Professors school students over who benefits from First Amendment

Professors school students over who benefits from First Amendment

Professors school students over who benefits from First Amendment

It’s sadly no surprise to learn a college newspaper denounced the appearance of a conservative speaker on campus, in this case Mike Pence, but faculty members at the University of Virginia surprised many with their response: Defending free speech.

An editorial from Cavalier Daily made all the predictable left-wing accusations – Pence uses “dangerous rhetoric” that threatens the safety of students – but 17 faculty members signed their names to an op-ed in the Cavalier that ripped the student paper and defended free speech, according to The Washington Times.

In the op-ed, the faculty members pointed out the newspaper editors had exercised their own First Amendment right to free speech by suggesting someone else’s free speech is not welcomed because of a message they disagree with.

“Those of us who support free speech do so, in part,” the professors explained, “because, in a democratic society, none of us can see the whole truth, and all of us benefit from being exposed to perspectives that may comprehend some aspect of the truth better than we do.”

“The First Amendment is not written for speech that you agree with,” Jeff Crank, a radio talk show host, says of the UVA dispute. “The First Amendment was written to protect speech that you disagree with.”

To suggest right-wing views are not welcomed on college campuses is an understatement, like suggesting Antarctica is chilly. The most chilling example in recent years is left-wing mobs calling popular speaker Ben Shapiro, a yarmulke-wearing Jew, a “white supremacist” and even a “neo-Nazi" because of his views. 

"The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes," Shapiro once told a college audience, "thought crime becomes a reality." 

On the UVA campus, the left-wing climate there makes the professors’ signed op-ed even more of a rare and brave act. Student protests have forced university leaders to rename numerous buildings that were named for Confederate leaders, and a statue honoring American Revolution hero George Rogers Clark was also removed in 2021.

Crank, Jeff (radio host) Crank

The university has refused, at least for now, to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the the Declaration of Independence and who founded the Virginia school in 1819.

Back in the professors’ op-ed, the article accused the student newspaper of doing a “disservice” to literal victims of physical violence, such as blacks who marched in the Civil Rights movement and the Ukrainian people who are fighting Russia’s army right now.

According to Crank, the radical Left has perfected the practice of shutting down their opponents.  

“Anybody who doesn't agree with you, you just label them a bigot and a bully,” he says, “and you cannot have to listen to what they say.”