Commentary: Should Universities Ban “Advocacy of Genocide”?

December 06, 2023 1 min read

Eugene Volokh
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason

Excerpt: This question has been in the news recently, in light of the recent House Committee hearings on "Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism." A few thoughts on my part:

[1.] There's no "advocacy of genocide" exception to the First Amendment, or to the contractual promises of student free speech that many private universities rightly implement.

[2.] Indeed, as I've argued before, it is important that students be free to debate what is proper to do in war, and what wars are just. War involves mass killing, in some wars by the millions. I think some such killing is atrocity and some is just. But different people draw the lines differently, and that is a matter that is quite rightly up for debate.

Click here for link to full article

Leave a comment


Also in National Free Speech News & Commentary

Affirmative Action Fallout Sours Donor Relations

June 13, 2024 1 min read

Liam Knox
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: Almost as soon as the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action last June, Missouri attorney general Andrew Bailey fired off a response. Within hours of the rulings in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and UNC Chapel Hill cases (SFFA), Bailey ordered the state’s public colleges and universities to comply—which in his view meant removing race-conscious policies “not just [in] college admissions, but also scholarships,” an extrapolation that many legal experts say is unnecessary.

University officials quickly began amending institutional grants and scholarships across the system’s four campuses, according to Christian Basi, the Missouri system’s director of public affairs. Since then, they’ve worked methodically to bring other awards in line—including endowed scholarships that donors specified should go only to members of certain racial or ethnic groups.
Read More
Why Universities Are Retreating from the Culture War

June 13, 2024 1 min read

Zach Kessel
National Review

Excerpt: Two days after the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, Harvard University leaders issued a statement professing to be “heartbroken” over the October 7 Hamas massacre and expressing hope that the university could play a role in fostering dialogue around the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

That statement — roundly criticized as lacking moral clarity —  contrasted sharply with the righteous indignation the university displayed in response to the 2016 presidential election, the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, the killing of George Floyd, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those statements, of course, drew furious criticism from Americans who don’t happen to share the political commitments common in Cambridge.
Read More
Harvard Goes Only Halfway Toward Institutional Neutrality

June 12, 2024 1 min read

Daniel Diermeier
Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: Harvard University announced last week that it will no longer “issue official statements about public matters that do not directly affect the university’s core function” as an academic institution. This is welcome news for all of us who have long been concerned about politicization of universities and the resulting erosion of free expression in academia.
     
Yet [the] new policy makes a crucial omission that is at the core of the current controversy on campuses. Students at universities nationwide have called on their institutions to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. According to the Harvard working group co-chairs, it didn’t “address, much less solve, the hard problem of when the university should or shouldn’t divest its endowment funds from a given portfolio.
Read More