Thread Rules: Read the entire discussion rubric. By quoting specific remarks in the discussion rubric, refute or expound upon the rubrics themes. Adhere strictly to rules one and two and also comply with SDF general rules. Discussion Rubric: On multiple occasions, I've seen people here gripe about students not being able to say whatever suits them on college campuses. Just as I draw a line about what my instruction and suggestions are open for debate, college students face constraints on what they can and cannot say in an academic context. The experience and insights I impart to my kids aren't by them things to question. When they have the life experience and intellectual knowledge and acuity to make their own marks in the world and not depend on the one I've made for their sufficiency, I will have achieved my goal of raising them, and at that point all of my input will for them be reduced to suggestion status and they are free to conduct their affairs as they see fit, free to express themselves as they desire, and free to raise their own kids as I raised them or differently. The same concept applies in higher education settings. When students reach the point that they have original ideas that on their own withstand rigorous scrutiny, the students will have then earned the right to speak freely on topics that capture their interest and that fall within the scope of their expertize. Until then, however, they need to sit down, take notes and ask intelligent questions. Freedom of speech is not an academic value. Accuracy of speech is an academic value; completeness of speech is an academic value; relevance of speech is an academic value. Each of these values is directly related to the goal of academic inquiry: getting a matter of fact right. The operative commonplace is "following the evidence wherever it leads." One can’t do that if one's sources are suspect or nonexistent; one can’t do that if one only considers evidence favorable to one's biases; one can’t do that if one's evidence is far afield and hasn’t been persuasively connected to the instant matter of fact. Nor can one follow the evidence wherever it leads if what guides one be a desire that the inquiry reach a conclusion friendly to one's political views. If free speech is not an academic value because it is not the value guiding inquiry, free political speech is positively antithetical to inquiry: it skews inquiry in advance, One achieves one's end from the get-go. It is political speech if, when the material under consideration raises political/ethical questions, one believes it is one's task to answer them, to take them normatively rather than academically. Any number of topics taken up in a classroom will contain moral and political issues, issues like discrimination, inequality, institutional racism. Those issues should be studied, analyzed, and historicized, but they shouldn’t be debated with a view to fashioning and prosecuting a remedial agenda. The academic interrogation of an issue leads to an understanding of its complexity; it does not (nor should it) lead to joining a party or marching down Main Street. That is what I mean by saying that the issue shouldn’t be taken normatively; taking it that way would require following its paths and byways to the point where one embarks upon a course of action; taking it academically requires that one stop short of action and remain in the realm of deliberation so long as the academic context is in session; action, if it comes, comes later or after class. Consider an example much in the news these days: Middlebury College. The facts are well known. The controversial sociologist Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, was invited by the American Enterprise Institute Club to speak at Middlebury about his 2013 book Coming Apart. The event was co-sponsored by the political science department and one of its members, Allison Stanger, was scheduled to engage Murray in dialogue after his talk. That never happened, because as soon as Murray rose to speak student protesters turned their backs on him and began a nonstop serial chant featuring slogans like "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away" and "Your message is hatred; we will not tolerate it." After 20 minutes a university administrator announced that the event would be moved to another location where Murray would give his talk, and that he and Professor Stanger would engage in a livestreamed conversation. That did happen, but as Murray and Stanger were exiting the new venue they were harassed and assaulted; Stanger suffered a neck injury and spent a short time in a hospital. What happened here? Well, according to many commentators, something disturbing and dangerous happened. That is the suggestion of an article headline in The Atlantic: "A Violent Attack on Free Speech at Middlebury." But whose free speech was attacked? If you’re thinking 1st Amendment (inapplicable to a private school like Middlebury), no government or government agency prevented Murray from speaking. If you’re thinking 1st Amendment values like the value of a free exchange of ideas, that’s not what the students wanted, and it was their show (after they took it away from the AEI club). And if it is what the Middlebury administration wanted, as President Laurie L. Patton said it was, then it was up to the administration to take the steps necessary to bring about the outcome it desired. If you were to ask me, "What would those steps be?" I would reply that I don’t know, but it’s not my job to know; it’s the job of the Middlebury administrators, and they failed to do it. In its account of the affair, Inside Higher Ed reports that "College officials said the size and intensity of the protest surprised them." Really? What planet were they living on? Didn’t they read the job description when they signed up? Some Middlebury faculty and many outside observers blamed the students for the debacle, and there is no doubt that their actions and ideas were unattractive enough to qualify them for the position of whipping boy. When an earnest representative of the AEI Club told the students that he looked forward to hearing their opinions, one of them immediately corrected him: "These are truths." In other words, you and Charles Murray have opinions, but we are in possession of the truth, and it is a waste of our time to listen to views we have already rejected and know to be worthless. Now that’s a nice brew of arrogance and ignorance, which, in combination with the obstructionism that followed, explains why the students got such a bad press. They are obnoxious, self-righteous, self-preening, shallow, short-sighted, intolerant, and generally impossible, which means that they are students, doing what students do. What they don’t do is police themselves or respect the institution’s protocols or temper their youthful enthusiasm with a dash of mature wisdom. That, again, is what administrations are supposed to do and what they are paid to do. Pillorying the students while muttering something about the decline of civility and truth-seeking in a radical PC culture makes good copy for radio, TV, and newspaper pundits; however, it misses the point, which is not some piously invoked abstraction like free speech or democratic rational debate, but something much smaller and more practically consequential: the obligation of college and university administrators to know what they are supposed to do and then to actually do it.