The Death of Free Speech on College Campuses

One of the truly delightful things about college is that it allows earnest young people to try out all sorts of ridiculous ideas without causing much lasting harm. After graduation, most will grow up and learn how to laugh at their prior selves. (The rest will become professors.) Let’s hope the undergrads and grad students involved in some recent controversies become part of the former group.

First, a student legislative council at the University of California-Irvine approved (6-4) a resolution to ban the American flag from student government offices. The banners felt those should be “inclusive” spaces, while the American flag has been “flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism.” And besides – get this – “freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible, can be interpreted as hate speech.”

The student government’s executive cabinet promptly vetoed the resolution, and the school administration called it misguided. But hundreds of academics, grad students, and undergraduates from around the country signed a letter in support of the Irvine Six, arguing that the “paraphernalia of nationalism is in fact often used to intimidate” and that “the resolution has drawn admiration nationally from much of the academic community”…