Allegedly, universities – especially elite universities and law schools – promote the free and open exchange of ideas. Recent events suggest otherwise.
A jury found that Teresa Wagner was discriminated against by the faculty at the University of Iowa; the meritorious woman denied a professorship because of her conservative, pro-life viewpoints. (More from Paul Caron here.)
Meanwhile, back at the alma mater, the Zeta Psi fraternity was asked to remove its Scott Brown banner. (Scott Brown, aka Hottie McAwesome, is a Tufts alumnus and was a member of Zeta Psi.) The university has a ‘no-banners’ policy that is strictly enforced when it comes to Republicans who are running for a United States Senate seat, but seems to be lacking when it comes to LGBT rainbow banners and other expressions of ‘free speech’.
‘Tolerance, so long as you think exactly like us,’ is Orwellian. Likewise, ‘free speech’ was never about popular speech, or ensuring that a community could censor that which it wishes. Legally, a private university like Tufts is not held to the same standard as a public university, but private universities that promote themselves as a marketplace of ideas, or an outstanding place to get an education, are duty-bound to live up to that billing.