AN OPED BY JOSH BLACKMAN IN THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: CUNY Law students heckled my talk on campus free speech.
I was invited to speak at the City University of New York School of Law about the importance of free speech on campus. Alas, I was not able to give that lecture as I had planned. For the first eight minutes of the hour-long lecture, a dozen students surrounded me — standing inches away — and shouted at me every time I opened my mouth. They charged that I was a white supremacist and a fascist. They even shamed an African-American student who came to hear me speak: “Why aren’t you with us?” The obstruction only ended after I began to engage the protesters. When I explained that — contrary to their slanders — I support the DREAM Act, one law student could only respond by screaming “F–k the Law!” With nothing of substance to say — one student actually mumbled, “I don’t want to hear this” — the protestors exited the room.
This event was at once a microcosm for the state of campus affairs. Students are enraged at federal and states laws that they view as unjust and discriminatory. When a right-of-center speaker arrives at their campus, they feel betrayed that the University failed to protect them from ideas they deem harmful. In response, they try to deny the visitor a platform, and shut down the lecture. Despite blatant misconduct, administration officials impose no disciplinary actions. Perhaps most tragically, the students who preach the loudest against intolerance are themselves the most closed-minded.
That’s because they’re not actually against intolerance.
Plus: “The CUNY protest was particularly disquieting because it was organized not merely by undergraduates, but by law students.” If law students at my school did this, I’d report them to the bar admissions committee.