Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Campus Protests and Free Speech

At last week’s meeting, we decided to have a discussion around the protests at Columbia University—with less focus on the subject of the protest and more on Columbia’s (or, since then, many other universities’) role in governing these activities.

Since that decision, protests have become much more widespread and there has been plenty of journalistic ink (or pixels) devoted to the back-and-forth between the protesters, the universities, and, perhaps unusual in this particular case, a group of non-protesters who feel threatened or harassed by the protest activities.

I won’t try to select from amongst the many articles and op-eds on the subject—there are plenty to choose from. I will just post the following opinion from a Princeton professor (a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance). I think it’s a sensible starting point for our discussion.

See you on Monday.


  • For those in the Vietnam generation, the parallels are many.
    Civil Disobedience in 1968 involved (1) conscientious objection, and willingness to be jailed for that (me) similar to students today; (2) pushing our parents’ generation (WWII vets) to consider the current reality, similar to Jewish Voice for Peace pushing their parents generation (Holocaust) to consider current reality; (3) recognizing the threat of world war from irredentism (1914) and messianic Zionism (Smotrich today); (4) Complicity of Academic leadership with the Military Industrial Complex; (5) Need to stay on the merits of a major issue in the midst of a significant election year; (6) instant media coverage misrepresenting the 1968 protest (“The Whole World is Watching” Chicago 1968) and today’s cartoon mischaracterization of slogans.
    Peter Sly, Stanford, 1968

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