Free Speech

Wisconsin Regents Back Free Speech

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin has become the latest university system to officially affirm the right to free speech and academic freedom for all students amid concerns that academia is trying to protect students from being offended by classroom lectures and discussions.

The system’s Board of Regents voted 16 to 2 on Friday to adopt a resolution stating that the university should not shield people from ideas or opinions they find unwelcome or offensive.

“These are not just pretty words we are going to put in a brass plaque,” said a regent, José Delgado. “You’ve got to be able to listen hard, even if it hurts.”

Civil rights advocates are concerned that universities are trying to limit free speech to protect students from feeling offended. Civil liberties supporters have also raised concerns over the use of “trigger warnings” to alert students about uncomfortable course content. On some campuses, groups have demonstrated against or canceled appearances by contentious speakers.

Via Wisconsin Regents Back Free Speech @ The New York Times.

Scared by Speech

I’m puzzling over what’s supposed to be bad here. What’s wrong with political activity in support of an ideology and what’s wrong with trying to take down politicians you oppose instead of looking for politicians to boost? Is it that the political group is able to raise funds for itself and keep its operation going rather than to use the money to get people elected? Isn’t this kind of ideological activity done on both the left and the right? The only problem I can detect — and this isn’t in the article — is that it works best at the political extremes: moderates and realists can’t use it.

Via Is it bad that “Conservative PACs Attack Republicans, and It Pays”? @ Althouse.

Madison Federalists’ Live Stream @ 12:30 PM

Hans von Spakovsky is the manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative. He studies and writes on elections issues such as campaign finance restrictions along with voter fraud and voter ID issues. He is the co-author of the book “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk.” Before joining Heritage, von Spakovsky was responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws as a member of the Federal Election Commission.

Cheerleading not in the job description

“It’s not a professor’s job to be a cheerleader for their institution, argues a blog post on the magazine website of the American Association of University Professors. ‘First, the assertion that academic freedom “requires responsible behavior” is wrong,’ says “The Academe Blog” post about the controversy swelling around University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Sara Goldrick-Rab and…

The Price of Unlawful Conduct

“The lawyer representing six protesters who won a combined $44,830 in damages from the State of Wisconsin earlier this week says the total cost for unconstitutional arrests and fines handed out by Capitol Police since 2011 could ultimately run over $1 million. Attorney Jeff Scott Olson said that all of the protesters arrested under a…

Burdened, but still free

“Six more citizens won another free speech case against the Scott Walker administration who decided to close off the state Capitol to speech critical of Republicans after Walker infamously began publicly pursuing policies on which Walker refused to campaign. This case in Dane County Court follows other civil rights victories against Walker’s Dept of Administration…

Ordinary residents threatened, attacked for opposing factory farms

Residents in Wood and Adams counties in central Wisconsin working to halt a massively polluting proposed industrial dairy operation, a CAFO, are crime victims being met by a new spate of theft, criminal destruction, intimidation and a possible cyber attack on a home in the Town of Saratoga. (Madden, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune) Via Homes…

Contrasting Responses to Offense

There’s this thing about a free society. Chances are, you’re going to be offended. Not all people will show you the respect you would like. Your religious beliefs will be dismissed and mocked. What do you do? You certainly don’t act out violently. Via Muhammad Cartoon Contest and ‘Piss Christ’ @ FREEDOM EDEN.

Advice for the thin-skinned

I think this is the kind of thing professors should simply ignore. There’s meaningless, mindless chatter out there. Getting mad or hurt about it is pointless. It’s like worrying about every last thought that might be rattling about in the students’ head. Chalk it up to freedom and move on. Teach better classes. Count yourself…


Scott Walker’s unconstitutional assault against free speech in the Wisconsin state capitol garnered reactions ranging from apathy to hostility against those exercising speech. Via Apathy Will Doom Wisconsin @ MAL Contends . . ..

Marquette Steps in It

Is this a case where the newly-installed President of MU took some seriously flawed advice and pulled the trigger without checking with counsel?  Was he so busy carrying on with the Bucks and with Dwayne Wade that he just sorta nodded a vague approval of schmeissing McAdams without due diligence? Or did the decision come…

Speak Freely

A Wisconsin appellate court has sustained the First Amendment rights of the civil-rights-movement-singing Wisconsin Solidarity Singers or Solidarity Sing-Along (Facebook). The case is State of Wisconsin v. Michael W. Crute (Appeal No. 2014AP659; Circuit Court No. 2010FO2108). Via Scott Walker Loses, Free Speech Wins in Wisconsin Appellate Court @ MAL Contends . . ..


Walker’s comment was hugely unwise, because it baits citizens, priming them to expect trouble — which it indirectly now might cause. It’s scary to contemplate that the fallout over Hamilton’s death could come to a dangerous physical showdown, most likely if Walker decides to act and not just talk tough. That talk arguably was aimed…