Cardiff and Tufts Universities: Two Divergent Paths On Free Speech

unknownunknown-3We recently discussed the courageous stand of the University of Chicago in favor of free speech (a position followed by schools like Purdue). We can now add the Cardiff University in Wales as a school standing with free speech principles over demands for censorship and “safe zones”. Conversely, student leaders at Tufts University unanimously voted against a measure protecting free speech by addressing the vague and fluid terms used to curtail free speech.

Cardiff took a strong stand for free speech in breaking away from other schools which have have imposed stringent speech codes and regulations. The university pledged to end its past censorship and platforming rules. It declared that it would not bar controversial speakers and that “censorship is not the answer.”

Instead, Cardiff passed a motion that was entitled “Challenge, Don’t Censor.” The motion declared that “students are capable of challenging intolerable views through rigorous debate; censorship is not the answer.”

Amen. This is particularly impressive in Europe where free speech is being sharply curtailed.

Across the pond, the students of Tufts University unanimously stood against free speech and in favor of vague standards used to regulate speakers on campus. Tufts have received the lowest grade for free speech by the organization FIRE. The students defeated a resolution from Tufts student Jake Goldberg that called for adding clarifications to the university’s speech guidelines. The resolution identified vague terms like “demeaning” language in seeking greater clarification in the lines of allowable and prohibited speech.

Students leaders denounced a resolution as creating an “unsafe” environment and declared that the resolution itself is harmful to students.

One student leader explained that “clarity in itself is subjective.” That certainly ends all debate. If clarity is subjective, isn’t all language subjective? If so, Tufts speech code sets student adrift on a sea of subjectivity – subject to discipline based on the subjective feelings or interpretation of the most offended or sensitive members of the community.

What is truly distressing are comments from students like senator Nesi Altaras who reportedly challenged the importance given free speech and said “there are other countries with free speech issues, and some countries handle them better than America.” Really? Which countries are those? This country has some of the highest protections for free speech. Those countries “handle” free speech by abridging it. There is of course the standard in 1984 where “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

Senator Ben Kesslen denounced the free speech resolution as “instantly” creating the view of an “unsafe” campus by even being proposed. He added “By passing this resolution, we [would be] making more students feel unsafe on a campus they already might not feel safe.”

Clearly these students have found a home at Tufts. Free speech is now viewed as a dangerous and threatening element on campus by students. Faculty who have pushed this pro-censorship line have succeeded in warping a generation of students into believing that speech regulation is a good thing and that free speech makes them unsafe. Where college students once marched against limitations on speech, they now readily defend such codes and the silencing of those with whom they disagree.

So there you have it: two divergent paths by two leading universities. In the end, however, the path chosen by Tufts will lead it further away from the core mission of educational institutions to challenge and stipulate thought in an open and free academic environment. Tufts and other universities are producing a generation of Orwellian “Little Brothers” — eager citizens supporting government restrictions on their own liberty. The impact of that trend will be felt far beyond the confines of our academic institutions.

As stated in the novel 1984, “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” Tufts students appear to have learned that true freedom is to be protected from free speech.

Here is the resolution’s language:

A Resolution Requesting Free Speech Rights for All Members of Tufts University
WHEREAS the TCU Senate has already unanimously passed “A Resolution Supporting Freedom of Expression,” on April 15, 2012, which urged the university to “respect and protect freedom of speech and freedom of expression at Tufts University, now and forever”;

WHEREAS Tufts’ Board of Trustees has previously declared, on November 7th, 2009, that freedom of expression and inquiry are fundamental to Tufts’ academic pursuits;

WHEREAS Tufts’ President Monaco has expressed the necessity of having a campus culture that protects the free and unfettered exchange of ideas, a deep concern of calls to silence speech on our university, the need to protect all points of view regardless of their unpopularity, and the need to respond to offensive speech with more speech rather than censorship;

WHEREAS Tufts University stated on October 26, 2016 that the university remains “committed to a campus climate that protects free speech and an open and vigorous exchange of ideas”;

WHEREAS The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education has stated that Title IX and the First Amendment are entirely compatible;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified threats to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Sexual Misconduct Policy (SMP). The SMP prohibits the following conduct if it is sufficiently serious, pervasive or persistent as to create a “demeaning” or “sexually offensive” environment: inappropriate communications via letters, telephone calls, emails, or texts; sexual jokes or describing of sexual conduct; comments on an individual’s body or appearance; comments about sexual activity or experiences; innuendos of a sexual nature; use of nicknames or terms of endearment; sexist statements or behavior; verbal conduct against those who are perceived to be failing to conform to expected notions of masculinity or femininity;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified threats to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Sexual Misconduct Brochure: the prohibition of gender bias; verbal conduct that creates an offensive environment in which to work; making statements that convey insulting or degrading attitudes or opinions based on gender; making sexually explicit jokes or statements;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified threats to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Bias Incident Reporting Procedures, as the following may lead to disciplinary punishment: taunting; biased-fueled jokes; derogatory language or negative images;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified threats to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Guide to On-Campus Living: the prohibition of speech that creates emotional harm; inappropriate language, inappropriate gestures, or hurtful words; and acts of intolerance and hate;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified threats to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Student Code of Conduct policy: the prohibition of speech that is not becoming of a Tufts’ student;

WHEREAS Students Advocating for Students has identified a threat to free speech due to the vagueness and lack of clarity in Tufts’ Email Policy: the prohibition of sending offensive emails;

therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED that the TCU Senate urge the administration to add clarifying language to the above identified policies, and all other similar campus policies, with First Amendment parameters and principles, so that we the students are fully aware of exactly what conduct violates Tufts’ policies and simultaneously receive the full protection of the First Amendment in regards to speech.

37 thoughts on “Cardiff and Tufts Universities: Two Divergent Paths On Free Speech

  1. The trump card in suppressing speech appears to be an assertion, no matter how ridiculous, that the speech might make someone feel unsafe. If the speech police are punishing offenders based on this highly subjective standard, wouldn’t this threat of arbitrary punishment itself be likely to cause someone to feel unsafe?

  2. Hey Squeek, Paul and Nick, fellow biblilophiles I am currently reading “The 500” by Mathew Quirk – a book I picked up in the refuse bin at one of the local dollar stores — and I am enjoying it immensely.

  3. Courtesy of the radiclaized Left, the American college campus is a wasteland of identity politics, censorship, shredded due process and sentimentality for some groups (primarily women, POCs and LGBTS) with all out hatred against straight, white males. The entire system needs a renaissance or a wrecking ball. It’s due to less people going to college (I can see why) and the zeal of administrators to get anyone they can to stay there so long as they or the government pays for classes like Rap Music in Contemporary Culture or Womyn’s Studies (yep it’s spelled right). Some stalwarts like the University of Chicago stand against the current but they are woefully few and far between.

  4. Just so you won’t miss anything let’s talk a bit about women and what’s described by Heritage Foundations characteriization of a conservative vote on the draft women proposal as a victory. Let’s call it what it is. Women will remain in second class status and citizens by their own choice and the support of the conservative (Whatever that means today didn’t check in with Carville and Lickoff nor the other secular progressive fictionary programmers.)

    Full citizenship is total rights and responsibilities for with each right comes a responsibility. Like TANSTAAFL someone has to protect that right or take up the slack and pick up the load or perhaps to put it bluntly do the hard part.

    From the first days of the Constitution and starting with the context of their times men have been the cannon fodder and women the baby factories. Stay at home producers of the next generations of warriors, weed the garden etc. Nothing more.

    They fought and gained the vote, became Rosy Posies and Riveting Rosy’s in WWII and gained partial parity, were elected to various offices and gained another step, Lately they have been admited to combat arms specialities with three graduating ranger school. To their indivdidal but not gender group credit.

    But failed to meet the test in the last election as the brave ‘culture ‘ warrirors continued to support sex crime enablers and continued to prove no only men can victimize women. That cost some votes as the wouldn’t make a pimple on a warriors ass supporters of the continued policy of turning their backs on their sisters in favor of Cute Butt Incorporated the ones smirking int he foreground and background.

    They failed completely in the years after Vietnam on a simple, then doable and winnable project had huge support to gain full citizenshipi. Now when Congressional Action once again denied parity they have only one other choice and that is to revisit those years of the past and work to repeal the draft.

    Women are not exempted from the draft anywhere in the Constitution. Men called up for duty in the State Militias (no longer in use and now the almost completely federallly funded National Guard a federally funded reserve unit system – There’s a reason for the word National)) have an age bracket listed in the Constitution and that’s all it says. No exemption for women except unstated public and government policy to keep women in second place. citizenship status. That last barrier now rests on repeal of the draft which in and of itself has no basis for existence other than in the non existent State Militias and is solely a creature of the Progressive Movement Wilson, FDR, LBJ and now the RINO’s right wing of the left .

    That vote is nothing to be proud of. So either kick in full ‘equal rights and responsibilities or call women what hey are….baby factories tied by apron strings

    The draft itself is alive, well and in full operation busy every year converting unwary 18 year olds from potential draftees to volunteer for military service awaiting reporting orders. Use of it is that fine print part no one reads. Only the elected left prncipally Wrangell before he went back to tax dodging called for it’s use but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ready, willing, and able at the stroke of a Presidential Pen to be used.

    https://www.sss.gov/ selectiveserviceregistration.com https://www.usa.gov/selective-servicee lists the penalties for those who do not voluntarily register – fines, jail time, denial of student loan money and denial of federal jobs Notice the oxymoron. The Military Conscription Act is now Selective Service as their are exemptions. Being a student is one. But the largest by far exempted group are females. – the baby factories – by vote of a conservative congress and by their own choice.

    They remain

    Second Class Citizens.

    Yet they still reap the same but unearned benefits as do the men. Unless of course they produce a future warrior. Not phony culture pimples but real warriors – or become one themselves by volunteering independently of their slacker gender group. .

    Side Note. In the 1700s the new Constitution required a 100 percent vote of all 13 Independent nation-states the former colonies. It was known as accepting the social contract. 240 years later there is no such offer to those turning 18. Immigrants yes and by edict of the Obama dictatorship they are exempted from the draft. But those born within the USA the offer does not exist. Instead takinig such steps as paying taxes or signing up for the draft in lieu of jail time or fines is the only offer existing.

    Yet they are deemed ready to assume the responsibilites of citizenship and be regarded as adults (except for the children killed with handguns crowd who still use 21 as a cutoff)

    Something I’m missing here? I was born in another country of one USA parent. Upon reaching 21 and applying for a certain position I had to voluntarily take and oath of citizenship and accept the social contract. At the time I had four years of military service. My oath stated and it says so on the certificate of Citizenship “Citizen From Birth.” If the opportunity was offered to me why is it denied to those turning eighteen?

    Obviously after 24 years of military service in the combat arms I am anti-draft. But then my oath of office in the military mentioned support and defend the Constitution it said nothing about support and defend those who violate it and deny wnome equal rights and full citizen status.

    Time to undo the damage caused by the losing side, turn away from secular progressivism, return tohec t Constitution and honor the ‘voluntary’ social contract demanded by your citizehship status.

    Now it’s time for comments by the wimps and sexists.

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