If you listened to conservatives, you would think that college campuses are a hotbed of socialist censorship, where anyone deviating from a far-left line is subject to punishments that are just this side of being sent to a Maoist re-education camp.
While there are certainly examples of students saying some pretty stupid things, a “free-speech crisis” doesn’t exist. It’s one of those bogeymen that the right likes to conjure up out of thin air.
The fake controversy is a convenient vehicle, however, for conservatives looking to punish campuses for their liberal tendencies.
That’s why the Trump administration has waded into the fight. The Justice Department has joined a challenge to the University of Michigan’s anti-bullying regulations on the ground that it harms–well, bullies.
The Justice Department is framing the issues as about free speech. “Instead of protecting free speech, the university imposes a system of arbitrary censorship of, and punishment for, constitutionally protected speech,” the Department sends in a “statement of interest.”
The case at hand involves a student group that says it was punished for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
The particular target of the Trump administration is the university’s Bias Response Team. The Team, the type of which is now common on campuses, takes complaints of bias on a wide range of bases, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
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