Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, November 13, 2015

Barbarians On Campus

Student activists on the campus of Swarthmore College made such a spectacle of themselves that economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell called them “barbarians.” At an administrative meeting to discuss a possible divestment in certain fossil fuel companies, a speaker was interrupted by a posse of invading students who then seized the microphone and shouted out a list of demands. It’s important to point out that the speaker who was interrupted was simply trying to point out that many millions of dollars would be lost for the school if the divestment took place. Perhaps even more shocking than this temper tantrum was the fact that no one in the meeting, including the president of the college, took any action to stop the invaders. In fact, they gave in to their demands, including their demand that classes on so-called “ethnic studies” and on “gender and sexuality” be added to the list of graduation requirements for students.

Similar acts of childishness have been going on at universities since the nationwide campus protests of the 1960s. Sadly, many colleges like Swarthmore have chosen to give in to students’ infringements of common courtesy rather than stand up to them. This failure to make a stand has not solved the problem, but encourage the activists to come up with more liberal policy changes to demand.

Eagle Forum has always stood in favor of free speech for students on college campuses, but to interrupt and disrespect a speaker at a business meeting is actually an infringement on the speaker’s right to free speech. It is true that students should be allowed to express their views in accordance with the First Amendment, but not in a way that goes against basic standards of common decency and courtesy. Thomas Sowell put it best when he said, “without a moral framework, there is nothing left but immediate self-indulgence by some and the path of least resistance by others. Neither can sustain a free society.”

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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