Roger Kimball’s article about Wesleyan University’s intolerance is yet another bit of proof that universities aren’t teaching students about the U.S. Constitution. That’s disturbing enough but it doesn’t end there. Those university students didn’t just magically appear on campus. It’s rumored that they attended high school prior to applying for admission and getting accepted at a university.
These students’ lack of understanding of the Constitution casts doubt about that rumor. Rather than just whining about campus censorship, society should provide leadership in guiding these students’ decisions. According to Kimball’s article, “the student newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, ran an op-ed mildly critical of the preposterous ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement”, which led “the student government…to cut [the student newspaper’s] funding by more than half.”
There’s plenty of time to complain about the student government’s decision but let’s engage in finding solutions to this horrific decision. First, the university president should overrule the student government’s decision. While it’s fair to argue that students’ decisions should be respected in the vast majority of instances, it’s equally fair to argue that constitutional issues fall outside the student government’s authority. The First Amendment is the law of the land. It isn’t subject to approval by student government assemblies, city councils, state legislatures or the U.S. Congress.
As George Will once famously ridiculed campus free speech zones, saying that he “thought the First Amendment made America a free-speech zone.” Mr. Will, possessing a sound mind, impeccable logic and a thorough understanding of American history, is right. The First Amendment indeed makes every square centimeter of the United States a free speech zone.
It’s entirely possible that a university’s president agrees with the Wesleyan University student government. If a university’s president won’t enforce the Constitution, that university president’s salary and benefits should be cut immediately. Each university should write that into every president’s contract. If the candidate isn’t willing to sign that contract, then the university should rescind their offer and find a candidate who’s willing to enforce the Constitution.
If universities aren’t willing to enforce the Constitution, then they’re teaching students that it’s ok to pick and choose which laws they’ll obey and which laws they’ll ignore. That’s doing students a grave disservice. America was at its best when this was a nation of laws, not a nation that worshiped celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
It’s imperative that the United States returned to being a nation that obeys all of its laws.