Mizzou Student: First Amendment Rights Create ‘Hostile’ And ‘Unsafe’ Learning Environments

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 12, 2015 2:05 PM
Mizzou Student: First Amendment Rights Create ‘Hostile’ And ‘Unsafe’ Learning Environments

Via The Blaze, this fiasco occurring at the University of Missouri has entered the next stage of evolution: First Amendment rights are hostile, unsafe, and totally torpedo a productive learning environment. Hostile? Unsafe? The real world is going to eat these kids alive a la Walking Dead-style, but that’s for another time. The vice president of the University of Missouri Students Association said this to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts:

When asked about complaints from professors that universities are becoming “places of censor and prohibition,” Smith-Lezama said people are using the First Amendment to create a “hostile and unsafe learning environment.”

“I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here,” Smith-Lezama said. “I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.”

The Mizzou student said the altercations between her school’s faculty members and student journalists could be heralded as a “teachable moment” — including for members of the media. She said that what the now-viral video of a Mizzou journalism professor yelling at a student journalist didn’t show was other members of the media who she described as “pushy” and “aggressive.”

“As student journalists, you cannot approach these situations with hostility and anger as it only escalates the situation,” Smith-Lezama told MSNBC.

First, I’m not buying that these delicate snowflakes truly know the definitions of “pushy” or “aggressive.” For goodness sake, Yale students, who also happen to be the most privileged given their admittance to one of the best learning institutions in the world, suffered mini-strokes over an email suggesting that maybe we shouldn’t get too crazy about Halloween costumes that some might consider offensive. The email from associate master of Silliman, Erika Christakis, wasn’t written in a “pushy” or “aggressive” way, though the way the students reacted to her husband, Nicholas, the Master of Silliman, was immensely rude and outright nasty. Silliman College is one of the residential colleges at the university.

Second, what is this whole creation of distinctions business between safe spaces that produce “a place of healing rather than a place where we are experience a lot of hate” from those allegedly (for lack of a better term) using First Amendment rights to create an unsafe “a hostile and unsafe learning environment?” In other words, these kids don’t want people having other views. They don’t want debate. And they think debate is poisonous, as evidenced by the Yale meltdown where some students wanted to end debate on the email about Halloween costumes. Oh, and did I mention that students spit on attendees at the William F. Buckley conference on free speech last weekend? Yeah, please tell me who is creating the unsafe and wholly incorrigible learning environment? If you feel like a gun is being held to your head for fear of offending these people, it’s not a learning environment. It’s the Gulag Archipelago. It’s a North Korean re-education camp, with the exception that there are no matching uniforms, prolonged physical torture, and summary executions.

Let’s call this what is is: segregation. As Katie wrote earlier, the black and white students were segregated into different safe space/healing zones last night. “Black only healing space” apparently is the official term. How is that different from “white only” or any other sign showing institutionalized race-based segregation? What’s so frightening is that liberals are successful because they, ironically, strategize through that prism. As Ben Shapiro has said often, liberals think institutionally, conservative think individually. As a result, they’re better at organizing, pushing a narrative, and entrenching their agenda within the institutions they wish to mutilate.

Dividing black and white students is a “teachable moment?” Has it really come to this? The irony is that these social justice warriors are probably against segregation, but when they do it–it’s the creation of healing zones. It’s the classic “but that’s different” interjection progressive use to explain the aspects of their contradictory and hypocritical agenda. If you believe in freedom of speech, expression and of the press, you’re going to see opinions that you might not like, you will get offended, and how you deal with it is something of a lost litmus test of American citizenship.

Blacks in the segregated South didn’t like being segregated in public buildings, restaurants, or public transit. They didn’t feel like the world was ending and create safe spaces to cope. They boycotted public transit, used the legal system, and got the laws changed. They sat at those whites only booths and were subjected to horrific abuse that would probably send these kids into mental institutions for decades. The point is Americans of all backgrounds have experienced some level of hurt, or offense, in their struggle to make this country better. I mean, to repent for our most egregious sin, slavery, we had to actually kill one another to get that done.

But we have to tread carefully about that subject too, or any moment in American history, because that might offend … you people.

Last Note: Yes, diversity is important (I guess), but I've never been one that felt weird entering a room full of white people. Often times, I've been the only minority in those rooms. I've never felt micoraggressed since I was among my fellow Americans. Cheesy? Yes–but skin color has never made much of difference regarding gauging my level of comfortability concerning going outdoors.