Polly Wants a Crackdown on Campus Free Speech
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has announced its annual “Polly Awards” of “outrages” on college campuses: http://www.campusmagazine.org/articledetail.aspx?id=4ff8775f-04a8-45c7-b61c-e6a8f9f157a5. And unfortunately, this year’s awards follow the pattern of previous years in advocating censorship. After all, an “outrage” is something you want to see stopped.
For the 2005 awards, ISI condemns
Of course, ISI does manage to note some appalling restrictions on campus freedom. With 15 million students on 3,500+ campuses, it’s not hard to find a few anecdotes about repressive action by administrators. Yet ISI strangely omits all of the numerous cases where conservatives seek to censor liberal ideas on campus. Consider just a few of the outrages that they could have listed from the past year:
--The colleges that sought to ban Michael Moore from speaking last fall, and David Horowitz, who claims to have contacted a lawyer in an effort to sue
--Horowitz has also attacked freedom on campus with his Academic Bill of Rights and called for the banishment of all Peace Studies programs on college campuses.
--The Bush Administration, for banning Tariq Ramadan from teaching at Notre Dame.
--Arizona State University, for threatening to sue its own students under trademark law for starting a newspaper about ASU called the ASU Underground, for censoring the "Democracy in America" exhibit in fall 2004 to remove some “anti-Bush” art; for investigating John Leanos’ artwork about Pat Tillman; and several other controversies.
ISI, which funds right-wing campus newspapers, ought to be more consistent in advocating free speech for everyone. Freedom of expression isn’t an outrageous idea, and colleges shouldn’t be condemned by the right for encouraging it.