Teresa Watanabe reports at The Los Angeles Times:
Zach Young, a junior majoring in ethics, politics and economics, had joined the Yale student "march of resilience" against discrimination this month. But he helped spearhead the letter after he saw the subsequent student demands — especially the call to fire Erika Christakis, a faculty member who had challenged the costume warning from the Yale Intercultural Affairs Council, asking whether there was no longer room for students to be "a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive."
The letter defended Christakis' free speech rights and called the training and curriculum demands "a menace to the cause of liberal education because they are clearly driven by a particular political agenda devoted to conversion instead of intellectual exploration."
"I thought there needed to be an organized, vocal opposition to give [Salovey] an instrument to oppose the demands," Young said. Salovey announced Tuesday that he supported Christakis.
Young and [Oxy student Alton] Luke said they have never been threatened with physical violence for their views — unlike some protesters, who have reported receiving anonymous threats on the Yik Yak social media site.
Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Philadelphia, said students had always been the most reliable allies in his 14 years of defending free speech rights in higher education. But no longer, he said.
"It's disheartening to see how they are now using freedom of speech to demand there be less freedom of speech," said Lukianoff, whose foundation supported Christakis.
American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.
We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.
Even though a larger share of Millennials favor allowing offensive speech against minorities, the 40% who oppose it is striking given that only around a quarter of Gen Xers (27%) and Boomers (24%) and roughly one-in-ten Silents (12%) say the government should be able to prevent such speech.
In Europe, where long-simmering racial tensions are of a different nature, compounded by the recent flow of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, people are more willing than Americans to accept government controls on speech against minorities. A median of 49% across the six EU nations surveyed say this compared with 28% of Americans.
Among Europeans, there is a wide range of opinion on whether the government can prevent statements that are offensive to minorities. Seven-in-ten Germans say this should be the case (where there are clear laws against hate speech), as do 62% of Italians and half of Poles. The French are divided, with 48% saying that the government should have the ability to prevent speech that is offensive to minority groups, while 51% say people should be able to say these things publicly. In contrast, the balance of opinion in the UK and Spain is to allow people to say statements that might offend minorities.