The Jury Talks Back


How to discourage speech disruptions

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 7:39 pm

Last week protestors at the University of Massachusetts disrupted a speech by Don Feder.  Unruly students repeatedly interrupted the speaker with heckles, boos, catcalls, and other troublemaking, preventing Feder from completing his prepared remarks.  Ironically, the title of the program — sponsored by the UMass Republican Club — was, “Hate Crimes Laws and Other Forms of Censorship: the Left’s Assault on Free Speech.”

When asked to explain why they sought to prevent others from hearing what the speaker had to say, protestors inevitably displayed their ignorance of the First Amendment and their obliviousness to irony…

“There’s absolutely no room for hate speech on this campus,” said [2008 UMass] graduate Natalia Tylim.  Her friend, senior Katie Perry, concurred, adding “I think campuses are places for open-mindedness, and this is the opposite of that.”

I witnessed a similar attempt to stifle a lecturer’s speech firsthand when I attended a 2004 talk given by Daniel Pipes at UC Berkeley.  Since then this mob censorship has happened with increasing frequency on college campuses across the country.  University officials have failed to punish the hooligans and often erroneously defend their actions as free speech.

I don’t understand why targeted groups continue to put up ith this assault on their free speech rights.  There is such a simple solution that would cause the protestors to remain outside the auditorium voluntarily — and would allow the speaker to communicate with those who actually came to listen.

My solution: charge admission to the event.  Announce that the funds collected will go to pay the speaker.  Or announce that the funds will be donated to a specific cause that the speaker supports.  (If the speaker is conservative, the beneficiary could be the Young America’s Foundation or the Alliance Defense Fund; if the speaker is pro-Israel, it could be Honest Reporting or Magen David Adom.  The point is that people who are so outraged that they would attempt to stifle an opposing view would be loathe to pay money that would support the cause they hate.

Why isn’t this being done today for such events?

Do university policies prohibit events that charge an admission fee?  I coulnd’t find such a rule in the meeting room use policy for the UMass Campus Events Office.  In fact the policy suggests that such admission fees are perfectly acceptable.  Nor could I find such a rule in the room reservation policies at UC Berkeley.

Is it too difficult to sell tickets and keep track of the funds?  I cannot believe that ticket sales or money handling would pose much of an obstacle.  It’s certainly a small effort to ensure a successful event.

Would it not work — would protestors pay the fee anyway to gain admittance?  I doubt it.  These people would not want so much as a dime of their money to support a cause they so vehemently oppose.

Is the principle of the matter to provide a free event?  If that’s the case, I don’t see the point.  Make it a nominal fee, say, five dollars.  Surely audience members would gladly dig into their wallets to ensure that their time is well spent.

I really want to know why this option is not being used to ensure orderly events.  What am I missing?

H/T: Michelle Malkin


Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 9:43 am

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