In advance of last Friday's scheduled and cancelled appearance by Donald Trump at the University of Illinois - Chicago arena, a number of students, staff, and faculty petitioned the university administration to reconsider providing space for the event.  The petition is a classic illustration of the protest constituencies shifting the blame for their obnoxious behavior from themselves to the presence of potentially obnoxious behavior from others.
We value free speech and the right to assemble and we appreciate the university’s commitment to those constitutionally protected rights, as well as its commitment to exercising no political bias and neither endorsing, sponsoring nor supporting (nor condemning, excluding, or censoring) any political candidate who requests to lease a space on our campus. From the now 40,000+ signatures (growing by the minute) on the petition requesting that the university cancel the event to the 7,000+ people who have RSVP’d via social media to attend a protest against Trump’s positions on a number of issues and the over 13,000 who have expressed interest in protesting, it is clear that our community is poised to engage publicly in vocal opposition to speech we find unacceptable and violent.
Strip away the wordnoise, it becomes "We are prepared to engage in verbal terrorism."  Editor's note:  in the sense sixties protestors used the term.  It's precious, though, how it's the people engaged in vocal opposition who are not creating the hostile or dangerous environment.
The alarm behind the petition, emails and calls you have received extends to more than opposition to political positions or speech acts. We write to turn your attention to the extremely important issue of safety, which you also cite as paramount in your letter to the campus. We are deeply distressed that this event threatens to create a hostile and physically dangerous environment to the students, staff, faculty and alumni who come out to express their opposition.
This at a time that professional protest constituencies such as Move On (The rally has no place in Chicago) and the Comrades of Bernie were organizing to create the kind of hostile and physically dangerous environment to the supporters of Mr Trump.

With the connivance of the usual suspects in the university.
“My fear is the UIC police are not in fact going to be in charge, that it’s not their command,” said Jennifer Brier, associate professor of gender and women's studies and history at the university and one of the authors of that letter. “I’m worried that whatever security forces or personnel or agencies -- Secret Service or somebody else -- won’t be working to protect the safety of our students, and if they’re told to eject people from a protest, I’m worried that that is going to happen, and that’s a complete contradiction to the mission of this university."

“Our students are organizing really creative protests, and I want to make sure the administration recognizes those protests as being protected,” Brier said. “They’re here to learn, they’re here to grow, and that’s our job. That’s our mission, and this is part of that. Protesting is part of that.”

That’s on top of safety concerns, Brier said, for students on a campus that is mostly not white and boasts a very active community of undocumented students.
We have much to look forward to.  Almost makes one wish that an undocumented campus protestor who acts out at a political rally be immediately shipped out of the country.  Just one more win, Reason's Nick Gillespie notes, for Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee.
Shut it down!  How cool is that? It's just like a college campus, where speakers aren't challenged on unpopular viewpoints but simply disinvited or shouted down to a degree that a thug's veto prevails.

Greg Lukianoff, head honcho at The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has articulated that, for some years now, we haven't been debating about the conditions under which free speech might be allowed. Far more troubling, we are instead debating whether the idea of free speech can even be justified anymore. On both the left and the right (which has its own version of political correctness and has rarely been slow to try and stifle voices with which it disagrees), most people are pushing for what Lukianoff says is "freedom from speech."

Public debate, it seems, is no longer a means by which to search for truth, knowledge, and common ground, but only a venue for speech that expresses unthinking solidarity with whatever you already believe.
By this time tomorrow, we'll see whether the current crop of campus protestors has done for Mr Trump in the Illinois primary what a previous generation of protestors did for Richard Nixon.

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