Have Tufts University students gone off the political deep end? Or, more likely, are they a microcosm of a national trend?
First, the so-called “disorientation” guide, published annually by students at the beginning of the school year, referred to the State of Israel as a “white supremacist state” while accusing the college Hillel of “exploit(ing) black voices for their own pro-Israel agenda.” Now students, writing in the student run Tufts Observer, have accused the Economics Department of promoting “capitalist ideologies” as opposed to so-called “social justice,” which is a euphemism for socialism.
Earlier this year, the Tufts student senate, meeting a day before Passover when most Jewish students were out of town preparing to attend Seders, voted to boycott Israel. The day after the election of 2016, instead of celebrating the peaceful transfer of power that has taken place in this great country every four years since 1789, Tufts students were offered mental health and counseling services and so-called “safe spaces.”
The atmosphere at Tufts has become hardly conducive to anything remotely resembling the free and open expression of opinions and ideas. Indeed, Tufts has instituted a “Bias Response Team” that asks students to drop a dime on each other to report so-called hate speech as the student defines the term. More than one report could lead to suspension or expulsion. Understandably, students learn to conform and keep quiet. They are not to blame given the fact that their parents might shell out upwards of sixty grand a year for their young charges to attend this august institution. The Tufts Anti-Bias office is comparable to one set up by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in the aftermath of the 2016 election, a hot line for citizens to drop a dime on Trump supporters.
Left-wing Tufts students ought to be free to openly discuss and debate ideas that others might describe as anti-Semitic and anti-American. In fact, such debate, and the unvarnished expression of ideas in opposition to those views ought to be welcomed at this institution of higher learning, this incubator of America’s future leaders. Instead the left-wing cabal, consistent with their authoritarian orientation, seek to use the levers of power, the student government, the left dominated student periodical, the college sanctioned bias police, to enforce their views and intimidate their opposition. They use free speech to end free speech in the name of free speech.
I hosted a talk show at WMFO Tufts in 1997, 20 years ago, for one year, and I returned 20 years later in 2017. Like the mythical Washington Irving character Rip Van Winkle, who falls asleep before the American Revolution and wakes up 20 years later, I found myself entering a different world at Tufts. Back in 1997, I was challenged both on and off the air by predominantly left oriented students with lively and at times ribald and hilarious debate. Back then I often interviewed prominent liberals as my guests including Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, the late Howard Zinn and Barney Frank who I would later challenge as a candidate for Congress in 2004. Few liberals accept my invitations or even return my calls today.
Now the atmosphere at Tufts is turgid, dull and fearful. Students are afraid to speak to me and when they do they look around to make sure no one is looking. I get hostile stares and am shunned. The student-run paper publishes a hit piece on me, filled with half-truths and wildly out-of-context comments in response to a student who turned me in to the anti-Bias office. I returned to Tufts with the naive hope that I might contribute an alternative opinion and generate genuine thinking and dialogue only to be gravely shocked and disappointed over the condition of the young and upcoming generation. My hope is that, in this regard, Tufts is an anomaly and is not typical of the condition of Americas colleges today.
But I am optimistic. I believe that the positive forces of free expression will ultimately prevail knowing that only a few brave souls are required to stand up to cultural tyranny.
Chuck Morse is a radio host who broadcasts live Thursday's at 10 a.m. ET at WMFO-Tufts. Chuck hosts the podcast "Chuck Morse Speaks" on iTunes and Stitcher and his books are available on Amazon.com. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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