Obama’s college prez says college campuses are no place for free speech


Union College, deaf center, New York

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

~ Socrates

David R. Harris formerly served in the Obama administration and was appointed by him. He waylaid that into a career move as President of Union College in New York. He wrote an essay in March for Inside Higher Education opposing free speech on college campuses. A Campus Is Not a Place for Free Speech, he opined.

If the hardcore left wants colleges to remain as indoctrination institutions, then his statement makes sense. He began his argument against free speech by claiming it was to promote free speech.

Free speech, in its purest form, is an exercise in what is achieved when a person yells a view and then leaves, after which someone with an opposing perspective does the same. The speakers do not grow as a result of the experience, and the audience has no opportunity to probe the opposing points of view. Such an exercise is guaranteed by the Constitution, and I wholeheartedly support the exercise of free speech in public spaces.

Controlling thoughts of the youth

The ‘free speech’ advocate wants free speech in the classroom, where it will be guided for “constructive engagement,” and graded [by leftist professors].

On campuses, however, we must strive for something more than free speech. Our mission requires that we seek what I refer to as constructive engagement. It is not enough for individuals to speak freely. We must also find myriad ways to put a range of views into conversation with one another.

It is what we do in classrooms every day. It is what we do on debate teams. 

What the president doesn’t say is that those are manipulated by leftist professors.

It is what happens across every campus, far more than critics appreciate. It is what happens in the lives of college students much more frequently than in the lives of most adults, in part because college campuses and social networks tend to be more diverse than “real world” neighborhoods and social clubs.

Socrates is rolling over in his grave.

It is interesting that he mentioned social networks as religious, conservatives, libertarians, and even classical liberals are being frozen out of the ones with the largest reach. Harris is talking about controlling thoughts and speech, indoctrination, not true learning.

Obama’s legacy didn’t end in 2016. He has catapulted his leftist followers into positions of power and embedded them deeply into government agencies.


President Trump gave a rousing speech at CPAC that had conservatives and Libertarians cheering.

Trump warned colleges that he will cut their funding if they do limit free speech. He wrote in his executive order mandating free speech:

We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous. Instead we believe in free speech, including online and including on campus.

Today I’m proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research grants.

Trump sent this tweet back in February: If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

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