When protests erupt on university campuses over speakers they find disagreeable, are the protesters silencing free speech, or are they just trying to be heard? And are universities responding by defending free speech, or by suppressing it? To many, these students are speaking out against racial injustice that has long been manifested in unwelcoming, sometimes hostile environments. But to critics, their demands have gone too far, creating an atmosphere of intolerance for opposing or unpopular points of view. Arguing for the motion is Wendy Kaminer, a writer and lawyer with John H. McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and weekly columnist for the New York Sun. Arguing against the motion is Shaun Harper, executive director of Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at University of Pennsylvania with Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University. John Donvan moderates. This conversation was taped on March 1, 2016.
· Protesters are shouting down those they disagree with and demanding protection from views they find offensive.
· Certain topics have been labeled off the table for discussion, leaving no room on campuses for diverse or unpopular ideas.
· While some of the issues being protested are legitimate concerns, students have gone too far with their demands.
· Rather than closing down speech, the protests have spurred productive discussions about race and diversity on campuses.
· The protests are not hypersensitive reactions to discrete events, but a response to long-simmering tensions and hostile environments.
· By mobilizing for ideas they believe in, these students are not catastrophizing - they are exercising their right to free speech.