22 students at one of the leading US universities have come under pressure online for daring to stand up for freedom of speech.
Some of these students belong to the Princeton Open Campus Coalition which recently penned a letter arguing that the educational institution should not accept a number of demands presented lately and stemming from the current social upheaval in the US.
Hundreds of other students, however, want the university to introduce obligatory “anti-racist” training, change the curriculum to accommodate an agenda around identity politics, and also support calls to pay reparations to African Americans, the College Fix reported.
But the students who are against such changes and causes said in the letter that free expression would be harmed by incorporating them into Princeton’s policy, as it would allow one side in “deeply controversial and contentious issues” to prevail in this university’s environment.
“We are firmly united in our belief that fearless and unrestrained civil discourse is critical to a proper understanding of these complex issues and that robust protection of free thought, speech, and academic pursuit, particularly in the context of controversial issues, is the (essential condition) of a sound liberal arts education,” the students said in the letter called In Defense of Academic Freedom.
As if to prove their point about freedom of speech being in jeopardy here, these students’ opposition was noted and swiftly “punished” on a Princeton mailing list and through an online campaign against them, the report suggests.
First, a screenshot identifying the students by showing their signatures was broadcast on a university mailing list with the phrase, “oops.. did I drop this here.” The students were referred to as “racists” and the purpose was to expose them – but not their ideas. As the author of the message said, “Putting the signature page so we know our fellow racists but not the whole letter because I don’t want to upset more people with useless racist propaganda.”
It didn’t end there since student IDs of the 22 signatories were soon published on a Princeton Facebook group. Here, the students were denigrated as fascists, ghouls, and Nazi collaborators.
Some of those targeted in this way said they felt the public shaming and insults went against Princeton’s mission, while others were disappointed that what they viewed as their attempt to protect free speech had met with more divisiveness and harassment.
One of the 22 students revealed that his potential internship with a major company fell through and that he was told in an email that the unnamed business firm would not consider providing him with the opportunity since it is dedicated to “social justice.”
Princeton’s media office is yet to react to questions about the case.