January 22, 2018
A MacIver Perspective by Jake Lubenow
From waving dildos in the air, to shutting out conservative organizations, to hating all white men, the campus left in Wisconsin truly had a banner fall semester. The radical leftists at our universities continue to trip over their extraordinarily low bar for being considerate participants in political debate and restraining from indoctrinating Wisconsin students.
Although new free speech protections offer more liberty for students to express their beliefs, more must be done to liberate students of the quasi-socialist utopia at our Wisconsin colleges and universities.
While activists, professors, and administrators continue to do their best to suppress opposing views from the right side of the aisle, progress has been made to protect the liberties of students.
The biggest story in campus politics this fall was by far the free speech bill passed by the Wisconsin Assembly and later implemented by the Board of Regents. The policy punishes students who disturb events and speakers twice with a suspension. If a student still doesn’t get the hint, the third disturbance ends in expulsion.
The policy curbs the use of the unconstitutional heckler’s veto after the practice was utilized nationally by progressive activists last year. Ben Shapiro’s speech last fall at UW-Madison to the Young Americans for Freedom chapter was put on hold when protesters rushed the stage and showed off their stranglehold on campus conservatives and proved what dilatants the “tolerant” left are.
Today’s college students never saw the days of the Soviet Union and the Tiananmen Square protests, and they’ve become more inclined to discount the importance and significance of our right to free speech. MacIver’s own Matt Kittle sat down with José Delgado, a Cuban Native and UW System Regent, to discuss his reflections on growing up in Castro’s Cuba and the impact of free speech on the furthering of our democracy.
Despite the policy being hotly debated across the state, and even in national press, free speech has made progress since the policy was implemented. Just take a look at the Young Americans for Liberty event at UW-Madison this past fall.
On another good note, in-state students will see their tuition at the same level for the fifth straight year with the tuition freeze by way of the budget process. Unfortunately for students in need of some extra beer money, or perhaps cash for textbooks, Governor Walker’s proposed 5 percent tuition cut was struck by Republican legislators content with just a freeze. The campus left’s so-called “student loan voters” lack of praise for the freeze is deafening.
UW-Stevens Point’s Student Government Association voted to deny the formation of a Turning Point USA campus group, a nationwide conservative organization, to maintain their campus-wide safe space. The decision provoked a statewide rebuke and the threat of a lawsuit, forcing the reversal of the decision by the Student Affairs Office. At the testy meeting, student senators called the organization and, perhaps more shockingly capitalism, racist. It turns out the protection of safe spaces does not stand up to the primacy of the freedom of association and a win was notched for conservatives at UW-Stevens Point.
Also, a leader of the Wisconsin College Democrats and student at UW-La Crosse had to resign after tweeting “I f—ing hate white men” and sharing her joy of tearing down Christian pregnancy center posters on campus. The ever-tolerant College Democrats stood by the member of their board until national media attention was drawn to the organization over the matter. Her resignation was a silver-lining, but the media attention required exposed the hypocrisy of the campus left.
After this past semester, students on the right may be reconsidering their position on safe spaces and trigger warnings with how radical and, frankly, bizarre the campus left went this fall.
Nothing epitomized liberal activism like a small group of misfits at UW-Madison screaming “cocks not glocks” and “this is what democracy looks like” while waving facsimiles of male genitalia in the air in protest. It’s possible the students thought they were living in the French democracy, but probably not.
The protesters tried to trivialize a speaker discussing the need for campus concealed carry to empower women to protect themselves, especially from the increased threat of sexual assault. The mocking, rather than engaging in debate, not only exposes how inept campus progressives are at responding to opposing ideas, but also how insensitive they are to the plight of rape victims on our campuses if they disagree with a speaker’s politics.
It’s not hard to imagine why parents across the state hesitate to send their students to Madison, knowing they’re at risk of harassment just for attending an event consistent with their values. You really have to wonder if these champions of the victimized realize what damage waving dildos in the face of a student impacted by sexual assault could do.
It really is a mystery whether the campus left can top the lunacy of the past semester. It should be difficult to usurp waving dildos in the air, but never underestimate the determination of some liberal students with too much time on their hands.
The free speech debate should remain at center stage as the Senate and the Governor may take up the Assembly bill that led to a Board of Regents policy. We’ll also certainly see further evidence that the policy respects the freedom of speech with no evidence of a chilling effect opponents predict. It shouldn’t be hard to explain to students the difference between protesting outside and disturbing an event inside, but you never know with the campus left’s warped perceptions.
Governor Walker wrote an ambitious budget in 2017 with respect to UW reforms and he should be applauded for the effort. The Joint Finance Committee’s insistence that the budget stick to fiscal matters shouldn’t halt the ambition to reform poor UW policy.
Governor Walker proposed the university create pathways by 2020 for most degree plans for finishing an undergraduate program in three years. Most UW schools are eager to pick the pockets of students stuck in school for a fourth year. Meanwhile, their mountain of debt climbs higher as students finish their degrees in underwater basket weaving. JFC’s striking of the proposal shouldn’t deter the governor and legislators from helping UW students complete school with a little more in their wallet.
In a step toward transparency, Governor Walker also proposed a policy where all workloads by faculty are reported and professors are rewarded for spending time in the classroom. While some research certainly benefits the state, it’s time we reward professors who do what they’re paid to do: teach. Students should jump at the opportunity to have more teaching hours, opening more classes and making it simpler to fulfill graduation requirements.
Campus conservatives should also resume their call for a student fee opt-out. Allocable segregated fees force all students to pay a hefty sum to fund organizations and programs they usually neither use nor participate in and, in some cases, don’t agree with. Students at UW-Madison should be outraged that nearly $105,000 each year is allocated to condoms and over $67,000 promotes an organization called Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics. Or perhaps they’d be furious that their student representatives receive thousands of dollars to offend Jewish students and suggest that African-American students should receive free tuition.
The opt-out was included in Governor Walker’s budget but later removed by the Legislature. To get serious about college affordability and real liberty for students, the Legislature should reconsider the idea. Lawmakers did mandate that segregated fees be standardized across campuses with regard to how each school structured their allocation. That move should make an opt-out a simpler adjustment for universities.
With each passing semester of lunacy from the left, conservative organizations and students grow in number and strength. Those liberty-oriented students need to continue to expose the hypocrisy of the left, grow the movement on campus, and call for reforms from our Legislature. The battle will never be easy, but altering increasingly radical universities and students is a worthy and imperative pursuit.