I have long been a critic of Northwestern University and its President Morton Schapiro for actions that undermine freedom of expression and academic freedom. In the past I have contrasted the very different approaches of my two Alma affairs, Northwestern and University of Chicago, with the latter boldly taking a stand in favor of free speech. Chicago rejected the premise of safe zones on its campus. Conversely, Schapiro has ridiculed those who question the need for “safe zones” as “madmen” and denounced “absolutist” views on freedom of speech. At the same time, his school has refused to discipline students who prevent professors from teaching offensive classes. Now, Northwestern students have moved from attacking classes on campus to attacking police in downtown Evanston. Schapiro is shocked by the behavior, despite its controversial history, of allowing students who do not tolerate opposing views.
The students called for the Northwest Police Department to be disbanded and marched into downtown Evanston. They “threw stones and bricks at police officers,” aimed lasers at the police officers’ eyes to blind them, and damaged property.
Schapiro called such acts an “abomination”.
After years of mocking free speech advocates, Schapiro found his own home defaced and staked. It is a cycle that became famous when those who made such behavior possible in the past were denounced as reactionaries.
Schapiro has never supported violence and has rightly condemned recent attacks on companies and the police. However, he has long been one of the most prominent proponents of freedom of speech protection rather than freedom of speech on campus. He is viewed by many as indulging in growing intolerance on campus while treating freedom of speech as potentially harmful to students. This includes his advocacy of “safe zones” to protect students from trauma and harm caused by dissenting views or values. Under his leadership, Northwestern received the lowest rating for protecting freedom of expression from groups like FIRE. While he later went back and in an opening speech referred to free speech advocates as “idiots”, he remains one of the loudest voices against the protection of free speech.
However, my main objection is the environment he created on campus because he did not lead or act. I previously discussed the incident with a 201 sociology class under Professor Beth Redbird. The class examined “Inequality in American Society, Focusing on Race, Class, and Gender”. Redbird found an interesting comparison for their students by inviting both an undocumented person and a spokesman for immigration and customs to separate classes. Members of MEChA de Northwestern, Black Lives Matter NU, the Immigrant Justice Project, the Asian Pacific American Coalition, the NU Queer Trans Intersex People of Color, and the Rainbow Alliance have organized to prevent other students from hearing from the ICE representative . However, without the help of the Northwest Administrators (including Student Dean Todd Adams), they could not have succeeded. The demonstrators shouted “F ** k ICE” in front of the hall. Adams and the other administrators then said the protesters who shout swear words are allowed into the class if they promise not to disturb the class. They promised not to disturb the class. As soon as the demonstrators were allowed to enter the classroom, they prevented the ICE representative from speaking. The ICE reps eventually left and Redbird canceled the class to discuss the issue with the protesters, who only prevented their students from hearing a contrary view.
The Northwestern students’ comments were predictable after people like Schapiro told them that an offensive speech should be treated as a form of attack. SESP in April 2nd, April Navarro refused to allow the faculty to invite such speakers to their classrooms for a “good, nice chat with ICE”. She insisted that such speakers should be silenced because they “terrorize communities” and benefit from the work of inmates. Here is the face of the new generation of censors shaped by language intolerant academics like Schapiro:
“We’re not interested in having conversations like, ‘Oh, let’s take your side,’ because it makes them passive rule-followers rather than active proponents of violence. We don’t concern ourselves with such things; it legitimizes ICE’s violence and makes Northwestern complicit in it. There is an unequal balance of power when dealing with state apparatus. “
These students were identified by name in interviews. They weren’t afraid of the consequences of preventing a professor from teaching a class in the Northwest. You were right. The students ‘official reaction to closing a class to silence an opposing view led to the statement that the students’ actions were “disappointing that the speakers were not allowed to speak”.
The environment on campus has become increasingly denominational and warps. We recently talked about how the Dean of Northwestern Law publicly stated, “I’m James Speta and I’m a racist.” He was followed by Emily Mullin, General Manager of Great Gifts, who said, “I am a racist and a goalkeeper of white supremacy. I will work to get better “
However, it is the disruptions of classes and events that are most troubling in the Northwest. The university was eventually forced to act when students prevented former Attorney General Jeff Sessions from rushing through the windows and doors to take over the event. As we discussed, one of the students explained, “Freedom of speech is restricted. That ends with openly racist old white guys. “The answer from the northwest? Small fines. Correctly. As a result, students end an event with a former cabinet member, and according to a university statement, a “small number of people” received $ 125 each from the department for interfering with certain police officers’ duties. When on-campus students tried to pass a simple resolution to deny free speech on campus earlier this year, it was brought up by the student government. When the student newspaper only reported disruptions to student events by demonstrators, the editors of The Daily had to apologize for their coverage. The objection was that the photos and reporting of the students taking over the events were “retraumatizing and intrusive”.
It now appears that Schapiro has moved from the “disappointing” to the “horror” stage. It was only before his own home was mangled and police attacked on the streets of Evanston.