Politics

Conservatives on Campus Are Routinely ‘Deprived’ of Their Free Speech Rights

'The Ingraham Angle' exposed the latest example — 'imagine what would happen if a neo-Nazi interrupted a black student?'

There needs to be “severe and swift repercussions” for the far-Left activists and protesters who intimidate and shut down conservatives on college campuses and deny them their First Amendment rights, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Thursday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Ingraham and her guests discussed the “anti-free speech thugs” who protest, heckle and intimidate conservative students and the conservative speakers they invite on campus.

The latest example occurred Tuesday night — when a lone far-Left protester with a cowbell disrupted an event at Portland State University in Oregon featuring conservative blogger Michael Strickland.

Journalist and Quillette editor Andy Ngo captured the disruption on video.

“Last night, College Republicans invited conservative blogger Michael Strickland to @Portland_State. Event got shut down by anarchist who came w/a bell. Strickland was to speak about his conviction related to him brandishing a gun at a mob who surrounded him at a 2016 BLM protest,” Ngo tweeted.

Although campus police officers were present and monitored the event, they chose not to intervene when the protester repeatedly disrupted Strickland’s speech.

The university released a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday noting, “Due to the nature of the event advocating gun rights, a Campus Public Safety officer monitored the event to ensure the safety of participants.”

“When an individual disrupted the event by ringing a cowbell, the officer used his professional judgment and determined not to threaten or restrain the individual so as not to escalate a potentially unsafe situation,” the statement continued. “After the disruption, the meeting continued, and PSU facilities management allowed College Republicans to extend their meeting beyond the scheduled end time that night because of the disruption delay.”

This incident came in the wake of Zachary Greenberg’s alleged assault of a conservative activist at University of California, Berkeley, in February. Greenberg is facing multiple felony counts.

“This is just yet another in a long line … of examples where conservatives on campus are deprived of their free speech rights,” Ingraham said.

“This must stop. While it’s good that police did arrest Zachary Greenberg on this alleged brutal assault on Hayden Williams at UC-Berkeley, it shouldn’t require a conservative getting injured for universities to start taking this seriously,” she said.

Universities’ words supporting free speech rights “mean nothing if they’re not backed up by action,” Ingraham also said. “There must be severe and swift repercussions for those who ultimately aim to terrorize, frighten or defame anyone with opposing views.”

Violence and disruptions such as those two incidents have “clear constitutional implications,” especially when involving state universities. They also have a “chilling effect” on free speech that lasts “long after the event is disrupted,” Ingraham said.

“Imagine what would happen if some neo-Nazi protester interrupted a black students’ association event in the same way using similar vile language? Would campus police have just sat there, stood there?” Ingraham wondered.

Ngo appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” to discuss the Portland case. He noted that “campus police and campus administrators stood from the back [of the Strickland event] and watched. They did absolutely nothing.”

“It doesn’t look like university administrators are being part of the solution,” Ngo added. “In other words, they’re providing a blueprint for how to shut down an event. You don’t even need a mob anymore. You can just have one person with a cowbell or a bullhorn.”

Related: Alleged Perpetrator in Berkeley Assault Case Facing Three Felonies, One Misdemeanor

Ngo said incidents like these are the “equivalent of modern-day book burnings.”

“It’s people using the heckler’s veto to stop the access of information,” Ngo said. “And the fact that we have those on the Left who are downplaying or dismissing these incidents is doing a disservice to … what the university mission is about, which is about open inquiry.”

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza told Ingraham that “it’s important to realize” that “the level of repression of speech on campus” has risen and become “systematic” rather than “episodic.” The protests and disruptions are “aimed at intimidating the conservative students and shutting down, if possible, the event,” he said.

“I also think conservatives should not back down in the face of these threats,” D’Souza added.

President Donald Trump said during a recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he planned “soon” to issue an executive order “requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars.”

Military historian and political columnist Victor Davis Hanson told Ingraham that no alumni “should ever give money to the universities” that allow these disruptions to take place unhindered and without repercussions.

“It’s like giving narcotics to an addict,” Hanson said.

No alumni “should ever give money to the universities” that allow these disruptions to take place unhindered and without repercussions, said Victor Davis Hanson.

The protesters behave as they do because “they feel that they’re going to rewarded or there’s no consequences,” Hanson said. But if schools started expelling them, or if police started arresting them — then things would begin to change, Hanson argued.

But college students are taught that “free speech is hate speech” and that “any means are justified because they have these noble, equality, ‘social justice’ ends.”

“If conservatism, Donald Trump is Hitler, then you can just take them all out,” Ingraham said. “They’re coddled kids and most of them are total cowards.”

Check out more in the video below:

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