Worse than Bullying

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When a leftist preens about tolerance, it's dollars to donuts that there's a bigot deep down inside. If a leftist blathers about "diversity", closer examination will find a conformist, and a most doctrinaire one at that. And, above all, when you hear a leftist whine about bullying, watch out: You can expect to be subjected to that or worse, masquerading as enlightenment.

The entrenched leftist administration at Montclair State University recently provided an example when it went after a student who posted a rude remark about a woman's appearance on social media -- after letting someone go Scott free for disrupting a conservative speaker, of course:

... Joseph Aziz, a 26-year-old grad student from Weehawken, was issued an order by the university telling him to keep away from the woman and to refrain from commenting further on the matter. The latter is what we in the journalism business call an "unconstitutional prior restraint." Robert Shibley of the Foundation on Individual Rights in Education calls it that, too.

"They simply told him you're not allowed to talk about this on social media and that's a power no American governmental entity has," said Shibley. "President Nixon didn't get away with that in the Pentagon Papers case and that involved national security."

When Aziz proceeded to discuss the case on Facebook, he was informed that he would be suspended for a semester. When he appealed, he got a letter from university Vice President Karen Pennington rejecting that appeal and stating, "It is hard to understand how someone your age could truly expect that what you put on the internet is private."
Contrast this to the great lengths this institution went through, detailed earlier in the piece, to ensure that the terrorist Billy Ayers got to speak without interruption or intimidation at another campus event.

But there is another interesting issue at play here. Suppose Montclair State were not, improperly, a government entity (or run, or heavily regulated by the government). Suppose further that the school had a record of evenhandedly ensuring that guest speakers could finish a sentence when they took the podium. What if Montclair State deemed it appropriate to enforce certain rules of decorum regarding how its students treated one another? Shouldn't it, as a private institution, be free to do so? The fact that the government is involved so heavily would make such a rule a freedom of speech issue even if it were not merely being used to harass a student. So it is that we see that the left is not just abusing government power in its "anti-bullying" crusade-of-the-day. By insisting on government schools, the left endangers both freedom of speech and genuine attempts to encourage students to be civil to one another.

-- CAV

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