The Student Life, the Claremont Colleges’ sole weekly newspaper left-wing tabloid, published an article on February 24 titled “Milo’s Hate Speech is Not Free Speech.” Scripps College freshman Tiara Sharma discussed her contempt for those who disagreed with those who censored Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley and stated that individuals who possessed his ideals should never be welcomed at the Claremont Colleges.
In the aftermath of the Berkeley riots that forced him to cancel his speaking engagement, I had many conversations with people who claimed to condemn Yiannopoulos’s ideologies, but defended his right to disseminate them on college campuses. My response to these people is simple: college campuses are not, and should not be, responsible for financially supporting figures like Yiannopoulos whose politics are founded upon the marginalization of certain identities. Our campuses cannot host public figures who claim that “gay rights have made us dumber,” call transgender people “mentally ill,” or claim that rape culture is a “fantasy.”
To justify her claim that the Claremont Colleges should follow that course, she alluded to Scripps College’s decision to disinvite syndicated columnist George Will three years ago for writing a piece about how campus progressives turned into a coddled community of safe spaces and trigger warnings while alluding to the “college rape epidemic” myth.
Sharma also expressed grievances with Simon & Schuster and the Conservative Political Action Conference, observing that a pedophilia controversy was necessary revoke Yiannopoulos’s book deal and his keynote address. She concludes her sophomoric article with the following assertion:
By continuing to fund speakers like Yiannopoulos, colleges like our own are not advocating for free speech; they are encouraging a type of ill-informed, hateful discourse that has no place on our campuses. If our colleges want to flaunt diversity on their brochures and websites, they should be willing to address the needs of their diverse students. They are entirely responsible for assuring that white supremacists, sexists, and bigots masquerading under the label ‘political pundit’ do not impinge upon the lived experiences of their students.
According to Sharma, “hate speech” does not constitute free speech. However, the First Amendment of the Constitution does not outline such exceptions and it is unfortunate that The Student Life does not give its writers a crash course on the very constitutional right that gives them the ability to publish such unadulterated garbage:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Naturally, I wrote the following comment dissenting from Sharma’s assertions:
In short, I stated that the First Amendment never had a “hate speech” exception because hatred is in the eye of the beholder. If such an exception existed, then snowflake millennials like Sharma would justify silencing individuals like Milo Yiannopoulos, George Will, or Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro. I also stated that whomever sponsors her education is getting a terrible return on their investment if Sharma cannot even properly read the First Amendment. It calls into question what she is learning inside the classroom (nothing insightful, I assume).
It does not surprise me that The Student Life and the Claremont Colleges peddle such fascistic and tyrannical views. When I was a student at Pitzer College, I was an opinion columnist for The Student Life as I was transitioning from a disgruntled classical liberal to a conservative. In my first article, I wrote that the student body should have open, fruitful dialogue on controversial topics; using the Arab-Israeli conflict as an example. In response, people on campus equated my pro-Israel position with those who harbor sympathies to the Ku Klux Klan. I also warned that the liberal left’s stranglehold on campus dialogue would ruin the Claremont Colleges’ reputation as a beacon of liberalism in academia. A year later, I wrote a strongly-worded article slamming the left’s anti-Semitic crusade demonizing Israel, resulting in a few individuals calling on TSL’s editors to fire me for having the audacity to present an opinion that did not fit the leftist collective in Claremont.
Since I graduated, The Student Life transformed from being a reasonably moderate voice committed to intrepid campus journalism and including a diversity of ideas into a leftist rag where ill-informed progressive students air out their nearly unlimited grievances at commencement speakers, Monsanto, Birthright, and President Trump. While their editors attempt to include dissenting voices, their readership takes such significant issue with it that the newspaper functions as a de facto echo chamber of the campus left. Their decline as a reliable source also allowed The Claremont Independent, the independently run conservative news magazine, to overtake the TSL as Claremont’s most widely read news source.
Articles like Sharma’s continue to demonstrate how college students are subjected to indoctrination that not only vilifies our system of governance, the laws of our land, and the individuals in power, but it also creates a community that preaches tolerance while not understanding what the word means. “Tolerance” does not disappear the moment somebody projects an opinion you strongly dislike. However, the community that The Student Life fosters with its readership and writers promulgates the very victimhood culture that rationalized Sharma’s fascistic belief that silencing dissent is a worthwhile, socially “just” endeavor. This is a dangerous precedent. It led to the deplorable protests that resulted in Dean Mary Spellman’s resignation from Claremont McKenna. It also justified vilifying conservative people of color as “shady.” It gives students a “principled” reason to segregated safe spaces based on the color of their skin and campus programs that specifically cater to specific races instead of the entirety of the community.
The victim hierarchy that takes absolutely no responsibility for an individual’s failures or inability to think rationally when they get challenged by the real world’s dilemmas spells doom for our country. This should not be the kind of community that any college campus should foster. Unfortunately, The Student Life only ensures that students from the Claremont College seem mentally and intellectually unfit to take the bull by the horns and make a substantial impact in the real world.