Tag Archives: Cal-Berkeley

There shouldn’t be this kind of angst at a university

I detest stories like this, reports of so-called “liberal intolerance.”

Actually, I am forced to acknowledge that such intolerance is real and it exists in the most unsuitable places: colleges and universities across the United States.

Ann Coulter, a fiery conservative columnist and TV pundit, was supposed to speak to students at the University of California-Berkeley. Then the school canceled her appearance, citing “security concerns.” UC-Berkeley took back the cancellation and then rescheduled Coulter for another date.

Coulter might not speak after all. She contends she has scheduling difficulties that will keep her otherwise occupied.

When did universities become so exclusive?

Students who want to hear from Coulter now are threatening to sue the school.

Good grief, folks!

All of this is a symptom of the intolerance that grips colleges and universities. There can be little doubt about that, in my view.

Coulter is provocative. That is her shtick. She likes to stir people’s emotions and she’s quite good at it. Coulter also is a darling of the conservative media in America and is no friend of liberals, many of whom run our nation’s major university systems — such as the University of California.

This kind of uproar shouldn’t exist at these institutions of higher learning. Security concerns? Are they real or imagined?

Universities should be a place where all points of view from across the broad political spectrum are welcome. Should every student, faculty member or college administrator embrace every point of view expressed? Of course not. But neither should they reject them outright because they might be, oh, politically incorrect.

All this hubbub about “security concerns” regarding Ann Coulter looks and sounds like a dodge that masks the real motivation, which is to silence a leading conservative voice.

We can argue until we all run out of breath about whether Coulter deserves the standing she enjoys among conservatives. The fact is that she is part of a political movement that isn’t to my particular liking. She still deserves to be heard.

After she speaks, then let the students and their professors argue among themselves about what she has said. Who knows? They might learn something from each other.

Reason prevails at Berkeley

Reason, common sense and an understanding of mission is rearing its head at the University of California-Berkeley.

University administrators are declaring that liberal comedian/pundit Bill Maher will be allowed to speak at a campus event despite protests from students who are angered by his recent comments about Islam.


Students have circulated petitions seeking to rescind Maher’s invitation to speak at Cal-Berkeley over comments he made that said, essentially, that Islam fosters terrorist acts.

The effort to pull back the invitation is silly on its face and is offensive at many levels.

Maher’s freedom of expression is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. His comments, while controversial and (to some folks) offensive, do not rise to the level of something that should be censored. Finally, universities should be a place where all ideas are heard, discussed and debated.

Finally, Cal-Berkeley is known around the world as a sort of Ground Zero of progressive thought. By definition, progressives should be open to all points of view. Let’s not take some namby-pamby view that allows thoughts that don’t rile us up, get our hearts started, cause us to hyperventilate.

Cal-Berkeley issued this statement: “UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech.”

So, let the man speak. Those who don’t want to hear him are free to do something else … like study.


Silencing speech at a university

Here we go again.

University students and more than likely some faculty are up in arms because someone made comments that offended them. So now they want to ban that famous someone from speaking at their campus.

Sounds familiar, right?


The target this time is a noted liberal comedian/political pundit, Bill Maher, who recently said some things about Islam that have riled a few thousand students at the University of California-Berkeley. They are circulating petitions to get the school to rescind its invitation to Maher.

For the record, I don’t think much of Maher either as a comedian or a political commentator. He’s not particularly funny, nor is he particularly insightful — in my view.

Whatever I might think of someone, though, has nothing to do with the notion of allowing him or her to speak.

Universities are supposed to be breeding grounds for diversity of thought, opinion and perspective. Yet many of them have shown remarkable intolerance of ideas with which they disagree. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for example, has been disinvited by university faculty and students because of his conservative judicial philosophy, which they contend just isn’t welcome in their midst. Now it’s a liberal, Maher, who’s drawing the scorn.

It is patently wrong to deny noted individuals, regardless of philosophy, the opportunity to share their views at places of learning. Isn’t the very definition of “learning” intended to expose minds to a wide range of perspective?

Let the comedian speak his mind. Those who don’t want to hear it don’t need to attend. Those who do want to lend an ear, then do so, listen and then talk among yourselves about the merits of what the guy has to say.

Isn’t that what higher education is supposed to foster?



Sen. Paul does the seemingly impossible

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has made two fascinating public appearances of late.

The Kentucky Republican — and tea party favorite — spoke to thundering applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering. CPAC is where conservatives go for anointment by the Republican Party’s most faithful, the true believers, the hardest of the hard core right wing.

Then, just this week, the senator showed on the other coast, the Left Coast, and addressed a crowd of University of California-Berkeley students. Now this is where the lefties hang out to get their blessing from the progressive/liberal/lefty crowd. It’s also a place that usually doesn’t welcome those from the other side. But there was Sen. Paul, giving the Berkeley faithful a snootful of libertarian dogma.


What gives here?

Is he actually the most “intriguing man in the GOP,” as Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus has posited? He might be.

The CPAC meeting was a no-brainer for Paul, who’s considered to be a virtual shoo-in as a candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. He won the CPAC straw poll, beating the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The Berkeley event, though, raised my eyebrows. Too many colleges and universities — those bastions of progressive thought and supposed tolerance for all points of view — have rolled out the unwelcome mat to conservatives. Rand Paul appears to be the exception, though, given his libertarian views on things such as drug decriminalization and his pacifist view of war.

He’s a conservative, though. Frankly, I was glad to see him speak at Berkeley if only to know that at least one progressive institution in this particular instance was being true to the credo of openness and tolerance of differing points of view.

Now, let’s see if Hillary Clinton shows up at a right-wing-leaning school such as, say, Liberty University.