A professor of education at the University of Southern California claims that universities that punish leftist students who shut down speaking events featuring conservative speakers are reinforcing “white supremacy.”
Professor Charles H.F. Davis, the Chief Strategy Officer for the USC Race and Equity Center, wrote in Inside Higher Ed that sanctioning students who disrupt conservative events would “suppress and criminalize” them.
Davis cited the unruly students who disrupted Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro’s speaking event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in late 2016, saying they were battling “racist rhetoric advanced by Shapiro.” Davis writes disingenuously, “Many students who engaged in disrupting a speech by Ben Shapiro, former editor of Breitbart News -- which was recently exposed for its intentional efforts to seed neo-Nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream -- would have been considered for suspension and expulsion. This despite the fact that their civil disobedience was in direct response to the racist rhetoric advanced by Shapiro.” Of course, Shapiro left Breitbart long before his speech at UW, but Davis smears him by association.
Shapiro’s speech revolved around political violence and the suppression of free speech by the Left and the Right.
Davis told Campus Reform, “Punishing protesters unfairly criminalizes students,” and that colleges who do so “run the risk of creating an unsafe and threatening environment.” He added that students who protest are “disproportionately students of color and students representing other marginalized groups. Issuing a punishment, especially in these cases, is a clear form of criminalization by deeming protest unacceptable.”
Davis contends that colleges must “resist the constant conflation of hate speech and free speech.” He says censorship of “hate speech” is permissible because “hate speech” is “violent and invites violence, which should not be allowed on campus.” He concludes, “By taking up a punitive approach to what is clearly a demand for greater racial equity and inclusion, administrators demonstrate they are more concerned with criminalizing those who labor in the name of justice than addressing real issues with material consequences for students of color.”