National Free Speech News & Commentary

USC Leaders Censured for Handling of Anti-Israel Protests, Commencement Cancellation

May 09, 2024 1 min read

David Zimmerman
National Review

Excerpt: University of Southern California faculty censured their president and provost on Wednesday over the administration’s handling of anti-Israel protests and the decision to cancel the main commencement ceremony for graduating students.
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UC Berkeley Investigates Pro-Palestinian Dinner Protest Fracas

May 09, 2024 1 min read

Ryan Quinn
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: The University of California, Berkeley, is investigating whether a law professor harassed a Muslim student when the student interrupted a dinner last month at the professor’s house with a pro-Palestinian speech and the professor attempted to stop her, NBC News reports.

Catherine Fisk, according to viral video on social media, touched the graduating law student, Malak Afaneh, as Afaneh was speaking during a dinner hosted by Fisk and her husband, Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky, at their home. Chemerinksy, a free speech scholar, has written that the presidents of the third-year law school class had asked him and Fisk to have graduating law students over for dinner last month.
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President Alivisatos explains why he ended our Encampment

May 08, 2024 1 min read

Jerry Coyne
Why Evolution is True

Excerpt: In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Paul Alivisatos, the President of the University of Chicago, explained why he ordered the University cops to dismantle our encampment of pro-Palestinian protestors after eight days.  There are good parts and not so good parts, but it’s clear that the basis for dismantling the enclave was to uphold our principle of institutional neutrality—the Kalven principle).
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Survey shows: Most Americans are concerned about the future of free speech

May 08, 2024 1 min read

Sean Stevens
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Excerpt: The second edition of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s National Speech Index, released today, finds that both liberals and conservatives are concerned about the future of freedom of speech in the country, regardless of which major party candidate wins the presidential election in November.

The survey also finds that this is where the agreement ends. There are stark differences between liberals and conservatives on the state of freedom of speech in America today and on how often they think colleges and universities should take positions on political issues.
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Commentary: No One Knows What Universities Are For

May 08, 2024 1 min read

Derek Thompson
The Atlantic

Excerpt: Last month, the Pomona College economist Gary N. Smith calculated that the number of tenured and tenure-track professors at his school declined from 1990 to 2022, while the number of administrators nearly sextupled in that period. “Happily, there is a simple solution,” Smith wrote in a droll Washington Post column. In the tradition of Jonathan Swift, his modest proposal called to get rid of all faculty and students at Pomona so that the college could fulfill its destiny as an institution run by and for nonteaching bureaucrats.

The world has more pressing issues than overstaffing at America’s colleges. But it’s nonetheless a real problem that could be a factor in rising college costs.
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Police clear pro-Palestinian protest camp and arrest 33 at DC campus as mayor’s hearing is canceled

May 08, 2024 1 min read

Ashraf Khalil
Associated Press

Excerpt: Police used pepper spray to clear a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at George Washington University and arrested dozens of demonstrators on Wednesday just as city officials were set to appear before hostile lawmakers in Congress to account for their handling of the 2-week-old protest.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability canceled the hearing after the crackdown, with its chairman and other Republicans welcoming the police action. House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “it should not require threatening to haul D.C.’s mayor before Congress to keep Jewish students at George Washington University safe.”
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