John Leo

Last week, Berkeley's monoculturalists were at it again, stealing a thousand copies of the Daily Californian to punish the paper for running an anti-terrorism ad. The thieves replaced the stolen papers with unsigned fliers saying, "Until the Daily Cal shifts its policy we will not allow business as usual."

At the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mike Adams, a pro-war professor, is in trouble for answering a provocative e-mail from an anti-war student. Claiming that Adams' heated response created a hostile environment, the student demanded an investigation. Campus police declined to press charges, but numerous students were called in for questioning and the university searched though Adams' e-mail looking for evidence.

A UCLA librarian was suspended without pay for sending an anti-Israel e-mail to a co-worker. In a celebrated case, history professor Richard Berthold of the University of New Mexico agreed to leave campus for a week because of safety concerns after he said in class, "Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon has my vote." (He later apologized, saying, "I was a jerk.") The university didn't punish him, but it did usher him off campus for a while instead of defending his right to stay and offering physical protection.

A long list of current and horrible free-speech cases on campus is available on the Web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which scrupulously defends the rights of all comers.

People on the left are now starting to get caught in the anti-free-speech policies set up in the last 20 years to silence dissent. These are the speech codes and anti-bias and anti-harassment policies based on the idea that hurting anyone's feelings is a form of assault. The policies were applied selectively, almost always against conservatives and Christian groups.

Now college administrators, responding to a tidal wave of patriotism, are starting to turn these policies against the left. Having no particular principles, the officials blow with the wind. So it is dawning on the authors of the anti-free-speech policies that they now have reason to worry. Did they think they would always be in charge of the repressive machinery they set up?


John Leo

John Leo is editor of MindingTheCampus.com and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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