Threats to free speech on campus

Patrick Gibbons

New Threats to Freedom,” a book about free speech, campus censorship and political correctness run amok, hits bookstores this week. One chapter, written by Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) President Greg Lukianoff’ and titled “Students Against Liberty,” highlights the censorship of Chris Lee, an African-American student at Washington State University.

Lee wrote a musical parody of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” titled “The Passion of the Musical,” which offended a wide array of students and professors at the university, including Mormons, Catholics, Methodists, gay and lesbian students, Latinos, feminists, the university’s professors and even the local police. Ironically, the university not only defended the actions of the hecklers as free speech (some of whom shouted threats to Mr. Lee and his actors), but it even paid for 40 students and professors to attend, protest and heckle the play. According to Lee, the local police even refused to defend the actors if the crowd got physically violent.

Yes, this happens frequently in America – mostly in our institutions of alleged higher learning.

The university system is full of authoritarians who are teaching students that it’s perfectly OK to threaten, shout down and heckle in order to silence your political foes. It’s a good thing FIRE is around to put a damper on campus censorship and hypocrisy (click the link to see Washington State University’s hypocritical stance on what plays are acceptable and what plays offend).