The Corner

Education

A Student Dares to Stand Up for Free Speech at an Elite College

It shouldn’t take an act of bravery to say “we should listen to people we think we disagree with” on college campuses, but it does. At least that’s true on most of our elite campuses, where the range of acceptable opinion is dictated by angry and intolerant social-justice warriors.

A black student at Williams, Zachary Wood, has discovered how nasty his fellow students can be. He got involved with a small campus group named Uncomfortable Learning, which aims at bringing speakers to campus who don’t toe the progressive line. In today’s Martin Center article, I write about Wood’s experience and his illuminating Wall Street Journal op-ed from last month.

Uncomfortable Learning arranged for a talk by Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar who is perhaps best known for challenging the claims of feminism. Many of the students were rude, shouting epithets at her. But afterward, the president of Williams, Adam Falk, wrote a essay saying that the event had gone well. Wood calls out his fellow students and Falk.

Wood also testified at the Senate hearing on the state of free speech on campus last summer.

Let us hope that there will be other students who will stand up for free speech and civility after Wood graduates.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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