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tv   Attorneys and Law Professors Discuss Campus Free Speech  CSPAN  October 8, 2018 11:24am-1:01pm EDT

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control congress because i believe our country needs to swing more left or progressive. i'm interested in particularly in issues pertaining to women. women's ability to choose and also women's right to a safer place. >> voices from the states. part of cspan's 50 capitols tour. >> next, a discussion about free speech on college campuses. recent examples of protests over events with controversial speakers and views on how schools should address the issue while maintaining a safe learning environment.
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>> this first panel is entitled free speech and campus culture. he teaches at the ucla school of law and is the author of textbooks and many of you will recognize him as founder and co-author of a web blog that's now hosted she is a new york times best selling author. a recipient of the 2005 bradley prize, she is the author of
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several books and her writing appeared in the wall street journal, the washington post, the new york times, los angeles times during his 15 year career heed aed students and faculty members and personally travelled to dozens of campuses to educate students, faculty and administrators about first amendment issues. he served as a lawyer at the university of mississippi for nearly 20 years. he helped spearhead the effort to advise all campus policies so the university of mississippi earned a green light with respect to free expression we
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appreciate your time. please note they'll be taking audience questions at the end of the presentations. please write your questions on the card and someone will be around to collect them. with that, john, thank you the panel is yours. >> we're going to allow 7 to 10 minutes for opening remarks. >> this is a subject near to my heart because i'm a first amendment professor. an partly because i'm a professor and partly because i'm an american and this is something that all of us should care about and part of the reason is just how deep the
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danger goes. it's not just well we need to suppress the nazis. i have no interest in furthering the speech of nazis for obvious reasons but it's never just about the nazis. so i want to give a few illustrations here and talk a little bit about first amendment issues. sometimes there's issues of academic freedom that go beyond this is after the charlie hebdo multiple murders in paris and the flyer includes the now iconic cover of charlie hebdo
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after the killings with a picture with a tear from his eyes and it's in small print and you'll see these are substantive people. this isn't some rebel rouzer invited because of that it's law professors and journalism professor. and the editorial cartoonist. so the panel went on but here's what happened. some students and others found this flyer offensive. i take it because they perceived it as blasphemous. that's going to happen at universities. people find things offensive but there was a complaint filed with the equal opportunity and affirmative action office claiming that this created a
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hostile environment based on religion and therefore violated the university policies and could lead to discipline for the tenured faculty members working on this. if the students it seems to be get a message, if even the faculty members are not immune from this. imagine what would happen if we were to put out something like this. in any event the director defended ultimately in public her decision to start the investigation saying there are limits on free speech and that would be where you have harassment of an individual based on their identity. note there wasn't any individual targeted in this case. there's occasional cases involving somebody it does not
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rise to that level but found it because they found the post personally offensive and hurtful and the director recommended that he communicate that the flyer doesn't support -- >> can i ask you to speak more into the microphone? >> yes. absolutely. and to his credit as best i could tell the dean never communicated this because it's not his business to communicate university or colleges view on depictions of mohammed. >> yes, this is a criticism in some measures of spans in islam.
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that is a necessary part of the university and yet the university administrator itself seemed to be doing what she could to try to deter such speech so this is the cover of a book by a professor at baylor. the man on the cover is the founder of modern turkey. he is an award winning military historian. so he is invited by the middle eastern studies department to talk on the book and the talk is shouted down by extremist armenian activists. obviously they have a lot of grievances with regard to the turks but they decided even though he was not accused of being the mastermind behind the
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killings of the armenians during world war i he was soft on all that and part of this turkish campaign of denial of the killings and they stopped it from happening. our presence will send a clear message that colleges and campuses are not incubators for denialist treating college campuses as breeding grounds for turkey nationalist. >> now somebody raised this in the q and a afterwards and said look this person is praising him. the biography was positive but here are all the things that he and the turks did that are bad and here's what you should take into account. that would have been great academic debate. but that's not what they did. they denied this award winning scholar the opportunity to speak
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and denied the audience the opportunity to listen and again, this is -- if this can happen on a subject like, on what subject could it not happen? let me also just step back a bit. i don't know how many people here are students of world war i era history and in particular in that theater, i am certainly not. i cannot claim any serious reading on what happened to the armenians in the 1915 in the ottoman empire. was it a genocide deliberately targeting a particular ethnic group based on their religion? they were seen in being in sympathy and support of the russians. was it a series of massacres that don't rise to the level of genocide? interesting questions. and if we want to figure out the answer to those questions, either we do the research ourselves or we look just as a
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practical matter we look to who the community of scholars says about these kinds of things and the dominant views. dominant view is sometimes wrong but that's the way the smart money bets. this is the normal way we consume scholarships by looking at the conventional wisdom, the broad consensus in a particular scholarly community. but that's only trustworthy when we know that faculty members and scholars are generally free to argue this. by the way, it's not somebody that thinks the killings didn't happen although he seems to be not as strong on that as the protestors might have liked but the moment we know one side is being suppressed we can't trust the other side. and once the challenges are blocked then the dominant view becomes suspect as well. let me mention one other example
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and there's some others we can talk about. this is actually something that came down just a couple of weeks ago from the office for civil rights at the department of education. this was an appeal of a complaint about alleged antisemitism at rutgers. it had to do with whether particular people were required to pay $5 for entry for an event because they were perceived as jewish. but this is the case in which the decision is including the right to self-determination. applying double standards and. and this in a context of deciding what could lead to withdrawal of federal funds under title 6. what could lead to lawsuits against universities. so this is a legal document which adopted this definition.
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now the document is big. but the message is clear. they could be part of the investigation. now i'm jewish myself. i'm a supporter of israel. not everything that israel does. but on balance i think it's better than the other countries in the area but obviously universities have to be places where people could talk about whether jewish people have the right. not all people are broadly accepted to have rights of self-incrimination. maybe it's not a matter of right. maybe it's a matter of politics. in the sense of having a separate nation but if you're firm on that, what about the catalonians? what about the taiwanese. i suppose somebody could say every ethnic group has a right to independence and a right to
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to state it run on ethnic principl principles. that's the very thing universities should be debating. like wise it's ridiculous but it's the kind of ridiculous that needs to be responded to rather than suppressed and likewise if you have the government going after the people on the theory that they're applying double standards it would be hard to imagine there would be anything but a double standard in the implication of such a vague and ill defined rules. these are very serious problems and very serious threats to speak and very serious threats to the enterprise more broadly and i'm glad that the justice department is stepping in on the sides of the speakers. >> thank you. >> we'll go now to heather mcdonald but before her remarks i just want to mention one other fact about heather. she has published a book about this topic called the diversity
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dilution and is very well regarded in this area. >> today i'm going to make two contrary arguments that debate is not the core function of higher education however useful such debate is and second that the assault on free speech is not the greatest problem facing universities today, however dangerous that assault on free speech is. but first let me state some core principles. try to silence speech with which you disagree whether by institutional fiat, by shouting over the speaker or by mob violence is the start of a terrifying decent toward a world in which brute power rules. anyone that can watch windows being smashed and the sucker punching of opponents without feeling foreboding at these hall marks of 1930s is in deep denial. the result of brute force is
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disturbing in a university which should provide a model for civil discourse. the monicure is stunning by ironic. a facebook post from quote we students of color at the claremont colleges announced the quote, as a community, we cannot and will not allow fascism to have a platform. we refuse to have mcdonald speak, end quote. that would be me. and these are the people who claim to be against power. students ignorance of the role of free speech in a free society tells us yet again that our educational system is failing miserably. these self-righteous sensors claim that free speech is a weapon to further oppress minorities. tell that to frederick douglas who in 1860 wrote slavery cannot tolerate free speech.
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five years of this exercise would banish the auction block and break every chain in the south. it is also remarkable that the components of censorship, many of them professors, are unable to engage in the most abstract reasoning. understanding that a precedent once set applies across a range of situations. the campus silencers may currently monopolize the power to define hate speech but do they really want that power in the hands of their arch enemy? donald trump. they also demonstrate a lack of confidence in their own arguments and in the power of reason and persuasion. so-called progressives fiercely oppose, for example, steve bannon's ideas. you'd think they would eagerly welcome the opportunity to does credit those ideas in a public forum. instead, the new yorker recently caved into pressure to disinvite bannon from a heart hitting
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interview with it's editor and the faculty at the university of chicago are trying to scuttle a debate between bannon and a business professor there. in silencing bannon, they are in effect silencing their own best arguments. now an understandable outrage against this sometimes violent closed mindedness, conservative defenders of free speech have been claiming that the debating of opinion is the very essence of education. it is not. the essence of education is this, cramming as much knowledge into the empty nothiveryon empt students as four years will allow. it makes no sense for a student to say, i have an opinion about the laws of thermodynamics but i'm willing to listen to other views. or i have an opinion but i'll keep an open mind toward
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descent. there exists a bedrock of facts and ideas that students should simply absorb in humility and gratitude. they would include at a bare minimum, the events that lead to the creation of the nation state in europe, the achievements of roman civilization, works of shakespeare and dickens and swift among others and the philosophical basis for constitutional democracy among hundreds of other essential strata of human geology. the model currently embraced by conservatives has a focus toward current affairs which should be the last on the list of things that education concerns itself with. the issues about which students are going to have the strongest opinions concern current political and policy matters. is donald trump a fascisms. which bathrooms should trans
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individuals use. the fact that only one answer to those questions is acceptable on college campuses is indisputably a problem. but they're not the questions that undergraduate education should focus on. there will be time enough after students graduate to debate current affairs. college is a precious opportunity to plunge into the splendors of the past for which the time is already too short. but my vision of a pure education is sadly probably not realistic. so if we could assure the descending voices from the reigning ones were allowed on campus, would that cure it? it would not. censorship is the natural result of the paramount mission of today's university. assigning guilt and innocence witness the competitive hierarchy of victimhood. almost the entire university is taken over by a single idea that to be a minority, a female, or
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one of the other multiplying varieties of non-binary genders in america is to be the target of endless life threatening bigotry. that is particularly acute, we are to believe, on college campuses. minority and female students are being taught to believe that they are quite literally under threat. you see hung banners throughout campus reminding students of the contempora contemporary universities mission assigning guilt and innocence within the competitive tottenpole of victimhood. one banner read create an environment where people other than yourself can exist. after yale students mobbed a highly respected sociologist for three hours screaming things like f you, you are disgusting, and we are dying at him.
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yale's president said he had never been so proud of his students and yale conferred a racial justice prize on two of the most aggressive participants. as long as this ideology of victimhood is the dominant narrative on college campus the movement to suppress ideas that challenge that narrative will remain overpowering. it's not going to make a bit of difference. diversity bureaucracy to see bias where none exists students will equate non-conforming ideas with hate speech and hate speech with life threatening conduct that should be punished, sens s censored and repelled with force if necessary. it's not enough to call for freedom of expression. that is, if i may borrow a term, relatively safe stance to take. even many liberals will back you up.
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if we're going to restore harmony and civil sanity, we are going to have to take on the victim ideology directly and assert that racism and oppression are not the predominant characteristics of american society and colleges today. for all the sins of our past, and they are real a, there's ner been a more tolerant opportunity filled quality than our present one. who will make those arguments? not college presidents. not the faculty and certainly not the diversity bureaucrats. it's incumbent on the rest of us to speak out against the myth of bias and to remind students that they are the most privileged human beings in history by having at their fingertips t knowledge. thank you for your attention. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. hopefully we'll get some slides up in a moment. i want to start with a story that's similar to some of the ones that jwas talked about. the story of an undergraduate named keith john sampson. he's 58 and putting himself through school as a janitor working there and he had an assigned break time so one day he sat down in the break room of the school to read a book and the name of that book was notre dame versus the klan. how the fighting irish defeated the klan. it's a historical account of how the anti-catholic came to the campus and how the student body confronted it sharing the message they didn't share the klan's value. on the cover of the book is a picture of the cross burning super imposed on to the notre
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dame campus. apologies. >> no, no. it's all right. you can use my slides if you want. >> i guess mine aren't up there. unfortunately, a co-worker saw him reading the book to himself and reported him to the university for harassment and without a hearing he was deemed guilty of the charge and suspended from campus. my organization, the foundation for individual rights and education came to his aid and after several months of advocacy, he was allowed back on campus to continue his education. and the reason i bring up this incident which happened as far back as 2007 is because it's one of the hundreds of examples of cases, there you go, in which college students and faculty members were punished for expressing or even just holding unpopular viewpoints. i want to high like the long standing nature of this problem
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and the culture of respect for controversial respect on campus has become so threadbare that they may face punishment based on the reaction of a person that literally -- a person who literally judged a book by its cover. they review written policies on the nation's top universities. 95% of them have at least one written policy that either directly infringes on the free speech rights of students or broadly allows coampuses to do so. about 30 to 40%, depending how you look at it, have policies that prevent speech in such a way that it's what we would consider to be very obviously and tragically unconstitutional. and so we, over the years, documented hundreds of examples of censorship of students on campus. so we've been seeing lately,
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particularly in the academic corridor, this criticism that these actually aren't that big a deal. while there are many instances of krcensorship on campus, when you compare it to the number of students on campuses, it's actually not that severe. fire wanted to get data. we took a survey of 1,250 undergraduat undergraduates, and here's what we found out. i want to highlight some interesting points from it. on a positive note, 80% of students answered yes to the statement, or they said they agreed with the statement, in my college classes, i feel comfortable sharing my ideas and opinions. they didn't vary much among the crossed lines of race or gender, but when it came to idealogy, we started to see a difference that very liberal students are 14
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points more likely to feel comfortable sharing those opinions to their very conservative peers. unfortunately, the general high number there is even less of a reason to rejoice when you consider that more than half the students surveyed, 54%, said they had stopped themselves from sharing an idea or opinion in a class at some point during college. why did the students hold back? 53% of them who did indicated they were worried about being corrected or mistaken. 24% shared a concern they would be given lower grades by their professors. disturbingly and considering culture, 48% said they were afraid they would be judged by their peers. that starts to look like an awful lot of incidents in which students have a point to make. probably most alarming because of sheer avoidability, though, is the 16% of students who have
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self-censored inside the classroom partly because they felt other students would report them to campus employees. it seems a lot of students slha held back their views, even in class, out of fear of some type of retribution. the picture looks different, and unfortunately worse, as we look at student attitudes toward other speech. more than half of students, 58%, agreed with the statement, quote, it is important to be part of a campus community where i'm not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas. there is an idealogical difference here. with 63% of very liberal students and 45% of very conservative students feeling this way. in terms of percentages, it's not as wide a gap as today's culture warriors might have guessed. again, though, that top line number can conceal some very real differences in what sort of speech counts as comfortable. for instance, while there is no legal definition of hate speech
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in our constitution, only 24% of liberal students believe that so-called hate speech should be protected compared to very conservative students. yet when it comes to another constitutionally protected form of speech, campus protest, 64% of very conservative students agree that they, quote, should not have to walk past student protests on campus, while only 17% of liberal students agree. this poses a severe problem for those that believe if campuses can get speech regulations just right, they can get rid of the bad speech while still allowing the good. the fact is while students often agree there is good and bad speech, their definitions of good and bad often conflict. just briefly, in the time remaining, i want to highlight one more set of findings from the study given how much controversy we've seen in recent years around guest speakers visiting campuses, from provocateurs to the first female head of the imf, some colleges
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suggested that bringing in outside speakers are no longer worth the trouble. for example, the university of south carolina decreed that henceforth the university president would be the speaker from now on. and during nyu's inability to speak on that campus, they secured $600,000 to secure a speaker. controversial speakers are a luxury the campuses can't afford to lose. we found that the answer to this question is a resounding no. 90% of speakers found that having the opportunity to hear diverse speakers is important, and guest speakers often served a challenge or introduced students to new ways of thinking about the world, and they're
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amazingly successful in doing so. 64% of students admit they, quote, changed at least one of my attitudes, perspectives or opinions after hearing a guest speaker. this high number suggests that not only do guest speakers bring high suggestives, but that students can change their opinions on a cam pupus speaker alone. despite their values, more than half of students, 63%, think some speakers should be disinvited. this is contrary to the principles of liberal education. it deprives students of not only the opportunity to have their minds changed but also a chance to have their minds strengthened with exposure to new ideas. we're happy that fire is taking an interest in this important
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issue. thank you. >> and you have a few minutes. thank you. >> thank you for allowing me to be here. i wanted to share a few thoughts with the responsibility for advising universities on campus speech. in the few minutes i have today, i want to discuss three things. first i'd like to consider whether we actually are facing some acute crisis, something different today than we faced for a long time with respect to campus speech. second, i would like to discuss three challenges that universities face in dealing with expression, especially offensive speech or what some people call hate speech. third, i'd like to share some insight into the campus culture and talk about what actually works in dealing with campus expression. are we facing a crisis -- sorry, my technology is giving me troubles as it always does. i'll eventually learn. we've all read and have heard today about troubling real world cases of someone facing consequences in the academy for breaking with orthodoxy or
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expressing unpopular views. we can find examples where values of controversy are used to shut down debate. we should not minimize or explain away these troubling examples, but can we draw any broad conclusions from these anecdotes? when we look at the daily life of colleges and universities, what are the facts? universities provide resources and support for hundreds of student groups organized around a wide range of religious beliefs, political idealogieide causes, affinities, activity and hobbies. if we look at my home state of texas, texas christian university students belong to more than 250 student groups, and at the university of texas, more than 1300 student groups receive sommer of access or support from the university. each day at more than 4,000 colleges and universities in this country, there are hundreds of thousands of classroom lectures, assignments and discussions about every controversial subject under the sun. in a given week, there are
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thousands more extracurricular activities, sermons, performances and exhibits dealing with difficult topics, not to mention student protests or expression by outside groups or uninvited speakers. for the most part, these occur without incident. just by way of example from several years ago, in the space of just more than a week at the university of mississippi, we hosted salman rushdie, the queen of jordan and spike lee. within that same week, they hosted a debate and invited the aclu and nra to set up shop on issues alley on the day of the debate, giving each group an opportunity to speak to the assembled crowd. we also dealt with a demonstration by the klan in full regalia on the same day we played a football game with asu. the point. we can supply anecdotes for anything we prefer, but i don't
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think the objective data that we are facing a crisis, at least with university actions, policies and decisions. frankly, we would be hard pressed to find any civic institution is better than universities or colleges when it comes to civil discourse on issues that divide us. it's not surprising that when we experience first amendment conflicts in our country, those conflicts are most likely to occur where speech and debate are most likely to occur on college campuses. so if we must be careful not to make generalizations, fraudulent generalizations based on anecdotes, what are the objective facts? what does the data tell us? fire, led by ronald shivly, politics, and there is more work to be done, we have fear with green lights and red lights than ever before.
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in other words, university policy with respect to free speech or month limited today than they were last year or the year before. fire also tracks the dissertation incidents we've heard about the last several years. they've tracked them for about seven years and they range from a low of 6 to a high of 24 in 2016. they dropped tie low lao a low with only five reported in 2017. we're talking about microscopic numbers. again, that doesn't mean the individual instances don't deserve attention and maybe even legal action to enforce the laws. but it does not a crisis make. for more than 40 years -- based on more than 40 years of data gathered by the general social survey, we see that the limit of free speech has written over time and they support free speech more than other college
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campuses. therefore, attending college increases one's amendment to values. what you're hearing up here is trying to define what the issue really is. is the issue a culture of victimhood as ms. mcdonald discussed or a drift toward authoritarianism that both sides of the debate are comfortable with? the lack of diversity in the academy, are those the issues we're more concerned about? are we concerned about the use of power in formal universities? if the concern is the latter, i do not see a crisis. which brings me to my second point. while i don't think we face a crisis on campus with respect to violations of first amendment rights, we can have other discussions about viewpoint, diversity and those things. universities do face real challenges managing and protecting speech, in particular offensive speech.
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as someone on the front lines trying to manage a campus, i'll mention three. first, when it comes to offensive and protected expression, what we call hate speech, universities are on the horns of a legal dilemma. universities have a legal obligation to protect students from a hostile environment. that's something we saw the department of education talking about in the recent rutgers case that was talked about by professor volet. we have the responsibility to protect students and they're under a similar responsibility to protect employees. it is a constitutional duty not to punish public expression. many commentators suggest that universities cannot and should not prohibit harassing speech until it has actually created a hostile environment. but if the university is indifferent to hostile speech and allows a hostile environment
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to develop, they have breached their responsibility under title 9 or perhaps title 7. the university is reliable to the speaker before it creates a hostile environment, or it is liable to the target of the harassment before it has created a hostile environment. it is the task to fulfill one duty without creating liability for the other. the second challenge is facing provocateurs. people who do not come to campus in civil discourse or to advance debate but to use our campuses as a foil or a stage to derive attention. they come there for a battle not to exchange blows. they are not always members of campus communities but outside groups hoping to use our campuses as a theatrical backdrop or become a martyr in the culture wars.
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in these cases our security costs are not related to protest or counterprotest by members of the community but by people who come to our campus to fight. all agree that protecting the campus in violence is a compelling interest. last year the university of california-berkeley spent $40 million on free speech in the month of september. so how much should universities spend to provide a stage for provocateurs? stated differently, how much should a student have to spend in tuition so a provocateur can use a campus to grab headlines? is there any limit? those security issues and what we do about those situations are a real challenge facing universities. the third challenge has to do with our students. one of my former provosts used to say, we teach to a parade. we meet students who are not reformed and who have not accepted the free society that we hold dear.
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many of these students are from homogeneous, non-diverse backgrounds. if we mold the freshman class into citizens and scholars ready to meet the challenges of today and the world tomorrow, we have a whole new batch of freshmen the next year. we start over. when we recruit these students to campus and welcome them into our communities, we communicate the campus' core values around respect. we tell them we're a community, a family. we tell them of our diversity. we tell them their campus is their new home. so when someone comes and spews divisive, credited or racist ideas, many of the students don't understand how, in light of our values, we can allow speech to take place. students of late are allowing a speaker to use university facilities with some sort of approval, which leads us to some best practices in dealing with
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offensive speech. first and foremost, universities must do what universities do best: teach. we must teach the importance of a robust marketplace of ideas for intellectually requiring. we must teach that the push for diversity and higher education itself must always be grounded, especially in terms of legal analysis, and the notion of the marketplace of ideas that we need people from different backgrounds and perspective actiperspectives in the classroom so we may glean educational benefits of an adverse environment, we must have students to reflect ideas of self-examination. we must teach students that bad ideas, even hateful or offensive ideas, are ideas. to that end, some institutions are reimagining a program aimed at introducing students to campus life. universities are addressing
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expressing freedom of speech. if you want to see what some universities are doing, it's a good example. our second best practice for universities that manage offensive speakers most effectively, they use examples of hate or intolerance as teaching moments. faculty advise students on how to make their voices heard, how to join issues on ideas that offend, with ways to protest in a meaningful way and confronting pernicious ideas rather than forcing them underground. the faculty helps students organize meaningful counterprotests, keeping values of the campus or university. free speech speakers often reflect debate or reflection that lead to tremendous personal and community growth. but in offending free speech, and this is important, especially the rights of others to spread hateful, pernicious
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ideas, we must never act like hate speech is benign. we must never dismiss students as snowflakes because they feel subjective injury when they're exposed to virulent, toxic or divisive ideas. the old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me are the biggest lie our mothers ever told us. we do not protect speech because it does no harm or because hate poses no threat in the marketplace of ideas. quite the contrary. we protect speech and we protect ideas because ideas are powerful. we have to remember that when we say speech is free, we do not mean that it has no cost. in dealing with our students, we must remember that the cost of offensive speech is disproportionately born by historically underrepresented minorities and margealized peoples. we must attempt to feign fear or loss in individuals if they're going to persist in higher education. we must accept that some speech
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is dangerous which are free to be expressed. which leads me to another best practice with respect to universities that handle these issues well. even as we seek to remedy and combat the impact of hate speech, we must help students understand that why we may not do so by punishing the speaker. that's a tool in our toolbox we do not have. we must help students understand that why we have chosen as a culture and a society, not to give those in authority, like me on campus, the power to unpunish popular speech. the power to unpunish popular speech rarely works well for the margealized or the revolutionary. finally we tell students that free speech is rare speech more than prohibition, then the university must use our words. the best universities know how to protect the speaker while joining issues with the idea expressed. they know how to allow speech without suggesting all ideas have equal merit.
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they know how to vindicate or promote all the baggage, imposing hate or dangerous notions of authoritarianism while protecting the rights of others to hold and express those same credited notions. one last thought. the first amendment gets it right. we don't need more rules. we have the tools we need when there are incidents of universities misusing power. rules will not change the hearts and minds of anyone. they will not lead to more viewpoint diversity or win any more logic battles in the marketplace of ideas. we really appreciate the opportunity to have a voice from the campus. >> thank you, we really appreciate you providing that voice here today. now, mr. tanner has raised a number of issues that i'd like to hear from our panelists on, and we'll go in the same order in which we did opening remarks. we'll start with you, professor voluk. let me raise the question that i understood mr. tanner to have
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phrased it. do you agree there is no free speech crisis on campus, as mr. tanner alleged or asserted, and what is the issue we're really discussing here today? what's the underlying nub of the matter when it comes to this question of free speech on campus? >> well, look, let's keep a sense of proportion as between north koreas having a nuclear bomb and free speech on campus, i'm more worried about the former. i'm more worried about socialism than i am about campus speech codes. there are lots of things to be worried about. but as -- i wouldn't say it's a crisis as such, but universities have been restricting speech, chilling speech in the sense that the real danger with the speech codes isn't that they're enforced, it's that they don't need to be enforced because the students are too afraid to talk. and also, and this is one thing
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i agree with several of the panelists on, part of the problem is that even without outright suppression of student speech or speaker speech, there are lots of topics that aren't discussed on campuses. abortion, for example, is something that divides the country more or less in half, though some are more complicated than that. my sense is at my own ucla law school, i don't recall a single event in the last 20 years. memory isn't perfect, but i'm pretty sure there weren't many where there were serious debates about abortion. university as a whole, my sense is they rarely discuss those things. that's actually more of a problem, although the thing is it's also a problem that's harder to fight precisely because it's not something to be fought through legal channels or institutional channels. i also think universities should
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condemn things such as hate speech. i agree if nazis come to campus, it's okay for the university to say, nazis are bad, the ku klux klan is bad. universities maybe don't actually need to because it's pretty obvious to many people, but sometimes it may feel better. it may make people feel better to say that. the problem is it's interesting to hear some of the things. i recall, and i'm trying to get this right, condemning virulent, toxic and divisive speech. whether you intended to have it be as broad as that. but it's very easy for things to flow from one to the other. toxic. that's bad, we don't like anything that's toxic, right? divisive? well, lots of speech is divisive. much of it is constitutionally protected. most of it i don't think the university should speak out on. for example, if somebody says something about current political -- current politics that sharply condemns the
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president or condemns his position, i don't think the university should step in and say, no, no, this is very bad. i suppose if it's -- if it advocates violence in an explicit sense, if it has vulgarity, they could say, guys, talk about it more politely, but i don't think a lot of ideas should be suppressed. there is a lot of discussion of race from the left which is divisive talk, talk about white privilege and the like. some of it may be accurate. it's hard to tell for sure, but i don't think we should, the moment somebody says, this is divisive, try to suppress it, and i don't think people who use that label mean it. they mean certain kinds of divisive speech. but we see this attempt to suppress speech is used with regard anti-abortion speech, with regard to affirmative action speech, with regard to speech as to whether people should be required to use certain pronouns as the subject
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of the pronouns prefer, and if the university takes the occasion every time to speak out about that, you know, i think it may be within its rights to do that, but i think it itself may be dangerous to public debate. so while i think it's valuable for the university to speak out about certain things, there is the danger of kind of -- of demand creep. well, i spoke out against the nazis, why aren't you speaking out against the anti-same-sex marriage people? they're just as bad as the nazis, aren't they? many people believe that. then you would have the university using its considerable power that people know over their employees, staff and students to sharply condemn something and send the message even without outright suppression, that this is the sort of the thing if you value your career, you may be better to avoid. i'm not saying the university should never speak about such things, but i think there is a
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danger, especially when things are defined in as broad a way as divisive or virulent or even toxic for when the universities do speak out. >> your thoughts, and if you have any thoughts on the ish u professor volokh just raised that universities are equipped to talk about things toxic or manage those in any way. >> mr. volokh was very scrupulous in claiming there was not a problem with the attempt to stifle non-orthodox views on campus and dismissing incidents. i could add to these are all liberal professors and speakers who have been silenced. brett weinstein at evergreen state college, susan goldberg at columbia, james goldberg at
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ohio, rutgers tried to shut down mark lillin and eric foster. they canceled a symposium on feminism. yet he speaks very broadly about this alleged parade of speakers that are spewing, in his words, divisive racist ideas, that they are -- that they are spewing hate speech. i don't know who he is referring to. the provocateur praise maya ply to mia annapolis and i suppose ann coulter, but the people who have been put under the hate speech category are people like ben shapiro, completely mainstream academic. amy wax at the university of pennsylvania law school who is going to speak at the next panel, one of the most respected legal scholars in the country.
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these are not -- and me. i'm not defending here, i'm not playing the victim, but i speak about minority support for the police in high crime neighborhoods. i don't think this is hate speech. i think that to even give validity to that rhetoric that somehow campuses are experiencing this parade of people spewing racist ideas is already part of the problem. he says that universities are the best at managing civil conflicts. well, maybe that's only because this victimology is already rapiding starting to spread into civil society as exemplified by the firing of computer scientist james demore from google in august of 2017. demore had written a fact-based
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reasonable memo challenging the reigning feminism at google, and by firing him, google used the identical language from campuses saying that google's employees were hurting because demore had presented a set of arguments about why there is not 50-50 gender parody at google that is not because of sexism on the part of engineers. even more worrisome than google firing demore was the fact that an associate general counsel at the national labor relations board wrote a memo upholding the firing on the grounds that this memo stconstituted harassment a sexual discrimination. we are now seeing this equation of rational argument with
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injurious hate speech moving into the academic civil society. i think this is something to be very worried about. the universities are spreading this model. i would also disagree with the emphasis on -- again, to use the term hate speech is already to take a position in this debate. because apart from the white supremacist rally at the university of virginia, i do not know of any speakers who have been engaged in hate speech on campuses as that term could possibly be reasonably defined. but to say that we want to focus on the costs borne by historically marginalized minorities of hate speech, i think, gets it backwards. it's the cost of censorship that have been historically borne by
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marginalized minorities. centralized power, whether it's from the state or from an institution like a university, is used not to hurt the majority but to hurt the minorities. and it is the freedom of speech, the power to challenge to speak truth to power that has brought down regimes. do we want to silence martin luther king? do we want to silence frederick douglas, or do we believe in the power of rhetoric and persuasion to challenge that power? i think, again, the core problem is the victimology narrative but is definitely having consequences in how we define speech. and just to finish, as eugene properly brought up, to say, well, we haven't seen six dozen instances of somebody challenging racial preferences being shouted down, that is because there is a massive
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informal censorship going on on campuses. most professors have their heads down. there are a very few remarkably courageous students who are willing to stand up and challenge the orthodoxies, but i can promise you that fewer and fewer people are willing to subject themselves to what brett weinstein and nicolas comstock has experienced at every university. >> if i can interrupt, we're all for protecting all speech and offensive speech, and that's for people who don't have power more than anyone else. what i'm talking about is a very discreeti issue, and that is ar universities using hard power to punish speech in violation of the first amendment? that is a different question than whether there is a developing cultural problem of a
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cultural victimhood. that's a very different question. i want to suggest that we should form conclusions about whether first amendment rights are being violated based on data and based on long-term data, not based on anecdotes. because we can always find anecdotes to support our propositions. every one of those anecdotes, we talk about someone's rights being violated, are serious and should be taken seriously. when there is a violation of the law, the doj should be looking at whether they should take a position. that does not mean that we have an epidemic of universities using formal power in violation of the first amendment. that's where i think we need to be careful about drawing conclusions based on anecdotes rather than data. >> i thank you for that point, and i think that dovetails with my question for you, robert, which is mr. tanner has pointed to some data from fire, including the trend in green light rewards or recognition that fire has been handing out. share some of your thoughts. are you seeing trend in higher
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education and free speech issues from the perspective of fire? what, if anything, would you say about the green light-red light data trends that mr. tanner has talked about and generally? >> i think with respect to written policies there are more, which is what we evaluate with regard to our speech policies. there has been a huge improvement, and frankly a big part of that improvement has been directly due to a whole enormous amount of work by fire and other groups. this isn't something that universities have just sort of come around to by their own. there's been a whole lot of pushing on this. about 10 years ago, it was closer to 80 or 90% of schools were red light speech code. we've been able to push that down. 79%, if i remember correctly, in 2009. that decrease has been the result of a lot of pressure from
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students and professors with the right to sue on campus. there's been a lot of progression there but it's not been a great awakening of tolerance, it's been a lot of holding people's nose to the grindstone and making them do it. i think with regard to the hard power question that lee was mentioning, i think that does dovetail a little bit with what heather was saying, because she said there is this enormous apparatus, this sort of informal censorship that's happening on college campuses. there might not have to be that many brett weinsteins, the thing is everybody knows about those. one of the principles about the way we deal with it is there is this chilling effect. i've talked to brett weinstein at length. this is a person who has been through a lot. he doesn't have another job at a university, and frankly, i'm not
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sure what the prospects are for him and he's done nothing wrong but he's been talked about. he'll be radioactive if he says or does anything. i think that's true of a lot of these professors who are willing to come forward. yes, the censorship does a lot of work. it's come to a crisis now, i agree with you, gene, that north korean nukes are definitely much more of a crisis, and i'm the executive director of fire, and i'm telling you, yeah, this is not the most important issue in the entire world. it is a very important issue, but is it a crisis or not? i want to be careful. fire does not usually call it a crisis. but i think one point you made, lee, about the fact it's costing university az lies a lot of mon it's obvious it has gotten worse lately. my point is if there is not a
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crisis but a reflection point, berkeley wasn't spending a few million dollars after someone tried to speak or in terms of them trying to come. i think definitely something has changed on campuses where universities are now saying, oh, my goodness. if we want to have something that's gone off without a hitch before, now we have to spend huge amounts of money to do that. what's driving that? i suspect it's universities bringing this expectation that there is going to be some kind of filter. you also mentioned, and i hate to use you as a punching bag, so i feel sort of bad, but you mentioned can universities speak out against bad speech? universities do have rules about speech, they can speak out about speech. the reason students think it's a home and they'll be protected by that speech is because the universities are saying, hey,
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you're going to be protected by that speech. we agree with you. we're kind of sorry that these people have the right to free speech that they do. i think that's a lot of what is driving that expectation that students have now, and frankly, i don't think they had 20 years ago, although that may be my old man cane waving. >> do you think there are more use of hard power that would violate the first amendment today on campuses five years ago or ten years ago? >> as fire as gotten bigger and the issue has gotten bigger, we have more cases coming in every year. we have more reports of it. we know we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg, so it's hard to say. i think actually the uses of hard power have probably -- i don't know if the numbers decreased, i think they become a little more ambiguous in many ways, a little more complicated. but when they do blow up, they've blown up into a huge
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problem for universities. the echo effect had a huge part in that. i think that's been driving it, too. >> to that point, robert, i want to give everyone on the panel an opportunity to pick up on that trend, which i think is a very important one. we've received some questions from the audience, and i'm going to combine a few of these questions into one, but i'm going to read the first sentence of one because it's further proof that we have a university crowd here today. because it says, university students don't spring into being like athena when they arrive on campus. the athena reference kind of shows the group we have here today, so thank you for that. two questions i would like to get everybody's viewpoint on, starting with you, professor volokh, this notion that students come to a university with a set of experiences and some already formed, perhaps, ideas. they also reflect broader and social cultural trends, and we
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now live in the age of social media. i think everybody agrees there is an issue of free speech rights on campus, it's just how much of an issue i think we're debating right now. how does this reflect broader trends among students and the internet to magnify speech and lead to some group dynamics that robert was just talking about, and how is that projecting even outside the university environment? >> it's hard to tell why a large group of people or why one person do what they do. some people theorize that part of it stems from greater speech restrictions in high schools ask junior high schools. not greater than in the long past where i think restrictions then were more severe, but in the '70s and school districts in the '80s, and that when schools
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tell kids, you can't talk about this, you can't talk about that, then they come and bring that to universities with them. i'm not sure that's right, but that's a possibility. another possibility, picking up on something that we just heard, is a lot of things in life are a crisis of expectations. if you tell students that not only is their offensive speech offensive, but it's a violation of their civil rights to have to hear certain things, then my sense of human nature is it makes it more offensive rather than just saying, oh, that idiot is saying what he's saying, i'm going to try my best to ignore him. how can i ignore it? he's violating civil rights. it's like he's slapping me in the face. i shouldn't ignore that, either. so it may be by telling students they're entitled to this protection, that they are more likely to ghetto feet offended.
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the last thing, this isn't about all students but it is about the violence and the affected cost. i'm not a psychologist, but common life tells us behavior that is rewarded is repeated. if people know that by shouting or by throwing rocks or sometimes just by threatening something, they can get stuff that they dislike suppressed, then they feel, wow, that's cool. i got this stuff i like suppressed. i feel powerful from doing that. i got no pushback. i ought to do more of that. what's more, other people say, wait a minute, why can't i get in on the action? if these people are suppressing the speech they dislike, what about me suppressing speech that i dislike? just to give an example, there was an anti-israel ad that was removed from -- or that was rejected by, i think, seattle
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transit authority because some people -- i think it was like maybe one or two -- said threats. if you continue this, i will vandalize the bus. oh, we're going to take it down, says the authority. you know, those people probably got the message from some other things they had heard in the news about how some speech they disliked was being effectively suppressed that way, and other people will get the message from this. so i think when it comes to the particular kind of suppression, not indeed by the university directly as such, but possibly by the university refusing to allow certain speakers because of security cuts, or just the university having to spend a lot of money, which you're right, we wish they didn't have to spend, part of it is maybe they didn't spend enough back then. they didn't do enough to punish the students who were acting violent or shouting people down. by doing that, they led others to feel, well, this is something that will achieve my goals.
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>> ms. macdonald, i would like to give you an opportunity to chime in on this. i think you have some views of the broader cultural issues and maybe even a social media point. >> well, if i understood the question, it's what's causing this, and i would argue again that it is the rise of a ev ever more delusional vic tomology to -- victimology on campuses. a minority student on brown university said it's too hard to have to show up on time on colleges because we're so focused at staying alive on brown. now, i'm sorry, this is completely hyperbolic and delusional. no student at brown is at risk of his life, yet that sort of
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maudlin, just hysterical rhetoric is now the currency of the realm. and we are teaching favorite victim groups on campus to think of themselves as existential threat, and the command to shut down what is then deemed hate speech, which is anything that challenges campus orthodoxies grows out of that claim to be at existential risk. hate speech, we have a few other alchemical transactions that go on. this was exemplified by an op-ed published by a professor and administrator at nyu through fire several years ago at the "new york times" that talked about hate speech causing
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literal damage to minorities, and if you're already at risk of survival, then the idea that speech is action, that speech becomes a form of behavior, and this was rhetoric that was used by the middlebury faculty as a reason for shutting down charles murray, something that resulted in a middlebury professor getting pummeled, so she got a concussion, had to wear a neck brace for months, allison stanger. the idea that hate speech is a form of action and therefore can be shut down grows out of this narrative of the oppression of females and underrepresented minorities on campuses. and that's why i argue that we are not going to be able to open
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up the ability to challenge campus orthodoxies unless we take on that core problem. >> i can give you an opportunity to respond to that. >> sure. i think to determine if we see something different in students today, we need a lot of longitudinal data like the sort that robert and fire gathered and like we've seen from the knight foundation and pugh and others, we need more logical data to determine if there is actual change or difference in the attitude of students toward speech over time rather than just a snapshot or two to really determine if our students are different today than yesterday. we need to look at data. one of the reasons i cited of the general society survey, i think that's the name of it, because we have a lot of data over the years, since the '70s, and it suggests that our society is more open to speech and expression today than it was yesterday, and that college graduates are more open than others who never attended college. i read somewhere this week, and i couldn't find it in my
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remarks, about a study of ucla freshmen and seniors that i think was repeated in the same cohort, and their attitudes toward free expression became more consistent with their values during their time at ucla, if i remember that reporting correctly. that was a very small cohort. but i think we need data to figure that out. what's happening? do our students leave with a better expectation and understanding of the value of why we don't punish free speech? do they leave with different attitudes than they come in with, and is it better than five years ago or five years from now? i think we need more data. >> great. let me ask a question, yet another from the audience here, that i think brings a lot of these issues into focus. one thing that mr. tyner has said is that universities are concerned and rightly so about protecting underrepresented minorities and others who may come into an environment and
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feel hostility. and they may even view the entire debate about free speech to be something hostile to members of underrepresented minority groups. there may be members of those groups who think that all the talk about free speech is just a justified speech that's critical of them and not critical of the majority. so with that framing in mind, let me ask this question. it's really two hypotheticals, siem starting with you, robert, and see what you think on this. was it appropriate for oklahoma president david boren to expel fraternity members for singing a racist song? >> no. >> all righty. what, if any, circumstances should a studecollege be able t discipline a student for calling another student the n word? >> that's a little more complicated question. regarding president boren's decision to, i believe, not just disband the fraternity, kick
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everybody out of their fraternity house within, i think, 48 hours. they had the letters down. all because several people were filmed on a bus -- not everybody on the bus on this fraternity party bus of some kind -- singing what was acknowledged to be extremely sort of hair-raisingly racist song. there was -- that was such a clear example of guilt by association, and not only is that protected speech, racist songs are protected speech. it wasn't aimed at somebody there. it just simply doesn't arise to the level of protected speech and university of oklahoma is a public university. so he was not justified in doing that and fire condemned that very badly when it happened. i can only imagine how it would feel -- there were people on another bus. i can only imagine how i would feel if i was one of the people on the other bus and was thrown out of my home and kicked out of my school for people on the
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other bus singing a song i may not have even known about. so, no, when it comes to when simply using the words becomes something for which you could move to discipline, it has to rise to the standard of discriminatory harassment under the supreme court's decision in davis from 1999. so simply using a word one time or even several times is not going to be enough. it needs to be a pattern of harassing behavior, generally a pattern. if it's very, very severe one time, it could be a one-time thing like a sexual assault. but it has to be a pattern of behavior that is so pervasive and offensive that it keeps the victims, a student, from getting their education at that school. it's a high standard because the reason when it's peer on peer stuff, which i believe is what you're talking about here -- it would be one thing if it was a professor or administrator
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saying that, then you've got other issues of just employee discipline in that case if they're calling people that. students aren't in a position, skbre generally, of having power over one another. a lot of things that makes harassment difficult is the power of one over the other. if a student calls me a bad name whether or not it has to do with my race or my political beliefs -- frankly people are called bad names because of their political beliefs all the time now -- that in itself doesn't rise to a level of harassment. so i would say that it it raises to that standard and the university would have to investigate that and establish that, then yes, they could be punished. but just simply uttering the word? we had a case where a procedure at brandeis was explaining the use of the term wetback because somebody asked him about it in class. and he was disciplined by the university. this is a professor that had been there about 50 years. i believe he just ended up
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having to retire through the whole mess just to sort of make it go away. you can't let the trip wire for it be just at that low a level. >> professor volokh, what do you think on this question and how you've maybe seen this play out in your experience? >> sure. there is a reason that historically people on the left but people all over worry about the slippery slope. i have to warn you, i wrote a hundred pages long, literally, 15 years ago, siem going to try to con dendense it a little bit. but the bottom line is once a particular kind of legal rule is accepted, there are going to be consequences from it outside of the original situation. there are lots of mechanisms through which this happens, but just to give an example from a different area that i think many of you might have thought about elsewhere, but precisely because it's a different kind of debate is privacy.
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one particular form of surveillance may be very modest. but it's used as a precedent for other forms of surveillance and still others. i do think we have less privacy now than before, maybe for good reason. maybe dangers require that, but i think if you look at the history of surveillance and restrictions on privacy from, say, the '60s to the present, we see that slippery slope. the same thing happens with regard to university speech, university student speech. that once you accept the preposition that somebody using off-campus speech can be expelled because he uses a racist slur -- you can say it can only be limited to racial slurs, but why should we think that? why wouldn't we infer it's going to happen. other people would say, wait a minute, he used an anti-semitic
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slur, anti-gay slur? isn't that the same? aren't we acquired that protection? he didn't call me a dike, he called me a zionous pig. lots of jews understand and view that as code word for kiker or something along those lines. then you get something from the office of civil rights that says, certainly many jews perceive that as an attack especially in light of what they see as maybe physical violent attacks on jews in israel and elsewhere. frankly very few in america. so this is the way things happen in a legal system built on analogy and precedent. tempting as it is to say, these are different, these are communists, these are nazis. we're going to have a separate rule for them and we're going to
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keep it from spreading. it's hard to keep it from spreading, and that's why even nazi speech needs to be protected. once we get to a point where off-campus speech, speech ythat could have just as well have been at a party or over dinner if somebody heard it, if one can be expelled from a university for that, then the door is wide open. >> if i can just add, i asked progressives, do you trust donald trump to define hate speech and apply the sanctions on you? i assume the answer is no. so do not assume that you are always going to be in power, which you are now certainly on the university campuses, to be able to control that extraordinary principle to be able to silence your enemies. because believe me, donald trump would love to use it.
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>> lee tyner, i'd like to ask you, building on this hypothetical, do you think that use of the n word or some of the other words we've heard up here would qualify as hate speech? >> so robert and i generally agree with what the law says about this. hate speech is not a useful term at all in trying to determine what's actionable under the law. it could be clearly hate speech, but it's not still protected. let's be clear, hate speech is not useful as a term of art in trying to determine what is actionable and protected speech and what is not, all right? but the question is whether or not the n word can be used to create a hostile environment. sure it can be used to create a hostile environment depending on the circumstances and if it's unavoidable for a student to have to endure to go to class or go to their bedroom at night. it depends on the circumstances and whether it's directed at a person or individual, and what's the context? one of the challenges we face in my remarks is the legal standard
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for when a university has to pay the victim of discrimination for having failed to cure the discrimination is whether or not they've acted with reckless disregard -- no, with deliberative indifference toward harassing conduct that is so severe, pervasive or objectively -- get the term of phrase right. >> severe and objectively offensive. >> to objectively deny a student of programs or benefits, basically. that's the standard, right? if we don't cure harassing conduct before it creates a hostile -- that we know about before it creates a hostile environment, we are liable to the student for having failed to cure the harassment. but at least many suggest we have to sit and watch the n word be used multiple times before it creates the hostile environment to be punishable. that can't be right.
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there has to be some room where the university can walk whether it's neither liable to the speaker or the victim. there has to be some space there somewhere. that having been said, the abstract of awful ideas and use of racial slurs in the abstract context of promoting ideas we disagree with is not -- does not create a hostile environment under the law. i think i would agree where the tension is and what the law is with respect to that. >> well, we have just two minutes remaining. i'd like to give each of our panelists about 30 seconds for any closing thoughts you might have, starting with you, professor. >> i just want to stress one thing that i mentioned before. free speech has many functions, but one of the most important ones at the university is that it gives us confidence in what is accepted received wisdom. that's true in history, in
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science, in everything else. the real scholars will tell you it should never have real confidence. everything should always be up for grabs. i totally agree with that, but as a practical matter, we as outsiders need to be able to hear, you know, here's a question about whether there are biological, cognitive differences among the sexes. well, are there or aren't there? if there are, what's the magnitude? as outsiders, we need to be able to have sources we turn to. and if we see that there is a conventional wisdom among scholars in a good sense, then we can say, okay, fine, we'll defer to that judgment. but not if we know that there hasn't been free speech both in the university -- both among the faculty and students and graduate students and everybody else who can say, wait, maybe that's not quite right. as long as that process of free speech continues, that is when we can actually have confidence that there are some things that
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are right and we could actually measure some of the other speech against it and say this is speech that is false, so we should probably say it's false. once there's that kind of suppression, it doesn't just undermine speech, it undermines academic output, and that's very dangerous. >> miss mcdonald. >> again, i do not think we're living through an epidemic of racist acts on campus. we've heard the example of the "n" word used on the fraternity bus, but i haven't heard any other examples of that. i would also say more broadly that we have two choices. we can live in a world where we resolve our differences through reason, through rhetoric, through efforts of persuasion, or we have a world where force is used. there's really no middle ground. whether that force is implicit
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in both an informal censorship of disfavored ideas, formal censorship, or as we've seen in the last several years, the use of literal violence to try and shut down speech. that's our alternative. so i think that we need to be completely unequivocal in the idea that anything short of threats of physical violence, those disagreements have to be resolved through other ideas that challenge them. we cannot lose our confidence in the power of reason, in the enlightenment values that have given us so much process b--
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prosperity, freedom, and progress. so to go down the road of carving out exceptions for hate speech is very dangerous. again, let me reaffirm, what really colleges are about is the transmission of knowledge. these things that we're talking about here are on the surface and what they are about is the passing on of an inheritance. >> there is a man we had speak at a conference last year. his name is daryl davis. he's an african-american musician. his, i guess maybe you'd call it a hobby, is befriending members of the ku klux klan. he goes to rallies and befriends members and tries to relate with them as a person. so far he's convinced dozens of them to leave the klan. in fact, they give him his robe. he has a whole collection of kkk robes from people who are quitting. the reason i bring this person up and the reason we brought him
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to fire is because the key to trying to deal with this bad speech, and i think there's -- because campuses are a more diverse place, and they are a place that there's much more ferment right now than maybe there was in past years, although certainly not from the 1960s. it's because we've given up, it seems, on persuading instead of coercing. there seems to be this sort of intellectual virus that's gotten in, that if nobody ever hears something bad, if they don't hear that somebody doesn't like people, they don't hear anti-semitism, it wouldn't occur to them normally. what i would suggest is, you know, i don't know whether or not that's true or not, but i do know that persuading somebody to change their mind is going to be a lot more effective than trying to make sure that they're never exposed to that topic. soing so i think to the extent that universities and other cultural institutions are currently
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making this effort to make it so that we're not persuading you. we're not letting other people persuade. but we're going to actually ban your speech if you step over the line. that's been a huge mistake. >> well, i'd say a couple things. one is we need to encourage universities and faculty members to don't grow weary of doing good. by that, i mean they have new students every year who come from environments where they've not confronted ideas that they're uncomfortable with, where they've not been required to and don't have an appreciation necessarily of our civic institutions or the values that are important to the maintenance of our civic institutions. and that's one of the key roles of universities. again, i think the data shows that universities actually move the needle in a favorable way on those key things and that college graduates have more favorable views toward free expression and value those ideals more than the rest of our society. so we can't grow weary of that
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notion, and we can't act like the fact that 18-year-olds, new 18-year-olds come next year who are not fully formed, and some hold racist views and some don't value the first amendment. the fact that that's true, we can't let that discourage us or somehow make us think that we're failing. that's one thing i would say. second thing i would say is the same thing i say when i'm speaking to campus professionals or student-life professionals at other conferences or campuses. many of the most sublime days on a campus that i've seen in my career have been when hateful, offensive speakers come to our campus. it's because our students think and our students engage, and they struggle with what it means and learn about free expression and learn about -- they begin to have more meaningful conversations than they otherwise would have that day on campus. so i've always viewed it as something of a great day when we successfully have speakers that
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are very controversial. it inevitably leads to advancement in the citizen scholars on our campus in how they think and engage with the world. i try to encourage campuses not to fear offensive speakers coming to campus but to take advantage of when they come. >> please join me in thanking john and our panelists for that outstanding discussion. thank you very much. [ applause ] coming up today on c-span3, a discussion about trade, protectionism, and president trump's tariffs on china. live from the brookings institution in washington, d.c., at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. also online at and on the c-span radio app. and later, the organization for security and cooperation in europe's high commissioner on national minorities delivers remarks on conflict prevention
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at the johns hopkins school of international studies at 4:30 eastern time, also live on c-span3, online at, and on the c-span radio app. and at 7:00 p.m. today, president trump hosting the ceremonial swearing in of supreme court justice brett kavanaugh in the east room of the white house. live on our companion network, c-span. tonight on the communicators, assistant homeland security secretary for cybersecurity and communications talks about cyber threats against the u.s. and how the country is working to foil foreign efforts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections and emergency communications. >> every single day, every system whether it's a federal agency, a bank, a local government office, you're constantly battling, if you will, actors who are trying to get into your networks. if you have sensitive data, you
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have some system that powers something important, you have everything from your every day hacker trying to deface your website for stoorm storm -- som purpose they believe is important. all the way to nation states trying to gain access either to sensitive information that may be useful to them or trying to be in a position where critical infrastructure is held at risk. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. the president of the national association of immigration judges spoke at the national press club last month about challenges facing federal immigration courts. she said the justice department's implementation of quotas for adjudicating immigration cases is overwhelming immigration judges.


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