We have been discussing the rollback of free speech on university and college campuses, particularly when it comes to conservatives or right-to-life advocates. As discussed recently, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulous has been the target of some of the most egregious effort to silence certain speakers and prevent other students from hearing opposing views. The latest such protest was held at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). After protesters blocked fellow students and faculty from entering to hear Yiannopoulous, campus police found an alternative avenue for the audience. However, a bomb threat was later called in and the room cleared by police. Once again, there does not appear to be outrage at the effort of students to block access to such speeches for other students and the denial of free speech on campus. I have no problem with protests but preventing speakers from being heard runs against the core values of an academic community.
Protesters held feminist signs and hung a large sign reading “Bruins Against Hate.” Given the blocking of other students, it appears that these Bruins also hate free speech. Hundreds of students and faculty were forced to find a different way to the auditorium and it is not clear why they should be displaced rather than have UCLA security guarantee regular access to such events.
When the event finally began, two feminist protesters proceeded to shout down the event. They were then escorted out (which is still better than the performance at DePaul last week). The event then went on as planned but a bomb threat was received near the end of the event.
The concerted effort to silence opposing views at UCLA is chilling and disgraceful. It is not enough for these students to protest. They have shout down speakers and blocked access to the auditorium. Universities are places for opposing views to be heard and tested — not censored or silenced.