An English professor at Wayne State University in Detroit has been suspended for social media activity that appeared to "justify" violence against certain campus speakers, reported The Daily Beast on Monday.
"President Roy Wilson said in an email to the university that the post went beyond the barometers of free speech and was, in his opinion, 'at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal,'" reported Alec Karam. "Although he didn’t provide specifics, he said the now-suspended professor’s post 'stated that rather than ‘shouting down’ those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them.'"
Wilson added that he has referred the matter to law enforcement for investigation.
Intense debate continues about the discourse on college campuses, and about the ability of certain right-leaning speakers to hold events in the face of student protest and efforts to get them removed from campus.
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The matter is often argued from a freedom of speech perspective, especially in cases when public colleges and universities have to make the decision whether to cancel an event that is generating controversy or possible safety threats on campus. However, these controversies, which have been raging for decades, often distort and cherry-pick examples, and skate over incidents in which right-wing provocateurs have intentionally tried to bait college students into protests.
"While there have been a handful of violent incidents involving conservative speakers, the vast majority of universities have experienced no such controversies," wrote Mary Anne Franks for the Virginia Law Review in 2019. "The attempts at ideological suppression that do occur on campuses are far more likely to target leftist views than right-wing views. In general, students remain more open-minded and tolerant than the general population, and universities remain some of the most robust free speech institutions in the country."