University of New Hampshire Professor Identified In Effort To Disrupt Free Speech Event

imagesWe recently discussed the disruption of a speaker at a university that was led in part by a professor who believed that she had a right to prevent other faculty or students from hearing the views of speaker Dave Rubin, a Democrat online talk show host who has called for free speech protections on campuses.  University of New Hampshire Professor Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan screamed profanities and refused to respond to Rubin’s invitation to have a dialogue.  She is part of a growing number of faculty who rally their students against free speech values and seek to prevent those with opposing views from being heard.

Professor Ryan is a Women’s Studies professor who teaches “Gender, Power, and Privilege” and “Transgender Feminism.” She lists her specialities as “transgender/LGBTQ, film/media, sex work, disability justice, fat studies, social movements.”
She disrupted the event on May 1st on screaming at Rubin (who is gay)”We don’t want you in the LGBT community. Get the f**k out.”

She then bragged about her briefly shutting down the event on free speech by posting a tweet reading “We did something right!Glad we were able to disrupt this man’s hate speech as much as possible. He is nothing but a provocateur and ‘civil discourse’ with him is impossible.”

No she did not do something “right” in disrupting an event on free speech.
The question is the lack of any action by the University of New Hampshire.  We recently saw a University of Connecticut professor charged in another effort to disrupt a speech.
We have discussed the need to protect the free speech rights of teachers who have been disciplined for statements made outside of their schools.  However, this was a professor acting on campus to disrupt an event for students and faculty.  It was a disgraceful and anti-intellectual performance.  Ryan in my view should be disciplined with a minimum of a suspension from teaching and considered for termination for such conduct.
A failure of the University to act will speak loudly as to its lack of commitment to free speech on campus.  This is not a close question. It is equally clear for students who try to disrupt the event.  There is ample ability to be heard in protest outside of the event.  However, this is little more than an effort to silence opposing views through a heckler’s veto.  Ryan clearly demonstrated not only a fundamental lack of appreciation for free speech but a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of an academic.  She appears entirely ill-suited for this profession, which seeks to maintain open discourse and intellectual exchange.


88 thoughts on “University of New Hampshire Professor Identified In Effort To Disrupt Free Speech Event”

  1. Oops: no University of Connecticut professor was charged with disrupting that speech. The article to which you link, as well as all other reporting of that event, explains that the woman charged with disrupting the University of Connecticut speech was an administrator at a Connecticut public community college. Please amend your article accordingly. Thank you.

  2. This video is a candid, dramatic showdown between militant snowflakes and Socratic dialog. Dave Rubin’s open forum on free-speech is a brilliant, participatory practicum on persuasion — demonstrating in front of a live audience how unpersuasive and unproductive are the militant verbal tactics taught by progressive activists. Rubin demonstrates that be must be willing to openly share one’s own point of view and thinking in order to persuade, and in doing so, the speaker is opening up to having their position questioned. This is a process through which thinking evolves. The militant, strident, self-righteous progressive style is closed-off, defensive, process-stifling, and alienating.

    1. Cosmo, that legislation permitting experimental drugs is totally irresponsible. By signing that bill Trump has quite possibly given birth to an entire quack industry; the last thing this country needs. Every major group representing doctors and hospital has denounced this bill.

      Not only has Trump sabotaged Obamacare, but now he wants to bring back snake oil as a healthcare option.

      1. Maybe this is exactly what we need to try and save thousands and thousands of lives? Free will, and the right for terminally ill to at least try, right? Good on Trump.

        1. Agree. Trump could cure cancer, and Peter Hill would complain about the rising unemployment of the oncologists. And invoke “Every Major Group of (fill in the blank as needed)”.

  3. After watching part of the tape I have very mixed feelings. The person making the introduction seemed to embody the best values of our society. He was talking about the need to talk and listen to each other.

    When the speaker addressed the protesters he immediately told them to shut up and sit down. He tried to pull rank saying: “nobody came here for you” as a way to silence them. That seemed counter to the values of talking and listening to each other. He really didn’t strike me as different than the protesters. Each wanted not to talk, but to shut the other person down. They were each one side of the same coin.

    I would have respected him much more for immediately saying, let’s talk. I hear what you’re saying and I will set aside time to discuss this issue with you and the rest of the audience. In hearing you out, I need you to hear me out. Something like this is much more in line with the excellent value system articulated in the beginning-we are a community of different people with different ideas who need to listen to each other.

    I disagree that no protest may be held directly at a talk. I think there is room for protest, thoughtful protest, which makes a point and also allows the speaker to move forward with what they want to say. Talks may be the only access ordinary citizens ever have to the powerful. Powerful people rarely hear dissenting views.

    In this case, as the introductory speaker had promised that many views would be heard, it would have been better to let the speaker proceed and see if that was the case. But if it was not the case, then I think it is justified to speak up. I think the protesters should have been more thoughtful. They should not want to shut down another person’s speech any more than there own speech should have been silenced. That is where the protesters are dead wrong.

    1. When the speaker addressed the protesters he immediately told them to shut up and sit down. He tried to pull rank saying: “nobody came here for you”

      You’re terminally overbearing and do not understand the ordinary courtesy necessary for public life to function.

        1. Try saying something truthful when you attempt to parry, Diane

          1. And you’re projecting again, old SOT. But keep runnin’ in circles in your desperate search for…a life. There’s a big world out there — beyond JT’s blog. Break out of your cocoon, take off those blinders, and do some living. You might learn something new.

            1. I’m in charge of JT’s blog and postings. What I say goes! Follow my rules. Or else.

              1. Now you’re appropriating my handle in addition to the two handles you already use, Diane.

                1. Poor littlie old me. Look in the mirror. I’m in charge of JT’s blog.

                2. And once again, you’re demonstrating just how clueless you really are, Nii.

                  1. I was drugged. But now I’m crying rape. Because of that multi-million dollar Hollywood deal that went bad.

              2. I could be wrong, but it was my understanding that it is against the civility rules to pose as another poster.

                Come on, now. Let’s not be this way,

                1. Karen – were you here when Annie/Inga signed on as 27 different sock puppets on the same day? JT was in Europe and poor Darren was holding down the fort.

                  1. Yes, I remember that day, which will live in infamy. Is the same actor in play?

                    1. FBI is warning anyone with a router to power down & reboot. The Russians are here.

    2. Jill:

      You’re quite the anarchist. Everyone isn’t equal in this setting and pulling rank is completely justified in the face of obvious insolence of the protestors who are usurping the rights of the rest of the audience.

      1. You’re quite the anarchist.

        She is when she’s told to wait her turn.

      2. mespo,

        I am kind of an anrchist!

        Insolence towards the powerful can be a really powerful. Insolence has had that use for a long time. Just an example: “Before laughter, even the Bishops quake.”

        These protesters seemed thoughtless and not very bright. I wouldn’t say they were bright enough to qualify for insolent!!! But some people do know how to confront injustice well and they use insolence for that purpose. I say, right on!

        1. Insolence towards the powerful can be a really powerful. I

          No, it’s just insolence. And the speaker in question is someone who has very little influence. Wagers the woman-child who kept interrupting him has tenure which she does not deserve.

    3. I was only able to watch a few minutes due to data restrictions. From what little I saw, he did invite them to talk to him in a two-way dialogue. He tried over and over with them to discuss the problem. He agreed that black lives, and in fact all lives, matter. He asked if they thought he did not understand that. All they did was chant blm in order to prevent an invited speaker from continuing his lecture. I imagine she wouldn’t like it if each and every one of her lectures were interrupted by people chanting, “Black lives matter!” Perhaps she would plead that she agreed with them to no avail. She would be rendered unable to do the job she was paid to do, and her students’ education would be reduced to memorizing 3 words. Perhaps she would be fine with that if her university continued to pay her despite her not getting any work done.

      What I think he should have done was have security present to eject harassers and hecklers. Perhaps that happened later.

      Free speech does not give you the right to barge into conferences and block the venue’s speakers. That is interfering with others’ liberty, both the scheduled speakers and those who attended to hear the lecture.

      1. Please watch the incident again. Do you think they were reasonable and he was unreasonable, and if so, defend that assertion.

        1. Karen,

          I gave you my analysis in the original post. That is how I feel!

          1. You offered nothing resembling an ‘analysis’.

          2. OK. I actually did hear him repeatedly plead with them to have a discussion with him instead of chanting, which you claim didn’t happen. That is why I asked you to watch the segment again and then support your position.

            It was only after they refused to be reasonable adults that he told them to sit down and be quiet. Again, I only watched the first bit, so there might have been more drama further on.

            People can be such children regarding politics today. It’s embarrassing. At least Cato the Elder only said, “Ceterum censeo Carthago delendo est” only once at the end of all of his speeches. Succinct and to the point.

            1. Karen,
              “I only watched the first bit, so there might have been more drama further on.”

              They were obnoxious pretty much the whole time.

      2. Also, have neither of these protestors watched Game of Thrones? Have they not perceived the hubris and inherent racism in the “white savior”? (The Mother of Dragons did not “save” the woman who later poisoned Khal Drogo. She had been raped 5 times already and her friends slaughtered.)

  4. “She is part of a growing number of faculty who rally their students against free speech values and seek to prevent those with opposing views from being heard.”

    Consequences of intimidating, harassing, or threatening conservatives or eroding free speech on campuses:

    1. Such behavior bleeds out into other industries and sections of society
    2. Creation of a single party state, with punishment of opposing views
    3. People with this belief system in the single party state get older and take government positions, and they vote.
    4. Speech against the Single Party State becomes criminalized, as is criticism against the ruling class in government, all member of this single party.
    5. Dissenters get jailed.
    6. A border wall does go up…but to keep the population inside, as it does in all countries where criticizing the government will get you jailed or killed
    7. The US descends into the poverty, privation, and police state of all of the other Communist or Socialist nations in which this experiment has been tried over and over again. Personal liberty becomes a myth. Revisionist history taught in the madrassas teaches that the US was the most racist, cruel nation on Earth and that the modern society of repression is egalitarian Utopia. All Hail the Single Party State! And then they will come up with some catchy nationalist song and a solute, except the nationalist feeling will be leaning more towards the globalization of the Single Party. Think big, after all. And keeping this fascism contained within one mere country would do nothing to combat the existential threat of anthropogenic global warming. After all, individual liberty was stripped in the name of the greater good…



    During the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, free speech debates centered on pornography. Efforts to define pornography got extremely complicated. For many years “Playboy” magazine pushed the boundaries for what was considered acceptable nudity. By the late 60’s, “Playboy” established as acceptable, air-brushed bodies where breasts and buttocks were fully featured. But full frontal nudity was still taboo.

    Then, in the early 70’s, “Penthouse” magazine pushed the boundaries by featuring full, frontal nudity; which put “Playboy” in the ’embarrassing’ situation of having play catch-up. This gave way to the so-called “Pubic Wars” between publishers Hugh Hefner and upstart Bob Guccioune. Then, in the mid 70’s, Larry Flynt’s “Hustler” Magazine pushed the boundaries again to include anal cavities. Anal shots never quite caught on as ‘acceptable’, but Flynt managed to keep publishing.

    By the 1980’s free speech issues shifted to so-called “Political Correctness”. This is when liberal academics first introduced the idea that free speech should avoid offending women and minorities. There was a great deal of initial pushback but the concept wasn’t irrational. By the 1980’s, women and minorities were a growing presence in the corporate workplace. Old boy White networks could no longer engage in barroom banter at work. References to women as ‘dames’ or ‘broads’ was now considered obnoxious.

    The concept of “Political Correctness” has gained traction since the 1980’s. Since then, the ratio of White people has significantly declined as a share of America’s overall population. Blacks are no longer our largest minority, having been replaced by Hispanics; though Asians have become a significant faction in certain areas. And meanwhile women now outnumber men on most college campuses. The current climate of Political Correctness represents these demographic changes.

    Therefore Political Correctness, a complicated concept, has become more complicated than ever in the Trump era. We now have a president who panders to angry Whites in small towns. A president who loves to see how close he can come to uttering racial slurs. Historically presidents have tried to AVOID insulting people. Yet Trump will tell you, in confidence, that’s his greatest talent!

    Because Trump revels at shooting his mouth, supporters have followed suit. One can see those dynamics on this comment thread. Therefore people on the left are ‘pushing back’. Universities have become ground zero in this fight. The fact that women now outnumber men on campus has altered equations.

    Presidents must set an example for what is considered proper civility. If the president loves to pop-off and say anything, no matter how insulting, there is going to be chaos. ..And there is..!!

    1. Free speech isn’t that complicated. In this case, the man was invited to speak and the audience arrived to hear him speak and ask him questions. The pseudo-professor was in the business of preventing his transaction with the audience.

      1. In this case that pseudo-professor pushed back too far. One must note, however, that the far-left reacts in proportion to the far-right. They both push the boundaries for what is considered acceptable.

        Personally, the far-left scares me as much as the far-right. Bernie was the flip-side of Trump.

        1. that the far-left reacts in proportion to the far-right.

          There is no ‘far-right’ on colleges campuses or anywhere outside the Wacky World of Websites.

  6. arrest the disruptor for tresspass. age old solution to heckler’s veto and high time to start using it.

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