Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chancellor Dirks on Milo Coming to Berkeley

Milo is coming to Berkeley, at the invitation of our College Republicans. The UC-Berkeley Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, has issued a statement that in my view is just about perfect:
  • It's right on the law: Berkeley is legally prohibited from canceling the speech, obstructing the speech, or otherwise discriminating against the speech in providing accommodations in any way.
  • It's right on the ethics: Law notwithstanding, Berkeley shouldn't cancel or obstruct the speech. Nor should it obstruct protesters wishing to lawfully protest the speech (so long as said protest itself does not prevent the speech itself from occurring).
  • And finally, it's right on the values: What Milo represents is deeply antagonistic to the values that should motivate a well-functioning academic community. It speaks exceptionally poorly of the Berkeley College Republicans that they issued the invitation. Once we get past the basic threshold free speech question, we can place our focus where it should be: on what Berkeley Republicans consider to be valuable and meritorious contributions to campus political debate. If this is their appraisal, then they are justly judged harshly for it.
So: Kudos to Chancellor Dirks for getting it right, and shame on Berkeley Republicans for getting it wrong.

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