Sunday, November 15, 2015

Protect the Academic Freedom of Professor Carol Swain

Carol Swain
by James Lopez, reposted from Citizen Go - Professor Carol Swain has First Amendment rights like every other university student and professor. We support Professor Carol Swain's freedom of speech and expression rights and WE stand with her. What WE want is for university administators to not silence the voices of professors simply because the professors dare not subscribe to political correctness. We live in a pluralistic, and democratic society -- this means that as a free society, we need to welcome and entertain even unpopular ideas in the public discourse, rather than going bonkers whenever someone expresses them.

There is an online student petition demanding the suspension of Professor of Law and Political Science Carol Swain for being “hateful” toward minorities, "unprofessional intimidation on social media", and performing "discriminatory practices in the classroom." This petition has gathered over 1,500  signatures already. These hypersensitive liberals forget that Professor Swain has testified a number of times before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Nicholas S. Zeppos, the Chancellor of Vanderbilt University wrote on Nov. 11th, "Vanderbilt also has a deep and longstanding commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom, which are the foundations of our university’s scholarly activities. Such freedoms necessarily allow for the expression of unpopular and offensive views."

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt wrote in The Atlantic an article titled, “The Coddling of the American Mind.” In this article, Lukianoff and Haidt define vindictive protectiveness as the creation of a “Culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse.” In this new university climate, students not only refuse to engage uncomfortable ideas, and refuse that others get a platform to express them, but go further and demand that disciplinary actions follow suit to those who violate the safe space that a university is supposed to be as seen in what has been happening at Yale University and the University of Missouri.

Who would have ever thought that a university owed students a “safe place,” a place where students are shielded and coddled from positions, expressions, ideas, and/or actions that challenge them, present different perspectives, or from others who exercise their First Amendment rights? This new climate in the university replaces the importance of talking about issues with feelings. Emotional reasoning monopolizes the university’s debates and discussions. Lukianoff and Haidt define emotional reasoning in their article as “Assuming that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: ‘I feel it, therefore it must be true.’” Emotional well-being is rapidly trumping the exercise of the First Amendment. We must stand up for the voices like the one of Professor Carol Swain. We cannot let hypersensitive students succeed in trumping her First Amendment rights. #StandWithSwain

To sign the petition showing your support of Professor Swain, click here. This will link you to the petition webpage.

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