DePaul University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom says they will defy an administration ban on “controversial” speakers, and go ahead with an event next week at the Chicago school featuring conservative speaker Ben Shapiro and “Based Mom” Christina Hoff Sommers. Late Friday, YAF issued an open letter to DePaul University’s administration, noting that they could no longer accept DePaul’s argument that Shapiro did not “substantively contribute” to campus discourse, and that “security concerns” warranted keeping him off campus. DePaul’s Vice President of Facilities, Bob Janis, issued the ban in August, telling YAF students that they could not host the author... [because] DePaul’s modest security forces simply could not handle the ensuing chaos.
“Given the experiences and security concerns that some other schools have had with Ben Shapiro speaking on their campuses, DePaul cannot agree to allow him to speak on our campus at this time,” Mr Janis wrote. Since then, however, Shapiro has spoken at several schools, including Yale and UT Austin, without incident — as has Milo Yiannopolous, whose “Dangerous Faggot” tour has criss-crossed several states. YAF argues that it’s DePaul’s students, and not its invited speakers, that create the problem. DePaul’s YAF branch also note that DePaul claims to have doubled down on its commitment to free speech and the open exchange of ideas on campus, creating a “free speech” speaker series that did not feature any conservative speakers. Hosting Shapiro, they contend, would be well in line with that commitment.
So, to recap. The university’s stated rationale for censorship is that it can’t protect either the speakers or their audience from disruption and thuggery by its own students, which is quite an admission, really. And as we’ve seen, the threat of physical intimidation and mob harassment – by these would-be intellectuals of the left – is quite real. What the university doesn’t admit, however, is that this problem won’t be solved by banning any speakers deemed remotely controversial – in this case, two speakers who prefer evidence and debate over threats and hysteria. It seems to me that the problem will only be addressed, or begin to be addressed, when leftist students no longer feel that mob censorship and physical intimidation are things they can get away with, and get away with repeatedly, without facing consequences. Say, being expelled.
Given the rich seam of psychodrama hinted at above, in which victimhood is professed with rumblings of mob intimidation, and “diversity” comes to mean intolerant mental conformity, it’s perhaps worth revisiting this earlier episode at California State University, Los Angeles, where Mr Shapiro was attempting to speak, and noting both the level of student thuggery and the participation of faculty. Specifically, one Dr Robert Weide, an assistant professor of sociology - a grown man who spends his time tearing down flyers for events he doesn’t like, who denounces those who disagree with him as “fascists” and “white supremacists,” and who offers to fight dissenting students in the university gym, boasting, “I lift bro.” Several videos of Dr Weide’s progressive protégés and their, um, physical vigorousness can be found here.
Those of you unfamiliar with Ben Shapiro’s lectures may enjoy his comments on Dr Weide’s mental contortions, which are interrupted repeatedly by protestors pulling the fire alarm. There’s also a short but effective deconstruction of so-called “white privilege,” and a longer Q&A session filmed at the University of Rochester. And this lively lecture and discussion at Westmont College, which students were banned from recording by university administrators. With the result that Mr Shapiro is obliged to speak with one arm outstretched and holding his own camera, while sharing a number of facts one isn’t supposed to know about.
Christina Hoff Sommers’ notoriously violence-inspiring opinions can of course be viewed here. Oh, and here’s Dr Sommers’ security detail for her talk at the aforementioned California State University, Los Angeles. I’m sure the officers were only there to prevent Dr Sommers from jumping off the stage, glassing someone and feasting on their blood.
And at risk of banging the same old drum, it may be worth bearing in mind that the Clown Quarter of academia, as seen above, is, in effect, the left’s proving ground and fiefdom, a place where leftist conceits are developed and institutionalised, and where they prevail untroubled by embarrassment and all but unopposed. The Clown Quarter is therefore a taster of the left’s idealised, corrected, more compassionate society. And as such, it tells us quite a lot about who its proponents are, and who they would be, given more power.