Do They Really Think They Can Defund Campus Conservatives?
At Penn State, students on one side of the political spectrum want to slash support for their peers on the other
Students turning on their fellow students is never a pretty thing –– especially when such actions trample on the constitutional rights of others. A group of college demonstrators in Pennsylvania surely would have benefited from a civics class or two in high school before ever setting foot on campus.
Instead, they’re busy attacking the free speech rights of fellow students –– a common situation these days, alas, at left-leaning academic institutions.
The latest example occurred this week at publicly funded Pennsylvania State University, where students presented a list of demands to school president Eric Barron, insisting he defund campus conservative student groups like Turning Point USA (TPUSA), as Campus Reform reported.
It makes one wistful for the days when students appreciated receiving a quality education at institutions of high learning.
A nonprofit, TPUSA aims to educate students on the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government — in other words, treasured American ideals right now deemed anathema by the Left.
According to the Pennsylvania Student Power Network, students from 21 different campuses across the state joined the protest, demanding administrators denounce "campus hate groups." (Anything the Left doesn't agree with appears to be considered "hate.")
"How blind are these hypocrites to their own intolerance? The haters are the censors," Bill Becker, a free speech attorney and president and CEO of Freedom X, a nonprofit law firm in Los Angeles that supports conservative causes, told LifeZette.
They are also blind to their selective moralizing.
"Across Pennsylvania, students are organizing for social justice on campus and beyond. Our network includes students at private schools, public schools, and community colleges — in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Lehigh Valley, and in between," reads a section from the Pennsylvania Student Power Network's website. "We're working to build long-term progressive power."
LifeZette reached out to James Ceronsky, the group's director, but did not hear back by publication time.
"One day, when, and if, they grow up, they will learn that in a pluralistic society, there is room for opposing views," noted Becker. "Right now they're being indoctrinated by any number of organizations that plaster the internet and social media with tool kits and guides to foment left-leaning dissent. They are intellectually challenged and are just looking for a fight."
"As an institution of higher education, Penn State not only has an obligation to support constitutionally protected free speech, but is also committed to open and civil exchange of ideas," said Lisa Powers, a senior director for the school's Office of Communications, according to Campus Reform.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.