Around this time last year, leftist protesters at the University of California, Berkeley wreaked havoc, causing $100,000 worth of damage over the course of one night in February, all to silence a controversial speaker. The Berkeley protests, captured in striking cable news footage of fire and rioters, brought national attention to the culture of censorship on college campuses.
For many students, that culture remains their reality. Not every school is Berkeley, but students whose views deviate from progressive dogma grapple on a daily basis with their right to free speech, especially at public institutions.
In the hopes of providing those students with another resource, a new Washington-based group aimed at supporting free speech on campuses is set to launch Wednesday. Speech First says it plans to bring a broad coalition of “students, parents, faculty, alumni, and concerned citizens” together as a membership organization targeted at First Amendment concerns in higher education. Under the direction of president Nicole Neily, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, Speech First’s mission is “to support students who seek to protect their rights to free speech, expression, or association.”