April 1, 2014

UC Santa Barbara responds to Abortion Protest; blames ‘evangelicals, true believers, self-proclaimed prophets, and provocateurs’ [Darleen Click]

via Eugene Volokh comes this extraordinary letter from Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. Not once does it directly address UCSB Prof. Mireille Miller-Young’s assault on a 16 year-old demonstrator. Indeed, the language of the letter is one of lamenting that Free Speech has to include lesser beings unworthy of the UCSB “community”. Young even engages in gratuitous denigration of the Founding Fathers.

Read the whole thing and realize not only what kind of indoctrination Michael Young is imposing on students, but that he does so to the tune of an annual taxpayer salary of $195,700.

Dear Students:

Over the past several weeks, our campus has been visited by a number of outside groups and individuals coming here to promote an ideology, to promulgate particular beliefs (at times extreme beliefs), or simply to create discord that furthers a certain personal agenda. Some passionately believe in their causes, while others peddle hate and intolerance with less-than-noble aims. Whatever the motives and goals, the presence of such people and groups on campus can be disruptive and has the potential to draw us into the kind of conflict that puts at risk the quality of exchange of ideas that is fundamental to the mission of our university.

What is happening now is not new: evangelical types have been visiting UCSB and university campuses since time immemorial. What we see at UCSB today is simply the most recent generation of true believers, self-proclaimed prophets, and provocateurs. During the past few weeks, UCSB has been visited by various anti-abortion crusaders. Some have been considerate and thoughtful in promoting their message; others have openly displayed images that many in our community find distressing and offensive. We have also seen earnest and thoughtful religious missionaries, and we have seen proselytizers hawking intolerance in the name of religious belief. As a consequence of interactions with the more extreme of our visitors, students have expressed outrage, pain, embarrassment, fear, hurt, and feelings of harassment. Moreover, I have received requests that the campus prohibit the peddling of “fear,” “hate,” “intolerance,” and “discord” here at UCSB.

Those of you who know me are aware that I have strong views on the matter of intolerance. You also know that I hold equally strong views on the sanctity of free speech. If you have heard me speak at Convocation or at anti-hate events, or if you have seen me officiating at the Queer Wedding, you know that my message on both counts is clear. Recent events lead me to believe that this message bears repeating.

First, the principle of freedom of expression resides at the very foundation of our society and, most certainly, at the foundation of a world-class university such as UC Santa Barbara. Freedom and rights are not situational: we either have freedom of speech or we do not. We cannot pick and choose which views are allowed to be aired and who is allowed to speak. If that were the case, then only those in charge — those holding power — would determine who gets to speak and whose views are heard.

Second, freedom is not free. The price of freedom for all to speak is that, at times, everyone will be subjected to speech and expression that we, ourselves, find offensive, hateful, vile, hurtful, provocative, and perhaps even evil. So be it! Law and policy ban only an extremely narrow band of speech and expression — “yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre,” for example, and child pornography. The price we pay to speak our own minds is allowing others to speak theirs, regardless of how oppositional their views are to our own. Our Founding Fathers — all white men of privilege, some even slave owners — got it right when designing the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Having firmly stated my support for freedom of expression, I hasten to follow with a lesson my mother taught me when I was a small child, a lesson that has remained with me the rest of my life and that I relay to our entering students every fall at Convocation. My mother taught me that just because you can say or do something doesn’t mean that you should. Civility plays an important role in how we choose to exercise our right to expression. We all have the right to say odious things, to display offensive slogans and placards, and to hurt and disrespect groups and individuals that disagree with us. The question is: should we? Should we engage in these behaviors just because we can or because they serve our political, religious, or personal agendas?

At UCSB, our students have proven that we are better than this. While it has not always been easy, time and again UCSB students have demonstrated that they can disagree about the critical issues of our time — fundamentally and passionately but within a framework of humanity and civility, respecting the dignity of those whose views they oppose. Time and time again, UCSB students have demonstrated that they understand their role in defining the character and quality of this campus community — revealing their unwillingness to lower themselves to the tactics of those whose agenda comes wrapped in intolerance and extremism.

And now we are tested once again, outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another as they promote personal causes and agendas. If we take the bait, if we adopt negative tactics and engage in name calling, confrontation, provocation, and offensive behavior, then they win and our community loses.

While urging you to engage with differing ideas and opinions in a civil manner, I also want to remind you that you have the option not to engage at all. You do not have to listen to, look at, or even acknowledge speech or expression that you find provocative or offensive. The Arbor Mall is a free speech area, as is the area in front of the University Center. If you do not want to be confronted by certain materials or expressions, you should avoid the free-speech areas when you expect that you might encounter them, or simply ignore them. I promise you the visitors will hate that. And, finally, if you think demonstrators, activists, or proselytizers are violating the law, report them to the UC Police Department. If you think they are violating campus policies, report them to the Office of Student Life (OSL). Similarly, if you feel harassed or think you are being subjected to offensive speech or material as an involuntary audience, please contact the Office of Student Life immediately. Katya Armistead, Associate Dean of Student Life and Activities, can be reached at 805-893-8912. If you do not reach her, someone at the general OSL number (805-893-4550) will be able to relay your message to her. The campus regulations address UCSB’s free speech policies further: www.sa.ucsb.edu.

What I am suggesting may not be easy, and it may feel more satisfying (at least for the moment) to lash out. (My mom often reminded me that doing the right thing is difficult.) If you feel that you must respond, hold a peaceful, thoughtful, civil, and dignified counter-demonstration, and show how students engage intellectually and politically at UCSB.

Posted by Darleen @ 7:51am
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Comments (19)

  1. My mother taught me that just because you can say or do something doesn’t mean that you should.

    But if you can beat the stuffing out of somebody saying something they shouldn’t, and you can manage not to get caught, go for it.

    Even if you do get caught, we’ll blame the victim — because obviously she shouldn’t have been saying those things where you could hear them. Her freedom of speech ends where your fist begins.

  2. “I have received requests that the campus prohibit the peddling of “fear,” “hate,” “intolerance,” and “discord” here at UCSB.”

    Mr. Young certainly can not do that, otherwise he would likely be required to purge some Professor peddlers….

  3. Similarly, if you feel harassed or think you are being subjected to offensive speech or material as an involuntary audience, please contact the Office of Student Life immediately. Katya Armistead, Associate Dean of Student Life and Activities, can be reached at 805-893-8912.

    I sincerely hope that every science and engineering major sitting in a mandatory Angry Studies class will avail himself of this advice.

  4. Is he really complaining about outside agitators? Do these Leftist poltroons have any sense or knowledge of history?

  5. please contact the Office of Student Life (Division of Non-Entity Assault)

  6. So apparently the 16-year-old girl was ‘just asking for it’, walking around like that. Flexible standards are fun!

  7. Thought experiment: could a lefty male prof have gotten away with this excuse?

  8. This motard would have fit right in as a commissar in the old USSR.

  9. Shorter version: The uppity, little Jesus freak asked for it.

  10. $200K a year at taxpayer expense for this fellow. I propose his job description include a daily diet of a sack of dicks.

  11. Our favorite lefty troll is way overdue for a name change, so as to chime in on this important subject.

  12. They left out “imperialist wreckers” and “kulaks”.

  13. a quality exchange of ideas

    That’s like a circle jerk of mental masturbation right?

    I agree completely with everything you say, Professor Charl. E. Tan. You’re so right!

    Thank you. and I agree you’re right to agree with me, young mushskull. Don’t ever change.

  14. the Arbor Mall is a free speech area, as is the area in front of the University Center.

    In contradistinction to all other areas in the United States? Ain’t nothin’ like the special for setting off the other.

  15. Michael D. Young, UCSB Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, seems to have missed the entire point of diversity and inclusiveness.

  16. You mean it’s not to make everyone exactly alike?

  17. What I am suggesting may not be easy…

    That whole not-being-a-criminal thing is a bitch, ain’t it?

  18. With a little more effort he can elevate the educational discourse to the heights that have only been reached in one University so far. Perfection is so close, sigh.

  19. “outsiders” so no one enrolled at UCSB is in agreement with the right to life folks? They must have changed the entry requirements since I went to UC.

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