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Northwestern University Student Government Rejects Free Speech Bill Following Leftist Protests

Northwestern University Student Government Rejects Free Speech Bill Following Leftist Protests

By

kara

January 21, 2020

The student government at Northwestern University has voted to indefinitely table a resolution aimed at protecting free speech on campus, following volatile campus protests of YAF’s Jeff Sessions lecture last fall. The Associated Student Government voted 12-11-3 to suspend debate on the free speech bill indefinitely last Wednesday, arguing that the resolution didn’t provide enough protections for student protestors and seemed to be tailored more towards protecting conservative speakers, according to Zachary Kessel, the sponsor of the proposed bill. Kessel, who introduced the “Resolution Affirming the Northwestern University Student Body’s Commitment to Freedom of Speech” bill, told YAF exclusively that he was disappointed with the senate’s vote. “I introduced this resolution because intellectual growth is not possible when students are not exposed to viewpoints that differ from their own,” Kessel said. He noted that the bill was created in response to an increase in intolerance at campus speakers across the country, and most recently in November with Jeff Sessions on their campus. “The idea that opinions could be ‘dangerous’ or ‘violent’ is a way of thinking that detracts from a student’s ability to learn,” he told YAF. “The resolution was meant to be a symbolic gesture on the part of Northwestern’s student body in support of free speech and the exchange of ideas. I was disappointed when the ASG voted to table the resolution…attempting to shut down free speech does not allow for a healthy educational experience.” Northwestern University’s student newspaper faced backlash from leftists following their coverage of the Jeff Sessions’ protestors, garnering attention from national news outlets. The newspaper later apologized in an editorial for publishing photos of the protestors. “We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night,” the Daily Northwestern’s editorial board wrote. “Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down.” You read that correctly–journalists apologized for reporting on a public demonstration because the protestors were traumatized. The Dean of the Medill Journalism School, Charles Whitaker, affirmed the student newspaper’s “obligation” to report on the event, and criticized the paper bowing to leftist critics. Northwestern University administrators, on the other hand, chose to hold the protestors accountable by slapping them with only a measly $125 fine. From the angry leftists interrupting Sessions’ speech, to the newspaper apologizing for covering the public protestors’ identities, it’s apparent that free speech is not being recognized and valued at one of the nation’s top universities. Until the administration and student government stand up to these leftist tyrants-in-training, the assault on the First Amendment will continue to go unchecked, leaving these students in their fantasy world of appeasement and safe spaces.

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