I have written extensively about how universities are refusing to act to prevent faculty members and students from disrupting classes, barring events, and shouting down speakers. Now we can add preventing other students from speaking to the Department of Homeland Security about jobs. Students at the job fair at Kent State University in Ohio blocked access to an ICE table by locking arms and eventually forced the department to leave the fair. Because these student oppose ICE, the university let them block access for all other students.
The students had every right to a non-violent protest but, once again, a university failed to distinguish between a protest and disruption. The job fair was open to all students with all views and values. The protesters peacefully held up signs saying “NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL” AND “ABOLISH ICE.” However, they could have been told to carry out such protests outside of the event to allow other students to exercise their own choices.
Instead, the university did nothing and DHS left. Weirdly, it was only then that accounts say that a campus police officer approached the protesters and they then left.
We have been discussing the rising intolerance and violence on college campuses, particularly against conservative speakers. (here and here and here and here). Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over mob rule on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, even including a few speakers like an ACLU official. Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech. At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display. In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech. CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,” Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech.
The President of Kent State Jewish Voice for Peace Sophia Gabbay said that this was no different than the appearance of national guard appearing on campus in the Kent State shootings: “We want to get rid of any type of state law enforcement entity off of this campus that directly ties to our history; we have seen what happens when the university allows, for example, the National Guard to come on campus.”
Others just declared that DHS is “blatantly violent” and “racist” and thus cannot be allowed to speak with students at such events. As we have seen in other protests, the students simply made the decision that other students should not be allowed to make their decision on the listening or applying to DHS.