The Forum | Freedom of Expression

Bloomberg and Koch Have it Right on Free Speech

June 6, 2016 by Michael B. Poliakoff

Michael Bloomberg and Charles Koch [“Why Free Speech Matters On Campus,” WSJ Opinion / Commentary, 5/12/2016] accurately identified the profound threat to education and to our free society that the campus culture of hypersensitivity and intolerance of opposing viewpoints represents. That perverse culture grows stronger every time it silences a speaker. Eighteen months ago, the president of Scripps College blandly defended the disinvitation of George Will from a speaker series designed to bring less commonly heard viewpoints to campus. Scripps reaped the harvest of its intolerance when a noisy group of students and faculty felt emboldened to attempt to keep Madeleine Albright from delivering the commencement address. Those who winked at political correctness when it only appeared to be aimed at conservatives may finally recognize the catastrophe ahead. But there is still hope. In his 2014 Harvard commencement address, a bad year for free speech on campus, Mr. Bloomberg properly called on college trustees to act when faculty fail to make intellectual diversity a priority. Trustees, the fiduciaries of our colleges and universities, must not back away from this challenge to the core principles of a free society.


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