Hereâ€™s a First Amendment pro tip: vandalism is illegal no matter what reason you think you have. Some people think you have the right to vandalize offensive speech or â€śhate speech.â€ť You donâ€™t. Columnist and commentator Mona Eltahawy found this out the hard way last week, when New York police arrested her for vandalizing a â€śSupport Israel, Defeat Jihadâ€ť subway poster that she didnâ€™t like. Too bad Sam Houston State didnâ€™t likewise recognize obvious vandalism when it happened there.
But itâ€™s really no surprise. Universities, which were intended to be the ultimate marketplace of ideas in a free society, have instead become centers for the spread of repressive ideas, with college administrators and some professors providing the intellectual support for the cause of censorship. Letâ€™s hope that the current national discussion about free speech wakes Americans up to the fact that the most dangerous push for censorship in this country isnâ€™t coming from abroad â€” itâ€™s coming from their alma maters.
Robert Shibley is the senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).