“Not Something … Up for Debate”: Tufts University Students Disrupt Panel on Abortion

We have been following the regular disruption of events on college campuses by students and groups. The latest occurred at Tufts University where pro-abortion groups organized to interrupt a panel that was planned to discuss the moral issues surrounding abortion. These groups and students did not hide their role. The question is whether Tufts will take action to discipline those responsible for blocking the exercise of free speech.

According to The Tufts Daily, pro-abortion protesters organized by the Tufts University chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action were involved in stopping the panel from being heard in an event titled “Is Abortion Morally Justified in America?” The panel featured Boston College philosophy professor Gregory Fried and Harvard Law’s Stephen Sachs.

It was a familiar scene as the students took the front row and began to make noise to prevent others from hearing the speakers. One of the protesters used a noisemaker which “played continuous sounds of cars honking, dogs barking, doorbells ringing, wolves howling and crowds booing.”

The newspaper reported “The noise machine was turned off by the front-row protester at 5:54 p.m., but disruption continued. The officer’s requests to stop disruptions were ignored by shouts in the audience until a second officer arrived at 6:13 p.m. TUPD did not leave the venue until the end of the event.”

While the panel continued, the event was successfully interrupted and disrupted.

Protester and college sophomore Sanya Desai objected to the panel being held on racial grounds, saying white men should have no say in decisions relating to her “reproductive rights.” She added that “abortion rights are not something that are up for debate, or not something that should be talked about in a devil’s advocate type [of] way.”

In other words, students like Desai were insisting that everyone on campus must support abortion or remain silent in the latest embrace of enforced orthodoxy.

That is not news. What would be new is if Tufts did anything about it.

The University was given a dismal rating on free speech this year at 183 among universities and colleges.

Nevertheless, it has a full-throated defense of free speech:

“Freedom of expression and inquiry are fundamental to the academic enterprise. Without freedom of expression, community members cannot fully share their knowledge or test ideas on the anvil of open debate and criticism. Without freedom of inquiry, community members cannot search for new knowledge or challenge conventional wisdom.”

Those rules specifically include a statement barring any effort “to engage in specified forms of harassment, to threaten or obstruct a speaker who advances unwelcome ideas.”

Despite these rules, students have been told that stopping others from speaking is a form of free speech.

Faculty members have followed this sense of license to silence others. Former CUNY law dean Mary Lu Bilek even insisted that disrupting a speech on free speech was free speech.

After the infamous Rodríguez attack at Hunter College, Sociology professor Renee Overdyke shut down a pro-life display at the State University of New York at Albany and then allegedly resisted arrest.

A survey by Princetonians for Free Speech shows that roughly three-fourths of students believe that it is acceptable to shout down a speaker.

Those views did not spontaneously appear in the minds of these students. At one time, tolerance for free speech was the very touchstone of higher education and a common article of faith for students. These students are the product of years of being told that free speech is dangerous and harmful if left unregulated. From elementary school to college, they were taught that they did not have to be “triggered” by the speech of others.

In this instance, police had to be called to allow the panel to continue.  The question is whether the university will act to show that the barring of the exercise of free speech will not be tolerated regardless of the underlying political viewpoints.  There is a difference between protesting outside of an event and entering the event to prevent others from hearing opposing views.

In the past, I have taken the same position in favor of pro-abortion speakers. It is all about free speech and the ability of universities and colleges to offer forums for civil and free debate.

Universities must suspend students (or expel repeat offenders) if these free speech policies are anything but aspirational. Higher education rests on a foundation of free thought and free expression. The rapid decline of free speech on our campuses is due to a failure of administrators and faculty members to protect the diversity of viewpoints on our campuses.



64 thoughts on ““Not Something … Up for Debate”: Tufts University Students Disrupt Panel on Abortion”

  1. The free speech policies are not aspirational, no one at the colleges aspires to meet the ideals of the policies. The policies are decorative meant only for show.

  2. Academia is scared to death of the students.
    A monster of their own making.
    Suspensions and expulsions would cure this.

    1. no one at tufts disagrees with the students. My neighbor is a tufts professor, I would not be surprised if she participated in the “protest”.

    1. they canceled her because she is stunningly beautiful, articulate, independent, intelligent and driven. These are veritable threats to Leftist womyn

        1. Bari Weiss interviewed Michael Oren on her podcast “Honestly”, a man of great intellect and insight on Middle East politics. Strongly recommend listening to it. He had harsh words for Obama vis a vis Iranian decisions and Biden as well. Oren was hiding in a bomb shelter in Israel during the podcast. Bari Weiss is a true journalist and star

  3. At least they can find solidarity with the mostly peaceful protests supporting the Palestinian terrorists.

    1. The cancer has spread beyond elite institutions in the Ivy league. Children at California State are glorifying terrorists too.

      Where are the university leaders, not just at CSU, but at the bastions of the elite? What are they focused on? What values are they instilling the children under their tutelage?

      Posters celebrating gliders used to kill Jewish college students at a music festival. Why isn’t this Exhibit A for hate speech?


    2. They are none too bright, and by that I mean the lot of the Americans who should know better but don’t because they were raised to accept depravity as truth instead of a listening to or participating in an illuminating discussion.

  4. Almost every comment on this thread is from the same puppeteer. Liberals aren’t welcome to comment and conservatives no longer care. It’s the sound of one hand clapping. Turley likes it this way

  5. One has to wonder why the male speakers even showed up knowing no women were booked.

    Had you played your cards right, you could have attended in one of those Made in China, Target “garment tucks” and made a move on some of those virile men.

  6. Perhaps when we have to fight for our survival–which is around the corner, no doubt, given who has probably infiltrated us through the porous southern border–abortion choice and pronouns won’t seem so important to these clueless people.

  7. What were the changes that occured within our society, in general, and our educational systems, in particular, that contributed to our younger generations not acquiring the quintessential American beliefs that contributed to the extraordinary degrees of freedom and prosperity enjoyed by citizens of the United States, namely: freedom of speech, meritocracy, free enterprise, abolishment of racial segregation, Title IX protections of female sports, freedom of religious expression and a live-and-let-live attitude towards others?

    Perhaps a more telling answer might come from the question: How is it that these younger generations are so vocally opposed to the notion of fascism and yet supportive of so many of its tenets?

    1. 150 years of communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO, AINO) brainwashing by the brutal “dictatorship of the hired help.”

      Lincoln was the idiot who threw the baby out with the bathwater; he threw the Constitution out with reprehensible slavery, the residue of which should have “gone with the wind” of the compassionate repatriation of those long-suffering abductees. Lincoln, wittingly or unwittingly commenced the incremental implementation of the principles of communism in America and was congratulated and commended for his efforts by Karl Marx, personally.

    2. They have been schooled by Marxist revolutionaries, the same type who now are destroying our children’s minds with porn, sexualizing them at age 4, and ruining their physical health and future fertility in the name of gender affirmation, i.e., gender mutilation.

  8. Turley KNOWS words used matter and that sometimes using a descriptive phrase connotes a negative impression–to-wit: calling pro choice advocates “pro abortion”. The phrase “pro-abortion” imples that people who believe that a woman has the right, up to the age of fetal viability, to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy, actually FAVOR aborting fetuses, which isn’t the case at all. Pro choice people believe in the right of an individual woman to decide whether to continue an unwanted pregnancy before the age of fetal viability–which does not mean that they are in favor of a given fetus being aborted. On the flip side, instead of calling those opposed to a woman’s right to choose “anti-abortion”, he calls them “pro-life”. What about the “life” of the woman who wants to terminate and who does not believe that an unviable fetus has rights superior to hers? What about the “life” of the 10 year old Ohio rape victim who was only 9 when she was raped and conceived? How many 4th grade girls are physicially developed to the point of being able to carry a full-term pregnancy and give birth–not to mention the psychological trauma of being so different from her peers, when she didn’t have any “choice” whether to get pregnant in the first place?

    I point this out only to show that Turley is not a neutral commentator. The topic of the speech was: “Is Abortion Morally Justified in America?” So, in other words, the speakers were accusing people who believe the rights of privacy and liberty would allow termination of an unwanted pregnancy are “immoral”. THAT’s what the protest was about.

    1. The point of free speech is for people to be able to speak freely about viewpoints that others would find offensive. THAT’s what Turley is defending. To pre-screen views for acceptability before those views can be discussed is to deny the foundation of free speech – which, obviously, is freedom. In other words, controlled speech is not free speech.




      Pro-choice is a dastardly evasion employed by those who know they are promoting sin and disgusting, inhuman, immoral, and criminal behavior.

      The baby’s persistence is proof that it CHOOSES life.

      Leave the ——- baby alone, you ——- PSYCHOS!


    3. I agree that Mr. Turley is not a neutral commentator. However, it is very clear to me that your post was not, as you state, merely to point this out. You are clearly going beyond that to make your own moral arguments.

      I see the termination of a human life with discretionary abortion as being analogous the more societally common moral conundrum of the taking of a non-human life for the pleasure of eating that life’s flesh. I, for one, would not deny other people that pleasure, but I strongly believe that they should take responsibility for it, rather than deluding themselves that the piece of food on the styrofoam tray had nothing to do with the taking of an animal’s life.

      Abortion is the taking of human life. End of story. Your arguments based on the inconveniences that it alleviates for the mother, or the extremely rare boundary cases you cite, related to the circumstances of the impregnation, are red herrings as (1) the overwhelming number of abortions in this nation are performed on adult women relative to pregnancies resulting from consensual sex and (2) except for the extremely rare case where the physical life of the mother is at stake, all abortions are the taking of a human life merely for the convenience of the mother. Do you find it morally acceptable to kill another human so that one would not have to miss the opportunity to attend university and, if so, how far are you willing to go in the way of taking one human life so that another one can be more enjoyable?

      I, for one, am not prepared to completely bar abortions. Also, I have a pretty good idea of how traumatic an experience it must be, and how, for those women who have strong innate material instincts, it must be extremely traumatic. At the same time, I do not accept the “viability” test as a cut-off for reasons I won’t get into for not wanting to meander off the central point, and I certainly reject those extreme positions that would allow abortion to term, or as a small fringe argumes, beyond term. I understand that the most widely-adopted cut-off around the world is 12 weeks. Maybe we can live with that? ….and maybe we can be more honest about the facts and the morality around the issue?

    4. “Pro choice” is a deceptive euphemism designed to hide the real issues in abortion. All laws limit”choice.” It’s hilarious for someone to actually object to the use of an accurate description, which is what “pro-abortion” is.

      1. The Tufts newspaper used the term pro-choice and I think JT should have followed suit. If JT wanted to include abortion in the term, then a better description than “pro-abortion” would be “pro-abortion rights”.

    5. Leave everything else aside, and make an argument for viability as the standard.

      Is it the one the 1972 Scotus used:
      At viability, the interest of the state overrides the “right to privacy” of the woman? Why?

      Is it, life begins at viability? Explain that if thats your argument. Because thats not the science.

      Is it a “good compromise”?
      Between what? Choosing life and not choosing life?

      And yes, many people believe abortion is immoral.

      86% of Americans believe there is a God. Most of those believe that God is not a coach on the sidelines, but that he creates life, therefore it is sacred.

      I personally do not, but the constitution gives no “right to abortion” no matter how much you twist and twirl. There truly IS no argument.

      1. . . . the constitution gives no “right to abortion” no matter how much you twist and twirl

        As Roe v. Wade proved, even the highest judges in the land will twist words to say what they think the Constitution should have said rather than what it actually does say. This is known as the abortion distortion.

        To get a sense of just how powerful the abortion distortion is, recall if you can the cathode-ray tubes that used to serve as computer monitors. Did you ever hold a magnet up to one of those? If you did, then you saw how the words on the screen got all twisted and distorted.

        Now imagine that the text of the Constitution is displayed on one of the CRTs. Abortion is the magnet. As it gets close to the text, the text gets all distorted. That’s the abortion distortion when the Constitution is in the hands of politically-driven judges.

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