Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Heckler's Veto Writ Large?

No, I really don't believe that the so-called threat was why Stanford initially tried to stop this speaker, and neither do I believe that they just "found" money for security:
Conservative students at Stanford University won’t have to pay thousands of dollars in “security costs” to host an event on traditional marriage views, as the administration reversed course after the student group accused them of trying to tax free speech.

Stanford made it sound as if the policy change took place after administration officials found unexpected $20 bills in their laundry.

“Hi everyone. Found more funds to subsidize the full cost of the security, ” Nanci Howe, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities and Leadership, wrote in a Thursday email to the Stanford Anscombe Society.

The university with an $18.7 billion endowment initially told the Anscombe Society that it would have to pay $5,600 for security guards to protect their conference on “Communicating Values: Marriage, Family and the Media,” an event that would feature traditional marriage advocates such as the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson. The university issued the security requirement “after a vocal group of LGBTQ activists announced their opposition to the event,” according to the student group.

“This fee is a tax on free speech,” Judea Romea, co-president of the group, said Wednesday in calling for the university to drop the policy. “The student government shut us out, simply because some students don’t share our values. The University responded not by standing up for our freedom of speech, but by forcing us to hire security so that hecklers can’t disrupt our event or intimidate our guests.”

After media pressure and a formal complaint from the student group, the university decided to pay for the security itself.

First Amendment lawyer Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that the Stanford’s motive for impeding the conference reflects a trend in campus free speech issues.
You get more of what you support. If heckler's vetoes pay off, then you'll get more heckler's vetoes.  I'm glad that Stanford saw the (disinfecting sun)light.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

I think it more accurate to say that Standford's administration, flinching from the disinfecting sunlight of publicity that highlights the administration's tacit support of the suppression of some points of view, found the money for security.

This is the sort of nonsense that makes we wonder why Glenn Reynolds didn't predict the onset of the higher education bubble occurring a couple of years ago. Then the sort of "diversity" paladins whose job it is to explain why suppression of freedom of speech is really necessary to higher education.