In his latest Justia blog post, Illinois Law dean and professor Vikram David Amar summarized an event that he moderated at the University of Illinois, focused on campus free speech principles and featuring two noted constitutional commentators, Geof Stone and Erwin Chemerinsky.
An excerpt from the post:
"Three of us then mused about why many (most?) college students today seem not to embrace the basic notion that conservative speech that they find to be stigmatic, offensive, unsettling, and even infuriating must nonetheless be permitted to be uttered and heard on college campuses so long as it doesn’t cross the line into threats, harassment, or defamation. Among the explanations offered for the attitudes of modern college students were:
- A failure of college students today to appreciate that if majorities are allowed to silence minorities, then throughout American history righteous groups like the abolitionists, civil rights protestors, women’s rights advocates, and others would not have been able speak and convince people of the justness of their causes;
- A similar failure of modern college students to appreciate that while their left-of-center viewpoints may be majoritarian and mainstream on college campuses, these viewpoints may be minority sentiments in the larger society students will enter (and want to speak in) after graduation;
- Parenting styles over the last generation that may have made some college students ill-equipped to cope with people who make them feel uncomfortable; and
- A greater sense of empathy among young adults today (perhaps partially a product of social media and increasing integration) that allows a wider swath of students to feel the pain suffered by individuals who are part of racial, religious, or gender minority groups who are often the explicit or perceived targets of some of the speakers causing dustups at campuses around the country."
Read the full post at verdict.justia.com.