We have been discussing the alarming erosion of free speech on our campuses and the increasingly twisted view of free speech by students calling for speech codes and regulations. At the same time, we have seen campus police denounced as being a “triggering” element on campuses (Here and here). Both trends were evident this month at the University of California at Berkeley, including the alarming published comments of a student senator, Juniper Angelica Cordova-Goff. Cordova-Goff denounced the large presence of campus police to deal with the protests as triggering while reaffirmed that free speech should not protect speakers who she views as part of a “violent conversation” like conservative Ann Coulter.
The comments appeared in a Sunday piece by the student-run publication, The Daily Californian, discussing the increased security measures to deal with protests. Prior protests led to property destruction and assaults. Cordova-Goff objected that the police’s “continued, heightened presence re-traumatizes students who come from communities with complicated relationships to the state.” She added that “I do not think campus safety must rely on the police. I think (UCPD) must be active in recognizing the trauma their presence alone brings to some students and work to limit visibility while remaining an open resource to those who choose to use it.”
It is rather difficult to accept that view with these images of prior protests by those seeking to silence conservative speakers, including the burning of a free speech sign:
Cordova-Goff’s distorted views of free speech were even more chilling. After being asked about the cancellation of the Ann Coulter speech, Cordova-Goff insisted that silencing people like Coulter is no threat to free speech because Coulter is not entitled to such protections. : “I don’t think that anyone’s free speech is being impaired. I think sometimes the free speech amendment is used as a way to frame violent conversations as a matter of free speech.”
Cordova-Goff is expressing the very type of anti-free speech rhetoric adopted by Howard Dean and others. The war on free speech appears to have produced a perfect generation of petty tyrants “mentored” in the necessity — even the moral imperative — of silencing those with whom we disagree.