The past few years have been an unprecedented time in American higher education. Once considered havens for new ideas and open-mindedness, universities across the country have become increasingly, violently intolerant of any idea or opinion that does not fit within their narrow, far-left worldview.
Conservative speakers such as Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro are forced away by threat of violence, professors who present conservative viewpoints lose their jobs, and conservative students attending liberal universities face never-ending harassment and even physical danger. All the while, the universities in question have done nothing to reverse the destruction of free speech that is taking place. If anything, they’ve abetted it.
Now, though, it looks as if this decision to allow these atrocities to continue is starting to hit these universities where it hurts the most – their profits. In a report recently published by Fox News, analysts argue that many prospective students and their parents have grown wary of universities which have actively engaged in the stifling free speech by bowing to the demands of the left while at the same time labeling any opinion that doesn’t fit their ideology as being “intolerant” or “microaggression”.
One of the universities at the forefront of this controversy – the University of Missouri – is feeling the heat. After a series of protests that took place in 2015, the university closed a total of five dormitories. In April, Frankie Minor, the residential life director at the University of Missouri, announced that three more dormitories would be closed, citing decreasing enrollment as the reason for the closings.
The University of Missouri isn’t the only one facing a drop in enrollment due to their policies. After a series of chaotic protests took place on the campus at Evergreen State College when Professor Bret Weinstein’s announced his intention to hold an activism event that challenged the university’s “Day of Absence” in which African American students all meet off campus, Evergreen State College saw a significant hit to their profits.
Following these events, the university announced a significant drop in enrollment and a $2.1 million miss on their budget. To make the matter even more punishing to the university’s bottom line, Professor Weinstein is now suing the university for $3.85 million.
Of course, the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College are not the only institutions who have been complicit in the stifling of free speech. Two of the more prominent examples of free speech being trampled took place at UC Berkley – a college that was once known as being a bastion of free speech and new ideas. In April of 2017, conservative figure Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak at the university. However, after a series of chaotic, violent riots by some of the university’s students, UC Berkley canceled the event, citing concerns for Ms. Coulter’s safety as the reason for the cancellation.
Shortly before this cancellation, the university had also canceled an event where Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak after a series of riots that caused a total of $100,000 in damages. In both instances, UC Berkley cited safety concerns as the reason for the cancellation. Regardless of whether this is really the reason, any university that cannot control its students and keep them from attacking guest speakers is horribly failing at its job. Whether this failure will hurt UC Berkley’s enrollment like it did the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College is something that is yet to be seen.
Discussing why a university’s approach to free speech matters when it comes to where students decide to attend college, Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill of the American Council of Trustees said, “When they look to what college to pick, parents and students are thinking of the largest investment their family is likely to make beyond the purchase of a home. Across the political spectrum, one of the most essential assets is [the opportunity] to be exposed to a wide range of views.”
For those who are disgusted by the way these universities have trampled on free speech in recent years – which any patriotic American should be despite their political views – this pushback by students is an excellent sign. Lessons aren’t learned unless the consequences are stiff, and consequences such as a $2.1 million earnings miss, a $3.85 million lawsuit, and a drop in enrollment that forces a university to close down a total of eight dorms are going to be tough to swallow.
One can only hope this will be enough to curb the deeply disturbing actions of these universities and their students.
~ Conservative Zone