Despite the efforts by the political Left to shut down conservative speakers on college campuses, there are some people who are steadfastly defending the right to free speech, as demonstrated by the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board, which stood up for the right of Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and Feminist advocate Christina Hoff Sommers to speak at the University of New Mexico.
In an op-ed, the Journal cited UNM president Chaouki Abdallah’s refusal to buckle to a socialist group on campus which wanted to ban planned speeches by Shapiro and Sommers. Shapiro has been invited by the UNM College Republicans, and the Young Americans for Freedom plan to have Sommers speak.
The Journal noted that the UNM Students for Socialism had protested outside the administration building Monday after Abdallah refused to buckle to them. Students for Socialism co-president Karina Rodgers apparently claimed Abdallah was shirking his responsibilities as acting president by refusing to ban the speakers.
The Journal countered:
It is his job to uphold UNM’s policy on free speech, and to foster cooperation and tolerance among the university’s diverse student population. … It’s disconcerting that some at UNM — where the open exchange of ideas should be honored rather than discouraged — fail to grasp the importance of the First Amendment, which protects speech, as well as a free press. By seeking to ban speech they don’t agree with — or even abhor — they effectively surrender their own right to free speech. Similarly, banning free speech that might lead to violence allows those willing to be violent to decide who gets to talk and who doesn’t.
The Journal concluded:
Shapiro and Sommers … should be allowed to speak at UNM, regardless of who likes, or dislikes, what they have to say. This anti-free speech “movement,” which unfortunately seems to be in vogue — especially in academia — brings to mind a quote we all need to hear, or re-hear: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” That was English author Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in 1906. That’s how democracy, and free speech, work in America — and how they are working at UNM, despite some misguided efforts to undermine both.