Fox News host Megyn Kelly and liberal attorney and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz decried Thursday night the rash of intolerant, coddled student behavior happening on college campuses across the country, with Dershowitz referring to students attempting to suppress free speech as "book burners."
It was Kelly's displeasure to report that at the University of Minnesota this week, an attempt to recognize the 9/11 terrorist attacks each year was blocked. The reason was protesting students felt the move could fuel Islamophobia and make students feel "more unsafe." Kelly then sighed deeply.
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Kelly also delved into the unrest at Yale, where an email about Halloween costumes and supporting free speech set off an angry firestorm among the more sensitive folks on campus. As is their custom, they wanted the resignations of the offending parties.
"We have also seen national attention this week on a similar debate at Yale, where administrations are trying to convince angry young people at Yale," Kelly repeating the school's name for emphasis, "that the exchange of ideas, offensive or not, is the foundation of higher learning, not to mention the First Amendment."
Kelly also reported on the University of Missouri's announcement that students should call campus police if they hear insulting or offensive speech, and she discussed the Missouri student who told MSNBC that she was tired of the First Amendment being used to create a "hostile" and "unsafe" atmosphere.
Missouri was also the site of a viral video of student journalists who were harassed and threatened by students and faculty for merely wanting to report on protests there.
"The viewers know where I stand on this, I've made it very clear. However, let me take the position of the young woman we just saw," Kelly said in reference to the Missouri student on MSNBC. "We have rules and corporations that say you can't talk a certain way and work here. They say why can't we have those same rules on college campuses. You can't talk that way. You can't say those things, because this is an institution, this is a place where you shouldn't have to be subjected to that."
These are the same people who claim they want diversity, Dershowitz said, but their behavior reflects that is not really true.
"They may want superficial diversity of gender or superficial diversity of color, but they don't want diversity of ideas," he said. "I don't want to make analogies to the 1930s, but we have to remember that it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime, and these students are book burners. They don't want to hear diverse views on college campuses."
Kelly recalled college was once about the free expression of ideas, but now, with these students, there are demands that harsh "words" have to be stopped.
"It's the worst kind of hypocrisy," Dershowitz said. "They want complete freedom over their sex lives, over their personal lives, over the use of drugs, but they want Mommy and Daddy Dean and President to please give them a safe place, protect them from ideas that may be insensitive, maybe will make them think."
Dershowitz mentioned the double standard in what constitutes speech that should be banned in the eyes of angry students, mentioning the kerfuffle at Manhattan's Hunter College where pro-Palestinian activists blamed "Zionist administrators" for high tuition costs, a blatantly anti-Semitic remark. That didn't get national play at all, however.
"It is free speech for me, not for thee, and universities should not tolerate this kind of hypocrisy, double standard, and college administrators have to start treating students as adults," he said.