The Oklahoman is not a big fan of free speech…
1:30 PM EDT on May 20, 2014
A few weeks ago, we told you that student protests were planned for Mary Fallin's commencement speech at Oklahoma City Community College. We told you this because a student sent us the following email:
Dear Lost Ogle,
OCCC students are planning to protest Gov. Fallin speaking at OCCC’s graduation on May 16th by turning their backs and not applauding her speech.
Since 2008, Oklahoma Higher Ed funding has dropped by 106 million, which is about 10%. On Feb. 3rd, Denise Northrup (speaking for Fallin) told State Regents that Fallin’s budget proposal for 2014 included a 5% cut to Higher Ed.
As a consolation to the cuts, Fallin said colleges can use “substantial revolving fund balences”(AKA rainy day funds) to “cushion the blow.”
Teacher pay in Oklahoma is ranked 49th in the country.
These are some of the reasons why students don’t want the governor to speak at their graduation ceremony. It is insulting to have a leader speak at such an occasion when she has been so hostile towards education.
Well, I guess this is what I get for trusting the word a community college student.
According to several Moles, the commencement ceremony went off without any hitch or any protest. In fact, the school even honored Governor Fallin by giving her a state trooper blow up doll purchased from Patricia's. The governor got so flustered she gave it a raise on the spot. I heard everyone got a good laugh out of it.
This will come as a welcomed news the editorial writing gang at The Oklahoman. They penned a lengthy, preachy editorial criticizing groups who protest University speakers in last Friday's paper:
America's college campuses, where speech isn't so free anymore
WELCOME to America’s college campuses, where the feelings of students are never to be bruised and where freedom of speech is reserved for only some of those doing the speaking. Examples abound from coast to coast.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s case may be the best known. A Muslim and an outspoken advocate of women’s rights, Hirsi Ali was to have received an honorary degree from Brandeis University. But when faculty members, students and Muslim groups complained, the university quickly withdrew its offer.
The notion of Condoleeza Rice, secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, delivering the commencement speech at Rutgers University was too much to bear for enlightened students and faculty there. Can’t have anyone associated with that war-mongering Bush 43 talking to us, by golly!
At Azusa Pacific University in California, political scientist and author Charles Murray was invited to give a lecture. The announcement about Murray, a libertarian best known for his book “The Bell Curve,” was met with protest. So the administration “delayed” the talk. He then used an open letter to tell students that the administration “wants to protect you from earnest and nerdy old guys who have opinions that some of your faculty do not share. Ask if this is why you’re getting a college education.”..
According to the Foundation for International Rights in Education, a free-speech advocacy group, there have been 95 protests of planned speeches on college campuses since 2009, resulting in 39 cancellations. “There are serious implications for what is going on here,” Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, told The Wall Street Journal. “Universities are becoming havens of the closed-minded.”
This behavior isn’t confined to the halls of higher learning, of course. In April, howls of protest from Oklahoma conservatives over U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder being selected to speak to the newest class of Oklahoma City police officers resulted in Holder backing out. That was wrong.
Just to clarify. The free speech rights of individuals to express controversial opinions and philosophies to a captive audience without discourse should be encouraged, but the free speech rights of the people who oppose those views and are part of that captive audience should be discouraged??? While we're at it, let's jail controversial punk groups, too.
But the shoutdowns and protests on college campuses are more distressing because these are supposed to be the places where young people are encouraged to expand their horizons — not limit them. In the course of that expansion, a student’s sensibilities may get dinged but they’re likely to come away a little more learned.
Instead, as columnist George Will has said, the newest campus entitlement is “the right never to be annoyed.” Dartmouth University offers an especially egregious example.
Yeah, the new campus entitlement to not listen to old hacks who share George Will's views are so annoying. Those students in the 60s would never have thought of doing that.
A fraternity and sorority, each with “Phi” in the name, planned a late-April fundraiser for cardiac care. They called it a “Phiesta,” although costumes were explicitly discouraged and it wasn’t intended as a Mexican-themed event. No matter. A Mexican-American student called it “exploitative” and “inappropriate,” among other things. Administrators got involved and strong-armed the organizers to change their plans, which they ultimately did.
“We felt,” said a fraternity spokesman, “that the possibility of offending even one member of the Dartmouth community was not worth the potential benefits of having the fundraiser.” Even one.
Okay, even I'll admit that's kind of stupid and over reactionary.
Anyway, it's kind of funny that an organization like The Oklahoman that capitalizes and profits off the right to free speech would criticize the free speech rights of others, but this is The Oklahoman editorial page. They don't really specialize in logic and reason. Of course, I'm the same guy who thought these students were going to go through with the protest. I guess I don't specialize in it either.