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Opinion >  Letters

Free speech at universities

I have some sympathy with today’s universities inability to control their drinking and sexual assault culture. After all, you have a whole modern world forbidding any critique of these behaviors short of a criminal act. Their inability to deal adroitly with the idea of free expression of all ideas, however, seems pathetic.

Cornell Clayton’s recent guest analysis of this issue was very insightful (“Universities must face new free speech challenges,” Jan. 13). The dilemma of free expression of ideas and giving the current provocateur entertainers a platform is very real. I do think, however, it is an issue quite easily solved.

First of all you require your student leaders to sound like they have some intellectual capacity. Young Republican heads who say things like “own the libs mercilessly” are simply told that sounding like a 12-year-old bully is not what the university is about. They don’t get a platform.

Secondly, let the Ben Shapiros come to campus, but require them to speak on university terms. They can come only if they are in a strict debate setting where their ideas can be rebutted by those with other thoughts. The best way to expose a fool is to put him next to wisdom.

James Becker


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