Former Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein, a Princeton University professor, and others hashed out their problems with campus free speech in Congress on Tuesday.
The “professor-in-exile,” who left Evergreen State and settled a lawsuit with the Washington school for $500,000, addressed the subcommittees on intergovernmental affairs and healthcare, benefits and administrative rules during a joint hearing, according to The College Fix.
“What I have seen is a cult whose purpose is only understood by the leaders, while the rest are seduced into a carefully architected fiction,” Weinstein said. “Most of the people involved in this movement earnestly believe that they are acting nobly to end oppression. Only the leaders understand the true goal is to turn the tables of oppression.”
The professor referenced his own experience with campus social justice activists, who physically occupied buildings after Weinstein dared object to a “Day of Absence” event during which white students were supposed to leave campus for a day. (RELATED: Evergreen State Police Chief Resigns: ‘We Should Have Rifles’)
“None of us is infallible,” Princeton University professor Robert George said. “That should be the starting point of any discussion of intellectual life….Whether you’re a person of the right, the left, the center or wherever, there are reasonable people of good will who do not share your fundamental convictions.”
University of Southern California professor Shaun Harper, who also serves as executive director of the school’s race and equity center, said that “tuition-paying students have the right to protest people who bring hateful and poisonous messages to their communities.”
Harper did not comment on whether certain speakers should be disinvited because of their viewpoints. When the professor said that campus leaders have the ability to disinvite speakers, some lawmakers asserted that public universities belong to taxpayers.
“I want Congress to stop avoiding race and racism in conversations pertaining to free speech on campuses,” Harper told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I would like them to listen to what students of color, survivors of sexual assault, transgender, and other marginalized students say about their realities on campuses and the poisonous effects of particular forms of speech on their college experiences. Lastly, I would like congresspersons to sit in college classrooms; they will surely find little evidence of so-called liberal bias in discussions and they will see that almost all the assigned readings in most courses are not written by radical leftists.”
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who is an American University professor, noted that free speech measures should also cover left-wing speakers, referencing progressive Christian writer Shane Claiborne’s April allegation that Liberty University would imprison Claiborne if the author did not leave campus at once. Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Tyson Langhofer advocated for the enforcement of preexisting speech policies and told students that they “can’t block access to this door.”
“I would like Congress to make federal funding to public institutions of higher education contingent upon each institution adopting policies that protect the First Amendment speech and association rights of its students,” Langhofer told TheDCNF. “I don’t know the likelihood of whether legislation like that would pass. But several members of the committee seemed supportive of that type of solution.”
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