Top Faculty Committee at U Backs Free Speech Resolution

Just weeks removed from Milo Yiannopoulos’ explosive visit to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the university’s faculty has taken a strong stance on the issue of free speech. Yiannopoulos, Technology Editor at Breitbart paired with feminist scholar Christina Hoff Summers to discuss how feminism “has gone off the rails.” Some students argued that Yiannopoulos and Hoff Sommers professed “hate speech,” which they believe is not protected by the 1st Amendment right to free speech.

On March 10th the University’s top faculty committee, the Consultative Committee voted to “provisionally support” a strong statement on freedom of speech, to make it of “paramount value” on campus, more important than fostering a “climate” conducive to inclusion and equity.

The statement is based on the following four core principles:

(1) A public university must be absolutely committed to protecting free speech, both for constitutional and academic reasons.

(2) Free speech includes protection for speech that some find offensive, uncivil, or even hateful.

(3) Free speech cannot be regulated on the ground that some speakers are thought to have more power or more access to the mediums of speech than others

(4) Even when protecting free speech conflicts with other important University values, free speech must be paramount

The University of Minnesota’s faculty stance on this highly controversial issue comes in the time of contentious altercations at the University of Missouri in which a Professor was later terminated for calling for “muscle” to get rid of reporters, the attempted cancellation of Journalist Ben Shapiro’s lecture at California State University Los Angeles, and an incident at Rutgers University in which activists dumped paint on themselves during Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit there earlier this year. 

Anders Koskinen, President of Students for a Conservative Voice (the group who brought Yiannopoulos and Hoff Sommers to campus) tells Alpha News that he supports the free speech resolution. “I’m amazed that people need to be reminded of that and the fact that the First Amendment exists to protect all viewpoints, not just the ones that are ‘politically correct’ at the time,” noted Koskinen, who went on to say, “I’m very pleased to see some members of the faculty taking a stand against the vocal minority that is their far-left colleagues and students.”

Law School Professor at the University of Minnesota and the architect of the resolution, Dale Carpenter, tells Alpha News, “we have asked for input by President Kaler, Provost Hanson, AF&T [Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee], OED [Office of Equity and Diversity], and the Student Senate.” According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the University would be in good company if a resolution protecting free speech on campus were formally adopted. The University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin system, Princeton University, and Purdue University all have adopted free speech resolutions with comparable wording to the University of Minnesota’s proposal.

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