Piata universitara

When “Free Speech” Is a Marketing Ploy by Osita Nwanevu 

On Jan. 24, it was announced that former White House adviser and Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon had accepted an invitation from University of Chicago business school professor Luigi Zingales to participate in a debate on campus. “I can hardly think of a more important issue for new citizens and business leaders of the world than the backlash against globalization and immigration that is taking place not just in America, but in all the Western World,” Zingales wrote in a statement. “Whether you agree with him or not (and I personally do not), Mr. Bannon has come to interpret and represent this backlash in America.”
Zingales and university administrators have, predictably, spent the past several weeks dealing with a backlash of their own. Over 1,000 alumni, more than 100 faculty members, the executives of student government and nearly a dozen student groups have voiced their opposition to the event in various mediums. “[W]hen speakers who question the intellect and full humanity of people of color are invited to campus to ‘debate’ their worthiness as citizens and people, ” a faculty open letter read, “the message is clear that the University’s commitment to freedom of expression will come at the expense of those most vulnerable in our community.” Off-campus, many have scorned those protesting the invitation. “The school has a long tradition of valuing free speech and thought, recognizing that a university is — wait for it — a place of ideas and learning,” the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board wrote after the announcement. “The ‘cure’ for repellent ideas, school President Robert Maynard Hutchins said generations ago, ‘lies through open discussion rather than through inhibition.’ ”

 

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Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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