Cornell University’s disdain for free speech, due process, and other fundamental rights has been well documented and frequently commented upon since FIRE’s founding. Eleven years ago in The Shadow University, FIRE founders Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors described the denial of due process in the McCarthy-style inquisition of renowned Cornell psychology professor James Maas.
In one way or another, the concept of diversity pervades every piece of marketing that America’s colleges and universities distribute to unsuspecting students and parents. Diversity today assumes primacy in every conversation about the state of American higher education. The attainment of diversity—whose definition remains as uncertain today as it did when the idea was first introduced as indispensable in education—seems to have become a virtuous goal unto itself.
Administrators at Vanderbilt University are beginning to enforce a long-held nondiscrimination policy for student groups. The policy is forcing a dilemma for faith-based organizations: Either drop requirements that their leaders hold certain beliefs, or forfeit school funding and move off campus.
The sheer public spectacle of near-riots has forced some college administrators to take a stand for free expression and provide massive police protection when controversial speakers like Ben Shapiro come to campus. But when Mr. Shapiro leaves, the conditions that necessitated those extraordinary measures are still there. Administrators will keep having to choose between censoring moderate-to-conservative speakers, exposing their students to the threat of violence, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on every speaker.