Home Living Today Culture Students who squelch free speech perpetuate fascism they claim to oppose, university president says

Students who squelch free speech perpetuate fascism they claim to oppose, university president says

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University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill sees the ironies all too clearly.

Schill noted in an op-ed for the New York Times that when megaphone-armed students at his school took over a stage, began chanting, and shut down his planned state-of-the-university speech earlier this month, they actually hurt their own cause.

Strangely, one of the students’ complaints, Schill wrote, was that he supports free speech on campus — which the students said perpetuates “fascism and white supremacy.”

But Schill said the “tactic of silencing” speech has been “deployed repeatedly at universities around the country” and that “it only hurts these activists’ cause.”

“Rather than helping people who feel they have little power or voice,” Schill added, “students who squelch speech alienate those who are most likely to be sympathetic to their message.”

“It is also ironic that they would associate fascism with the university during a protest in which they limit discourse.,” he continued. “One of the students who stormed the stage during my talk told the news media to ‘expect resistance to anyone who opposes us.’ That is awfully close to the language and practices of those the students say they vehemently oppose.”

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