Students Keep "No Platforming" Contentious Speakers. Should They Stop?

Perspective Writers' Votes
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No-platforming shields students from reality. This makes them poorly equipped to deal with oppressive ideas that are publicly expressed outside of university grounds.

Pros
Cons
  • Part of the purpose of education is to teach students about the world as it is, in order to prepare them for when they have to make it in the world on their own.

  • No-platforming reinforces harmful stereotypes about younger generations such as that they are special snowflakes that cannot handle opposition.

  • Confronting extreme ideas trains students in defending complex arguments.

  • When students are never confronted with those holding opposing views, they are also less capable of developing empathy, “one of the faculties most essential to persuasion”.

  • Allowing controversial speakers to present their platform on campus is a necessity; to study the "opposing side" is the intellectually healthy thing to do.

  • Universities should not be safe spaces, students should be exposed to the full gamut of ideas and opinions regardless of how offensive they find them to be. The proper way to consign bad ideas to the past is to confront and then deconstruct them in the forum of debate, not to stop them from being expressed at all.

  • By the time they graduate, college students should at least be familiar with the talking points of BOTH the right and left. Listening does not mean agreement by default. Students may have well thought out opinions, but unless they address the concerns of their opponents as well, their argument will remain somewhat ignorant.

  • On the contrary, no-platforming can be a way for students to organise themselves and take part in a political action that fights what they deem unjust. This is a useful lesson for life outside university.

  • No-platforming is the first step in undermining these oppressive ideas, and preventing them from being expressed and internalized by society.

  • Students can be equipped to deal with oppressive ideas by being exposed to inspirational speakers who went through a discriminatory experience, rather than to oppressors.

  • No-platforming shelters people from the oppressive thoughts and actions that are everywhere in the media.

  • No-platforming does not inherently demonstrate a lack of understanding about the speaker's issues. University-sanctioned guidance in no-platforming and/or protesting would better equip students for reality. Universities could do more to equip students to face reality by educating them in social action.

  • A professor playing devil’s advocate or courses that include alternate views may be sufficient to foster critical thinking. It is not necessary that young people are exposed to uncivil (racist, xenophobic and misogynistic) discourse.