Where free speech should be promoted, free speech is under attack

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.

(I have posted often on this topic. Here is commentary from Rachel L. Brand, Associate Attorney General of the United States. She makes excellent points about the erosion of Free Speech and the First Amendment at universities—places where a diversity of opinions SHOULD be available to all students, but sadly, are not. Ron Yates)

By Rachel L. Brand, Associate Atty General of the United States

Free speech is under attack at college campuses across the country.  The problem is not limited to a few colleges barring radical speakers to avoid a riot.  Universities large and small, public and private, are restricting students’ and professors’ speech or enabling others to silence speech with which they disagree.

These restrictions take a variety of forms.  For example, speech codes at many colleges ban speech that is “offensive,” a subjective standard that allows college administrators to arbitrarily ban speech they find disagreeable. For example, Georgia Gwinnett College stopped a student from speaking about his religious faith because it “disturbed the comfort of persons” – even after he had gotten a permit from the school to speak.

Other schools claim they allow free speech but impose so many rules and procedures that it is almost impossible for speakers to reach an audience. Pierce College in Los Angeles, for example, limited students’ “free speech” to a space the size of a couple parking spots and required a permit to speak even there.  At a community college in Michigan, a student was arrested and jailed for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution because they didn’t have a permit.

Even where they don’t limit speech directly, schools’ actions often enable students to silence others’ speech through shouting, threats of violence, or actual violence.

Sometimes schools fail to prevent students from intimidating and even attacking speakers, as happened