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Universities say they value free speech – but do they walk the talk at the University of Rochester?
Case in point: Economics professor Steven Landsburg writes a blog called The Big Questions.
He recently defended Rush Limbaugh, who blasted Georgetown law student/contraception activist Sandra Fluke on his radio program. The professor wrote:
“While Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatsoever. … I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception … but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.”
Four days later, University of Rochester president Joel Seligman posted this statement on the university’s website:
“I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. … Landsburg now has made himself newsworthy as one of Limbaugh’s few defenders. … I wish he had focused instead on the ideal of a university as an institution that promotes the free exchange of ideas and lively debate at its best in an atmosphere of civil discourse in which the dignity of every individual is respected.”
Shut up, they explained
The day after the president criticized Landsburg, some offended students took action.
About thirty of them marched into his class and formed a line between him and his students – while Landsburg was teaching the class!
The protestors handed out leaflets accusing Landsburg of “smear[ing] a gender with derogatory terms.” They stood in front of the class for 15 minutes before leaving, but then came back in at the end of his class.
Landsburg kept teaching before dismissing the class five minutes early.
No word yet on whether President Seligman, who says he values free speech and the educational process, will censure the protestors, and defend the professor’s and his students’ rights.
Is free speech alive and well on college campuses? Share your opinion below.