that does not get the same coverage. i will say when it comes to issue the last couple of months i get it for this. this is scarier. when allison steger at military, -- at middlebury. there were students who were hit in the face with metal flagpoles. the berkeley rights were a lot worse than even i thought and they were really lucky nobody got killed. i understand the intense interest, but it does come from things that have nothing to do with politics at all on campus. i'd like there to be some more coverage of issues that are not necessarily as sexy as quote-unquote pc run amok. >> thank you. judith. judith: well, first of all i want to appreciate how scott opened in this in defense of students, because we are about how some of them are behaving badly but more of them are behaving well and we have one
such person on our very panel. i strongly believe student should be exposed to a diversity of views, including those they disagree with. i've also written sort of condemning these codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings. some of these writings even approached the level of screeds. but at the same time, though, ie that may be difficult to do with, and that is that i believe the clear and present danger is less an absence of freedom of speech and more an absence of quality of speech, or rather what we might call, and all -- and i don't think think censorship is that easy to achieve in the communication ecology in which we live, but it think we're seeing a kind of gresham's law of speech in which bad speech is driving a good speech. and here then we get into the issue of quality. both institutions of higher education and journalism have
professional standards. and i'm interested in how those professional standards might possibly be applied when we think of the speakers that we're going to have on campus. we certainly don't, we don't say standards, professional standards, are immutable and perfect. there are people who burst beyond them in wonderful ways. but we also can't do without them. and to that extent i call myself a conservative, a conservative as in someone who cares about tradition, history, values and the institutions that support those values. and what's interesting is the word conservatism has been subjected to its own gresham's law and thrown around by people who have no notion of the tradition of conservatism and probably could recognized either -- could not recognize either edmund burke or william buckley and a two-person lineup. leave that for the moment.
now, the other issue then is that caring about quality and prioritizing also touches upon the issue of resource allocation. let's say some controversial speaker is going to involve a lot of money to make a safe and reasonable venue. in my college, which was a liberal arts college, the major moving parts of the budget financial aid and compensation for faculty and staff. financial aid based on need. where will resources come you might need to deal with a speaker? and particularly with state legislatures, they're going to lean particularly on institutions while not giving them the money they need to support their basic work, this could be a problem. now, the first and i'm not going to get into because there are real experts around and maybe during the discussion we can talk about that. what could be a process then for achieving some reasonable way of prioritizing one's speakers? we could think of a
representative group involving, a representative democracy involving students, faculty and administrators who receive requests for speakers and actually get together and agree that they want a diversity of views, but that they prioritize them in some evidence-based, let's have an interesting conversation about this way. that gets us into a final point, and then i will stop, as whether we mainly see our colleges and universities as like marketplaces, a free marketplace of ideas. the problem being often the invisible left-hand does not know what the invisible right hand is doing and vice versa. or whether we see them as able to function as democratic participatory community. >> thank you. pranav? >> i want to thank you all for coming. i just want to say before i get into some of the point is i'm very excited to be here sitting amongst professionals and their respective fields of protecting
individual rights and here i am, a mere college student. it's exciting for me to be here. again, i'm the founder of bridge count, which is an organization at berkeley that seeks to create spaces where all of views and opinions are welcomed but are going to be challenged the debate and discussion. rather than trying to protect free speech for its own sake, we feel we are an organization that tries to protect free speech for the driving purpose behind free speech. in my opinion, the driving purpose behind free speech is to create a political environment where people can come together and talk about what they disagree with without having to engage in violence. where political pull are polarin be ameliorated when the two opposite sides basically are able to humanize one another. i think that it's important to understand that free speech is all about creating a political environment. rather than protecting free
speech for the sake of free speech itself. so i want to give a little bit of background about how we came to be at berkeley and what we've done this past semester, give you a bit of insight on the political climate before we jump in. we kind of started our organization when we saw the results of this past election, when we saw people at our university, at my university basically saying i can't even fathom how someone would vote for trump, i can't even fathom what's going on inside the heads of these individuals, and political polarity has been increasing and we are at this point in our country, very crucial breaking point in our country, where we need to decide how we're going to proceed forward. if we're going to exist despite our differences. we created our organization last year. after the riot that happened when milo was planning to speak, i covered those rights as a -- those riots and i was
actually beaten during the milo riots. i was very front and center of the issue itself and that's when i started writing for the organizations and getting my organization front and center in this issue, speaking about it nationally. and throughout the semester, we have been basically creating spaces of discussion and inviting the republicans and democrats to come out on issue-based discussions. that's when we tried to do this speaker issue at the end of year on illegal immigration. we had, the republicans give us who they wanted to speak, and ann coulter, the democrats give us who they wanted to speak, and our democratic speaker spoke but then you all know what happened when ann coulter wasn't able to speak because of a lot of issues. what i'm going to say today is that this whole issue about free speech is lot more nuanced than what it appears to be in a
single headline or what appears to be on the surface. it's very, very nuanced. you have the university at one end trying to do all they can, but as judith mentioned, when they don't even have the resources to legally protect speakers who want to speak, do they call in the national guard? from the right, you know, you have people trying to push these limits, to try to test these limits of free speech, to try and invite the most provocative speaker or the next provocative speaker. that's another issue that will be under discussion today. there's a lot of moving parts, and mostly at the end of the day what i would call what happened was a breakout of logistics combined with just inability to protect a speaker because of resources. >> so i want to ask the panelists about that, some issues you just raised. we follow lots of campus
speakers, and milo and ann are not the only voices from the right to appear on campus. and a prominent controversial politician like rand paul, who notably has made a point of going to historically black campuses where he may not have a fan base, or newt gingrich. they are giving speeches about ideas. i don't know if they're converting anybody, but they are giving speeches about ideas, whereas ann and milo are pretty much insulting people. regardless of whether you agree with their politics. i'm curious, it's hard to think of them as giving speeches of ideas. does it concern you that they are the ones capturing all the attention in terms of the free speech issue, but also in terms of the educational experience of students? >> i mean, they wouldn't have gotten some attention if there had not been riots. these are two people who have
spoken on campus after campus over the years with people deciding to either protest outside or just not to attend. when it comes to the logistical issue of inviting someone like ann coulter or absolute bomb throwers, both of them, milo happily calls himself a troll. we were fairly easy on berkeley, initially after the big rights -- big riots on february 1 because it made sense to us that a university could feel overwhelmed when you have 1500 students show up, and they claim which, 100 andf 50 of which, according to the university, where in gauged in violence. -- where engaged in violence. i watched the whole thing. i think it's hard to distinguish in some cases. i think the distinction is not that easy to make. when we stop being patient with is one berkeley promised to do an investigation. they talked about pressing charges against people who, like
i said, could have easily killed some people. we don't know whether or not these people were students. and according to some people i some people. we don't know whether or nothavy people who said, no, i was there . we were all part of it. is reason why we don't know because they never conducted this investigation. there was at least $100,000 worth of damage. that's something we've want to protect the private for free speech on campus and for controversy speakers there has to be consequences to responding violently. now that they're not and has been you create a situation or you're essentially inviting it , the heckler's veto. >> to get back to the question about the various different kinds of folks that have been involved, i think it's been extremely unfortunate that we go from milo and ann and end up with charles murray because i see them as rather different cases in terms of the issue of quality. who should you be listening to
and who should you engage with if you disagree and mike you actually learn something from because colleges and universities are in the teaching and learning business. it is good if they create the right political climate. i think in terms of someone like say you did lte's have a prioritizing process involved. someone says i think she's kind of a self-promoting lightweight who has a dreadful mean streak. and this is why -- and then you bring forth something she has written to bolster your view. someone else might say no, look, she's had some worthwhile things to say that we can really learn from, and then you have a discussion of ann coulter based on something remotely resembling evidence and reason, which i think should be good things to foster along with free-speech. >> back to the question again, the fact that we are going from
these conservatives like edmund burke and william buckley to conservatives like milo coulter, it and ann is a big issue. to shed some light into the issue, a lot of students will invite provocative speakers because they know that journalists will jump on it. they know they will get publicity from it and they know they're going to elevate themselves in their own organizations by doing that. one tip i would give is make sure you look into the intention of why a speaker is being invited when that happens. of course, we ourselves did not want the media frenzy that went on. it was the republican's choice on campus and that's why she was a speaker. but amongst the republicans on campus, there are two different factions. there is a faction that wanted to invite her because they align with her views and there is a faction that was driving the process because they knew this media frenzy would arise. and now they're getting a lot of success from what they did. they planned this whole thing. they understood what they were doing.
this small minority, this group of people that wanted her to come because they felt they aligned with her the best out of any other conservative speaker on the issue of illegal immigration, i think it is important to understand that some students will want to invite the most far right, or ker, and far left spea if we do not go ahead and allow them to have, you know, an event where they can hear that speaker's views, and engage with the speaker of their choice, then i think that does not go towards protecting free speech or is in line with the mission of having a large spectrum of political opinion on university campuses. >> i want to ask a question about the issue of the security cost associated with controversial speakers, which has come up a lot in the coverage, particularly of berkeley.
a few years ago when salman rushdie started to emerge from isolation, he made some campus appearances that required very expensive security arrangements, and he was able to speak without harm as a result. when most people wouldn't put salman rushdie and ann coulter in the same group, at the same time, people raise the question of the fairness of imposing security costs on student groups. if you want, if a student group is inviting a speaker, or a faculty group is inviting a speaker, is it legit for cost of security to be a factor in the university involvement? greg: i actually wanted to start with a clarification about the state of the law in california because i know some of you are reporters from california. california is unique in that it
has a law called the limit law that applies first amendment standards even to private universities, a nonsectarian university. ter alma mat stanford was successfully sued for having a speech code, for example. can universities turn the costs on controversial speakers onto students themselves? this has been something the universities have attempted pretty much every single year i've been at fire. this is an old strategy and it was addressed in a similar case, called foresight v. nationalist movement. i've been at fire. the supreme court said a mayor cannot just decide to charge a group that invites come that has a nationalist movement more money because they know angry people will show up. as the supreme court said in the case, this would essentially empower bottle throwers. bottleunpopular with
throwers would not be able to speak anymore. if you grade a situation where there is an incentive for people to responding violently, they are going to keep responding violently. you basically tell the bullies, i'm going to stop you by giving you everything you want. does that mean in some cases universities have to shoulder a larger cost to controversial speakers to send a message that we are not going to tolerate violent response? because you can't. as soon as you make that effective and we've made that effective in california, you can expect that pattern to be repeated. that's why the supreme court said, we are not going to allow this incredibly easy technique -- this has happened at ucla by the way many years ago. there was a group that wanted to have a debate about immigration. it was a pro-immigration group, open borders libertarians. they invited one open borders libertarians and one pro-wall trump type person.
there was huge protest on the campus and the university wanted to get away with charging them $5,000 in security fees. we intervened. we do not object to security fees, unless they are unreasonable. i think this very quickly almost instantly becomes a technique for keeping even much tamer speakers of and speaking after campus. judith: i guess i would just go back to the issue of when you're talking about resources, the question that comes to mind is what we getting for your money? so, the question really is, if it's going to be an expenditure of resources, you have the right to say ok, is it worth it? which i think gets us back to, can we come up with some reasonable way of talking about quality? n institution with spend a lot of its hard-earned money on someone ise milo yiannopoulos ridiculous to me. i think the question becomes
yes, let's have some controversial speakers. let's than invest because we have to because we think this is someone who has something to say that the students should know about and then we spend the money. scott: but what do you do, so milo, by and large, is not part of the campus speakers series created through the kind of process you describe. it's usually a student group getting outside money, because milo and ann don't come cheap to campus, and they're getting outside money, so they have made the decision outside the university's prepared speaker series. do you limit security to those -- do you have different rules for if the speaker was invited through an official sanctioned group, or not? judith: well, maybe we rethink. we go back to basics ok, how do we bring speakers to campus? we can begin with an individual faculty member, and we get into academic freedom. wanting a particular speaker in the context of the faculty
member's course, will it contribute to that course? way at the other end we get at commencement, where it seems to me we should recognize that we have on her hands a ritual activity, not the time for great debate over something no one agrees about. so, in between, you think about what are these other kinds of evidence, and how might some of them, again, not just be off in their own corner, but working together around kinds of events and speakers. pranav: about the security cost that you asked about, i think that that's the berkeley college republicans had to pay a hefty cost for milo, and again for ann. they didn't end up paying that but they're going to have to. you know, the thing is that when you levy such a high security fee on these groups, you're basically saying to them, if you want this speaker to come, here's what's going to happen.
there will be a lot of violent protesters and violent groups. you basically have to deal with your own mess that you create. when it's not even your responsibility to deal with someone else's mess in response to the views you are trying to voice. i do think when they call it a de facto tax on free speech, i kind of agree with them. i do agree they are being placed in a very tricky position when they can't invite the speaker that the want to speak because there will be violence. to greg's point, i think when of give into threats violence, when a university gives into threats, you are basically allowing the violent agitators to be successful, even before they land one punch. that is a very dangerous president to set when you are going to prevent a speaker from speaking because of the threat of violence. importantsources are fuel towards protecting all different types of speakers.
there obviously has to be some kind of limit. we are talking about actual money here and resources that are not infinite. what are we going to do? and that is a conversation we should have. nevertheless, the direction we should be pushing towards. to the point, what if we can set up different ways of determining whether or not a speaker would be useful towards admission. -- towards the academic mission. i think that these campus groups are basically on their own inviting speakers. to say to a campus group, this is not in line with our academic mission, you can't invite xyz, i think that is also potentially precedentngerous presiden that would be set. scott: how do you get to the question of worth? is it worth it? new jersey just passed a law six years after the star of the jersey shore appeared on-campus, and it is known as the snooki law after her.
banning the use of state funds. i believe it was $30,000, which was more than rutgers previously paid for toni morrison, arguably a more significant figure in our culture. >> arguably? >> and snooki is not controversial in the political sense, but i am curious, what do you think colleges should do to encourage more toni morrison and less snooki in terms of actually being educational? is where it becomes tough and where the culture war becomes exhausting. i am always in the middle of this and conservatives would argue, it is like yes, but you had amy schumer here and sarah silverman and kathy griffin. and one of my free speech idols, two of them are lenny
bruce and george carlin. they are both at campuses all time. at the time, where people saying, this person should not be on campus? they were saying that then. as soon as you start trying to evaluate people on the basis of the quality of the discourse they are bringing to campus, that is when a lot of people's biases present themselves. judith: i don't know. i think lenny bruce could stand up to a stringent comparison to milo in terms of quality. but i see the problem. greg: people disagree because milo has a combination of conservative humor and bomb throwing and tries to be serious in different ways, similar to what harlan and bruce would do. pranav: i think it is important to understand why these people are being invited to campus, specifically at a campus like
berkeley feel disenfranchised in a lot of ways because of the environment they exist in. so they are going to make a decision to invite not the best reflection of their views or the most reasonable person, but a bomb thrower like ann coulter. i think it is important to create that environment, where again, what we try to do is create an environment at universities where all students feel welcome to voice their opinions and we could have reasonable conversations about political issues. you don't have to say the most vile thing because we have an environment where we have a respectful discussion where you can voice your views in a respectful way that advances the conversation further. i think it is all about creating those environments at universities. that is the way to move forward. judith: can i ask you a question? i want to ask you a question. do you the republican student group that wanted ann coulter has a sense of who might
represent their views at a more worthy, robust level? pranav: i definitely think so. judith: and they wouldn't invite them instead for what reason? pranav: number one, it is hard to go to someone like john mccain and say, we really like what you had to say about xyz issue. it is hard to get these prominent conservatives to our less far right or less inflammatory because the those of speakers already have a platform. these inflammatory speakers like ann coulter, they want to come to berkeley. they want to use berkeley. milo made some kind of statement, saying he would come next semester and organize a free-speech week. i think a lot of people along this strain of conservatives basically are ready to come, and
so willing to come. i think more prominent conservatives like john boehner, for example, should stand up and say -- scott: i'm laughing because by accident i got to sit next to john boehner on the flight down to florida and i have never met a man happier to be done with his job. and more like, nope, it is all over for me. i'm done with this stuff. so, i was just laughing. [laughter] pranav: maybe a lot of conservatives who are still prominent who would garner a lot of attention, a lot of audience members and have a big event, should come to campus and step up and say, i want to speak, because we definitely need more people who are willing to come to campus. scott: i want to ask one more question and then open up for audience questions. so, please feel free to head to
the mic. we were talking before the panel started that gallup does polls of students and asked, do you believe in free speech? overwhelmingly large majorities of students across political, racial and ethnic groups say yes. then, if you asked, do you favor college policies that ban hate speech, which tends to be defined as speech that is than a grading to a group, -- that is denigrating to a group, majorities across racial and political lines say yes and don't apparently see a contradiction between their two answers to the question. and so i am curious from an educational perspective, should this is a concern to college leaders? what should colleges be doing about it? what questions should journalists be asking about this sense of free speech that maybe doesn't go with the constitutional sense of free-speech?
greg: i have been saying my entire career there should be greater coverage of issues of freedom of speech and principles of academic freedom in orientation itself because a lot of times when i talk to students they don't get the larger systemic idea of creation of truth and conflict of ideas and sometimes when administrators are coming to me saying, students are demanding the censorship, i say, did you ever explain these principles of freedom of speech? they are not learning these principles in high school. a lot of what fire tries to do, we try to educate students about these bigger ideas of tolerating the opinions you described, for example. judith: since the amendment is part of the constitution, there's also the issue of the level to which students do or don't have a grasp of the nation's basic institutions, including the constitution. and i think we might think about
what students encounter in the curriculum of their institutions. here is where the right and the left can come together, although some of us feel it is not just that we need to study what is great about america, but what is true about america. the good, the bad and the ugly. i think having not only a sense of what they need to know about free-speech and the first amendment and academic freedom, which are all slightly different things, is what do they need to know about the core institutions of their own country? pranav: i agree with that as well. i think that, what i try to do with my own organization at uc berkeley, we are trying to expand to other campuses across the nation, but what i try to do is we organize discussions about free speech itself, for example, where we try to talk about the importance of free-speech and talk about whether difficult questions, like whether or not there should be a line you can
or cannot cross. i think that is something we need more conversations on. i think the reason why so many kids my age in college don't grasp the complete importance of first amendment ideals is because, or at least partially, because the direction this country is headed in, being driven to different extremes, when you have people saying more inflammatory things now more than ever. someone like milo, not to my knowledge, existed 30 or 40 years ago. so i think we are being driven to very, very disparate extremes. we are a very divided country right now. it is disheartening to see that so many students don't understand that importance. i think that education is very important. the university's mission should in part be, like judith mentioned, the education of
constitutional ideals for example. and why that is so important to create a diversity of ideas and diversity perspective in academic environment. personally, what i am doing right now is trying to create a faculty coalition of faculty across this country who will find onto a statement saying they will maintain a commitment to trying to preserve a wide variety of perspectives on any given issue they talk about. i am trying to do that and i think initiatives like that would be very important. scott: questions, and if you could all introduce yourselves, please. >> i am brian, from the grand rapids press in grand rapids, michigan. we have had some of the campus free' free-speech bill introduced into the state legislature. those are based on the goldwater institute model. a lot of the concerns that have been brought up regarding the mandatory suspension for students who have twice been
found responsible for infringing upon other people's free-speech rights. i'm trying to get a sense of if this legislation has been in place or approved long enough to gauge what impact it has had on free-speech, especially in greg: it hasn't been and even though we agree with some of the stuff from the goldwater package and some of the stuff we disagree with we are civil libertarians, we don't agree with mandatory sentences for anything but the idea of something as vague as interrupting or interfering with a speech and having a mandatory punishment, we don't support that at all. looks like versions of these laws will get past in a lot of states. some of them are fine. others, every time we go this part is good, we also have to
say this part is not good and might be struck down by a court, but it is too early to know what they will mean. meanwhile, fire got a law passed in virginia prevented public universities of virginia saying here is your 20 foot free-speech zone and that is the only place you can protest on campus. that has been the place for years and worked out fine. and in missouri, one of the things in the backdrop of the case, we got it passed the summer before but one reason they couldn't tell protesters they had to go to a little tiny zone. >> under state laws, journalists should be calling out legislators who are pushing these in the name of free speech but are not free speech with any consistency. tennessee is one of the states with such a law, tennessee loves free speech, people should write about that, the tennessee legislature punished the university of tennessee for having a diversity office. and wisconsin, where they are pushing one of these laws, the
same legislators who are trying to cut funds to madison because there is a course on white privilege. leaving aside the issues regarding the laws, i think people are letting legislators pretend that they are free-speech purists when they are anything but. greg: north carolina did something similar. >> my question is for greg. what i was wondering is somebody could make an argument for any speaker you want to have for any reason, there is probably some argument you can make, even if it is to say by exposing racism, you are the archie bunker thing where you show how absurd it is, you get people talking about race or whatever. what i was wondering is, is there any line to cross where you would think it is inappropriate for university to have that speaker?
would david duke come to that point? any white supremacist known for anything, maybe even somebody who is not known for anything but their hatred? greg: i get this question wildly out of proportion to the number of times i have seen anything like that happen. people are like, what about the klan, and i am like, we are talking about bill maher now. >> some people see milo that way. greg: you are wondering where the line is. for me i have a simple philosophy on freedom of speech. it is valuable to know what people actually think especially when it is bad. that means, i'm not saying you should invite 9/11 truthers to your campus but a lot of people actually believe the government was behind it. and what the conspiracy looked like. i take a very scientific kind of mentality where it is
important to know what people think. we just lived through an election where there was a substantial portion of the country with its fingers and its ears about what people actually thought and we ended up with a strange electoral result that we didn't see coming. judith: i would add the issue of where can and do people get information in these times? the question is, the obligation to have the person physically on your campus giving a speech as opposed to other ways you can expose them to it is something to keep in mind. scott: these days, a lot of press coverage of speaker dis-invitations focuses on speaker set offend the left. i would say there is a larger number of cases of religious colleges banning or does inviting speakers who in some way disagree with religious doctrine. is that problematic? greg: it is. if you go to the fire website, we have a disinvitation database where we keep track of that. there is a clear trend.
if it is from on campus, generally it is coming from the left of the speaker because sometimes if the speaker is on the left, we say from the left, but in previous years we have seen plenty of examples like the cardinal newman society demanding a speaker not speak on their campus and we called them out for it. i have to say, though, in the past two or three years, more attempts have come from people on the left partially because of popularity people like milo. and ben shapiro and ann coulter. in previous years it has been a hodgepodge. scott: it is interesting in terms of press coverage, we covered a religious institution that inadvertently invite a pro-abortion rights speaker. that was not even what her claim to fame was, but she happened to have supported abortion rights. it got no broad coverage at a time that many pundits are very focused on this issue. and i don't know why that is,
but it is notable. pranav: if i could address that question. you know, partially, the recently are on board with inviting ann coulter to campus, we wanted people to not feel isolated. we want people to say my voice is being represented and that was the republican. and we wanted to invite her also because if you view her as hateful and inflammatory and nothing of value, why not go ahead and challenge her? we were creating a larger q&a event with her that would essentially be liberal berkeley students challenging coulter on the issue of illegal immigration. so, partially the reason we would invite someone so far right or so far beyond the line of what most people would think is reasonable, is because we would bring that viewpoint into an environment where it can be
challenged by people who disagree. scott: greg, would it be legit for a university to say we will only host speakers who take q&a? greg: i have never seen that. i think they could do that. >> i am linda flanagan from san francisco. i feel like something that is not being discussed is the role of faculty in all of this. i understand at middlebury, some knowledge of what happened there personally, in the aftermath i know faculty have been divided about the best way to investigate and punish. there have been divisions on age lines. the older faculty being more free speech and younger being, it shouldn't have been allowed. so i wonder if you could address that issue. judith: that is a very important point because faculty members have been missing in action around this whole matter,
leaving it a student versus administration situation. and i think that is profoundly unhealthy. i think there are some faculty who have engaged and engaged thoughtfully, but you made an important point, they should be far more visible because they are the ones doing the teaching for the students to be doing the learning. greg: even though i share in that opinion entirely, i want to give the other side of that, which is if you look at what happened at yale or evergreen state university, relatively small acts of dissent are treated like major crimes in a way i am not used to seeing. one thing that did shift in the past couple years is we are seeing more faculty saying they are nervous about saying the wrong thing and how easily they can be punished. pranav: after this debacle the last semester, a lot of faculty reached out to me and this is impetus for the coalition i'm building, but a lot reached out and said we are a large silent
majority at berkeley who believe there should not be any line or type of restriction on hate speech, or we believe anyone should be allowed to speak. there are a lot of faculty not being covered in the media and that is important to take away. a lot of faculty at a university like berkeley would represent a silent majority who would believe anyone should be allowed to speak and they haven't been heard. judith: i was wondering whether these were the silent majority. greg: tenure is a big disappointment. i do actually have to leave in two minutes. i'm not making a political statement, just have something i have to do. at middlebury as the questioner referred, prior to the event, some faculty members said
charles murray should not have been invited. a lot of people at the political science department, it was us to cosponsor the charles murray appearance and agreed to do so on the grounds that they agreed to cosponsor anything remotely having to do with political science. they have since apologized and said they shouldn't have. and so faculty, i think, are very divided on these issues. >> i am sarah brown with the chronicle of higher education. something you could briefly expand upon, the educational aspect of this and what colleges can do to educate students about free speech if they don't have great knowledge about constitutional values, the kind of things colleges can specifically teach them and how they might do it, whether it is through freshman orientation or other approaches. greg: i do think it is funny because universities hire all sorts of consultants about risk management.
we are always butting hands with the risk management industry. i think some schools are trying to create orientations and that is the best time to do it. if you frame in people's mind the idea that being occasionally shocked or being like, well, you are one of those people who voted for trump and handle that, it is best to get people prepared for that upfront. i think there are some really wonderful speakers who could be invited to explain that. i think nadine strossen is incredibly compelling about this. so i think doing it early and doing it, but not legalistically, explaining it from a philosophical standpoint. judith: i would agree certainly that some good information presented in an engaging lively way during orientation is a good idea. and looking to the curriculum,
seeing how these matters are covered in which students are likely to get them. i happen to have been involved in a form of teaching based on very elaborate historical gains and there were a number of them set at various periods of american history and students take on roles that are at variance with their own beliefs and they argue and debate and they have to read some things to do that. so i think there are opportunities in the actual curriculum to contribute to that. pranav: scott mentioned a gallup poll and this question would revolve around this idea that millennials are basically this group of politically apathetic people who don't care for free speech. but my experience is the contrary. a lot of students my age really, really have very interesting things to say.
whether or not they have an argument that is contrary to mine about free speech, they are very intellectually engaged and politically engaged and have a lot to say. and i think in this debate about free speech, this whole group of students in the middle have not really been given a platform to have their voice heard by the national media and a good thing to do when covering free-speech issues would be to try and get as best as you can a large variety of student opinions from the middle, as well, and not just the people who invited a speaker and the people trying to silence her. scott: on the subject of orientations, being the last academic year, rather famously at the university of chicago sent a letter to students saying you won't find any trigger warnings or cancel any speakers here.
and so, it sort of meant that. but i am not sure that evidence shows the lecturing form may be best suited because a lot of students were insulted by that, even many who support free speech. i also think that discussions about, and the university of chicago hasn't withdrawn any speaking invites, but they had a bit of a controversy when they invited a top trump aide and made the event off the record, they banned students from writing about it. similar to the q&a issue, i find it interesting to explore what is truly a free and open event at a campus. is an off the record event free and open? and even at a place that holds itself up as the ultimate champion of free speech, which side? >> hi, i'm linda bruckheimer and i am a boston-based journalist and author and i spent many months last school year dealing
with classes between the pro-israel group and the pro-palestinian group. and there was something that seemed like a fairly minor event. it was a taste of israel event, and the pro-palestinian group disrupted the event. this is another kind of free speech issue i wanted to raise for reporters to think about. but also had a question about it. so it came up in my reporting for that piece, a lot of questions over when is it simply free-speech versus when is it anti-semitic what they are doing? on campus there was a group formed by the former uc chancellor where they have been writing many commentaries against what palestinian groups are doing, you get faculty involved in this. i think it probably going to start with judy schapiro on this. have you had some issues with
protesters or no? judith: the issue when i was there was a tenured case of a palestinian american anthropologist who was given tenure and i got a certain amount of hostile mail from some irritated alums and the tenure process went through. the president is the guardian of the integrity of the tenure process. there were teaching reviews, scholarship reviews. i was never involved. it was unpleasant to get these, i am never giving you any money again. you look up and find out these people never gave you money in the first place. but leaving that aside, that was nothing like the sort of thing we see going on now. and it has truly become toxic, the idea that any criticism of israel is anti-semitic, i don't have any easy solution for it.
>> where you should should draw the line, what you saw as their policy, they backed off a little bit. should universities get involved or is it simply free-speech, leave it alone? judith: i think it is not different from any form. in other words, is the behavior appropriate or inappropriate, that would fall under other kind of disagreement. scott: i actually think there's an interesting role for journalists, today there is a commencement speech where the speaker is linda dsarsour, who has been widely attacked. people can debate what they want about her views on the israeli-palestinian conflict but much of what has been written about her is factually incorrect. because she follows much of islamic law, the allegation is she wants sharia law in the united states. and just as everyone who keeps kosher doesn't expect kashrut to
be the law of the land of the united states, everybody who follows islamic tradition doesn't expect it as law. i do think there is a hesitancy among journalists to say, this isn't true. and i think journalists need to say when an allegation is completely false. again, not about what her views are on israel-palestine. similar to the tactic of interrupting to prevent speaking has been common at a number of events for speakers who are supportive of israel. for some reason, middlebury captured more attention than a series of disruptions along those lines. they were slightly less youtube friendly.
in the anti-israel disruptions, there would be one person shouting, then another, then another, so it didn't make compelling youtube, which i fear is deciding in press coverage of these. and it's understandable. but certainly i would say, every week i get five to 10 emails proposing articles on either pro-israel groups or pro-palestinian groups. or the other. it is a very contentious issue. time for one more question. >> i am a georgetown faculty member. we think the problem isn't really about the faculty. [laughter] >> but i have four kids of my own. their ages 14 to 20. two are in college right now. we've talked about this. i wonder if some of the disconnect
between what college students believe is free speech, but the restrictions on hate speech that they see that as a conflict comes out of the anti-bullying program that they've all come up with in school. i was just in my eighth-grader's classroom and on the wall it says sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will really hurt me. which is the opposite of what we grew up with. my kids are very clear that if you said something in high school that crosses the line, you could be expelled. they going to college thinking about that. judith: that's a very interesting point. but if somehow we can compare the difference between being eight years old and being 18 years old, that would be part of the issue. scott: i have to say, in one of the milo incidents, i think at
the university of wisconsin lockheed, where there is a big blow back, he attacked students by name, putting the person's photo up. he does a lot of video. and attacking by name. and some have made the case that a university has a responsibility speaker is involved in direct harassment of individual students by name. pranav: i think the harassment of individual students, i think most people, even most republicans i think, would call that, characterize that as hate speech. but i think there's some on the left, especially many student who would call a lot of the expression of political opinion amongst conservative students hate speech as well. it's an interesting question. how do we distinguish between hate speech and political
opinion? i think many students are conflicted on that. i definitely thought that was a very interesting point. i think it's true and i think it's also the result of an inability to essentially see where the other side is coming from. scott: so i lied. i actually will allow one more question because greg, if you don't know him, is the new president here. he's the boss here. he is a great educational reporter at usa today. i'm sure he will have something great to say. >> i am feeling my power already. just a quick question for judith. i wonder if you'd help us as journalists just process things like the secretary's commencement address the other day. i mean, it seems like there are two ways you could look at it. number one, sort of free speech run amok, or you can look at it
as free speech. students stood up to what they feel is sort of an oppressive system. if you had been on stage, would you have said -- scott: busy karen, when betsy devos spoke. >> the background as she spoke, and students stood up chanting, created quite a big row. when i found this interesting than anything is the president at one point stood up and said, if this keeps up, we are going to mail you your diplomas. i guess i just wonder, it is hard for me to ask you to step into his shoes. do you think that was appropriate? what might your reaction have been? judith: given that the invitation was already offered, and again, i will repeat that i really don't think commencement
is the time to bring someone whom you know will be controversial. it is a ritual, it should be about families and celebration. leaving that all aside, it would be one thing if students stood up quietly and turned, but if students are interrupting the speech and the president has gone on record in inviting the person, i think there should be some consequence. scott: some important distinctions, having watched the entire thing. while they were loud, they weren't so loud as to prevent her from speaking. i think that's an important distinction and it doesn't prevent people from criticizing those who respect the speaker. at notre dame, when students
walked out on vice president pence, the students did not even chant. they just walked out. if you read descriptions of them is certain elements of the blogosphere, you'd think it was the middlebury situation. i also think for judith's point about commencement, there are issues specifically at an historically black institution. to the extent that historically black institutions say, come to us because we respect you, we love you. we know where you came from. and we know where your parents came from and what they did to produce this experience. i do think there's some interesting questions about why you would invite somebody who had so recently said things so offensive on school choice to historically black colleges. i do think it is interesting that texas southern right after that, they had invited john cornyn, their senator. students were threatening to do a cookman and uninvited him.
and again, the question is not to come to lecture on campus and take questions and interact, but i do think it is not a coincidence that larry summers doesn't do a lot of women's college commencement. [laughter] scott: at the same time, larry summers has lots of opportunities to share his ideas. and so i do think there's interesting possibilities there. pranav: while i see the distinction between what happened at that university versus something like notre dame and mike pence, one was actively trying to silence the speaker. the other was, i'm not going to listen to you. they are completely different. but i still do see why there was major criticism, even toward notre dame students, because it's a sign of intolerance when you're not willing to listen when you have things you disagree with or someone you disagree with. that's why they were criticized. summing this up, i think the
whole purpose behind free speech has been left out of much of the discussion about free speech. you know? it's about creating a multitude of perspectives where you are willing to listen to all different perspectives. form your own from listening to a wide range of perspectives, and be able to engage in discussion with the people you disagree with. scott: so i really value the free speech we had today. please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] [indiscernible] >>