FIRE Responds to ASD’s Claims

FIRE President David French has responded to ASD’s lame defense of the College’s attitude towards free speech. Responding to ASD’s odd claim that banning merely offensive speech “merits debate,” French notes:

Any group that would state such a position cannot credibly claim to support or respect free speech. At FIRE, we have learned that concepts like “civility” or a “sense of community” have led to the censorship of the following forms of “offensive” expression: the display of American flags, the display of posters supporting American soldiers, speech criticizing American military efforts, peace protests, parodies and political cartoons, flyers advertising speeches by black conservatives, affirmative action protests, worship services and religious association, critiques of administration policy — the list could go on and on (see FIRE’s case archive). In fact, in an environment that prohibits “offensive” expression, the only speech that is sure to be free from punishment is speech that agrees with the enforcing entity.

French also notes that ASD seems to take a perverse satisfaction from the fact that Dartmouth’s peer institutions fare no better with respect to free speech. As French aptly puts it:

Students at Dartmouth have fewer free speech rights than students at a local community college, and this group is pleased that other colleges are just as restrictive? Is that even an argument?

In case there were any doubt that Dartmouth’s alums have a real choice in this election, I note (with great approval) French’s observation that:

Dartmouth has an opportunity to become a leader in restoring free speech and academic freedom to our modern university culture, and Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth says, “No thank you.”

Well, I know who I’ll be voting for. Hopefully, you do too. If you’re an alum, please vote for Peter Robinson ’79 and Todd Zywicki ’88 (and those two candidates only) for trustee!