Free Speech for Me, but Not for Thee, Eh?
Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community.
“What we wanted to promote was competition of ideas, rather than ‘if I disagree with you I’ve got to censor you,’” said Ian CoKehyeng, founder of Carleton Students for Liberty, the creators of the wall.
Installed on Monday in the Unicentre Galleria, one of campus’ most high-traffic areas, the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.
The wall was monitored by the school, who actually sent the Director of Student Affairs to confirm the sentence “traditional marriage is awesome” was not, in fact, a call to persecute gays and would qualify as “free” speech. Of course, this comment, the only comment that spoke in any way against gay marriage, drew the ire of someone who believed their right not to be scared by an innocent slogan trumped the rights of every student in the university to speak without fear of his infantile temper tantrum.
By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.
“In organizing the ‘free speech wall,’ the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space … for the expression of hate,” he wrote in a 600-word Facebook post in which he identified himself as an anti-homophobia campaigner.
Calling the area around the wall a “war zone,” he intimated that it was “but another in a series of acts of violence” against gay rights.
I want to note three things here:
1) The only act of violence was the one perpetrated by Mr. Smith.
2) It says a lot about a person that they spend seven years in college studying “human rights” instead of leaving college to earn an honest living.
3) I bet that Mr. Smith is a real cheerful person, the kind you’d just love to hang around.
If the college has any courage at all, the administration will take disciplinary action against Smith for his destruction of property and violation of the human rights of his fellow students. I don’t believe that will happen, though. We are talking about a Canadian college.
UPDATE: Ezra Levant “debated” Smith last night. I put that word in quotation marks because the “debate” mostly consisted of Levant making decent points and Smith whining about something or another.