A group of protesters at Amherst College in Massachusetts has released a set of demands that include punishing students who produced a poster celebrating free speech by subjecting them to re-education for the sake of “racial and cultural competency.”
In response to ongoing protests at the University of Missouri, which saw an attack on journalists Monday trying to cover the event, some students at Amherst this week put up small posters on campus. The posters read “In memoriam of the true victim of the Missouri protests: Free Speech (1776-2015),” and included a short “eulogy” which reads as follows:
Who is constrained by the invisible barriers of our generation’s safe spaces.
Censored for the open forum of non-conflicting opinions.
Trod upon to build a community of comfort.
And violently persecuted for a safer, less vitriolic world.
Let us honor the life of the first amendement, and the heroes that it protected:
Journalists, Educators, Philosophers, and Free Thinkers everywhere.
The poster never mentions race, and ends with a short quip “If you want to protest this sign, feel free. Because that’s why the First Amendment exists.”
But Amherst activists want to do far more than proest. They want the people responsible for the poster punished, along with those responsible for producing signs which said “All Lives Matter.” A coalition of more than 50 campus groups held a “sit-in” Thursday night, which led to them producing a lengthy list of demands that includes punishing anybody who made the signs:
“President [Biddy] Martin must issue a statement to the Amherst College community at large that states we do not tolerate the actions of student(s) who posted the ‘All Lives Matter’ posters, and the ‘Free Speech’ posters,” the list of demands says. “Also let the student body know that it was racially insensitive to the students of color on our college campus and beyond who are victim to racial harassment and death threats; alert them that Student Affairs may require them to go through the Disciplinary Process if a formal complaint is filed, and that they will be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.”
Let that sink in: A poster celebrating the First Amendment was “racially insensitive” and requires “extensive training for racial and cultural competency.”
Students demand a great deal more as well. They request that Amherst’s honor code be updated to include “reflect a zero-tolerance policy for racial insensitivity and hate speech,” meaning students could be punished and perhaps expelled for racial insensitivity, which apparently includes defending free speech. They also demand that the school suppress its unofficial sports mascot Lord Jeff, whom they say has an “inherent racist nature.”
The demands are endorsed by students from more than 50 Amherst student groups, including the Black Students Union, Amherst United Left, and Amherst Christian Fellowship.
Amherst has been given until Nov. 18 to respond to the student protesters. If the school considers any punishment of faculty, staff, or administrators who support them, they warn it will “result in an escalation of our response.”
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