Colleges are no longer the cradle of free speech…they are just cradles.

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

What has happened to America’s once free-thinking universities?

What has happened to campuses that once fostered wide open debates on all topics, not just those deemed “safe” by school administrators or those that partisan and blinkered professors favor and endorse?

Since when did students at colleges need to be provided with “safe spaces” where controversial ideas and political philosophies they may not agree with are not to be debated or even mentioned?

What happened to the idea of bringing controversial viewpoints, concepts, and theories into the academy where they can be thoroughly and rationally examined and considered?

In short, what happened to the notion of academic freedom, which in essence says that scholars and students should have the freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or authorities) without being targeted for repression, termination, physical attack, or imprisonment.

It appears that the concept of academic freedom, which has its roots in the medieval European university, is on a respirator in the United States.

Conservative speakers are under fire on college campuses, and critics say school officials who should be fostering a climate of intellectual diversity are instead siding with violent groups out to shut down free speech.

The ongoing controversy at the University of California, Berkeley involving a planned speech by conservative pundit Ann Coulter is the latest example of a school caught between provocative speech and the threat of reactionary violence.

“You cannot impose arbitrary and harassing restrictions on the exercise of a Constitutional right,” Coulter said during a recent television interview.

            Ann Coulter

School officials wanted to avoid a replay of the Milo Yiannopoulos incident a few months ago, in which masked vandals did more than $100,000 worth of damage, setting fires and