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

Perspective Writers' Votes
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University campuses should be spaces that are neutral with respect to ideas.

Pros
Cons
  • The university should be a "marketplace of ideas."

  • Universities specifically exist in order to promote the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

  • The only way we will progress as a society is by having an open exchange of ideas and reaching the conclusions of which work the best in a calm and rational manner. Banning people from speaking encourages mob mentality and echo chambers.

  • State Run Universities are bound by the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause to provide equal (neutral) protection with respect to individuals and their ideas which are part of one's natural rights. Campus Free Speech Act TN Schuette vs BAMN (2014)MUW v Hogan (1982) and US v Virginia

  • Often the groups that no-platform represent status-quo views, meaning they have little to worry about if no-platforming becomes the norm. However, in the future the status-quo may change, and their views become minority positions. If this happens groups would come to regret normalising no-platforming as it would then be used against them by the ideological majority.

  • Even if universities are themselves officially neutral much of the research that takes place there is not.

  • Not all universities claim to be neutral. For example, religious universities may take conservative approaches to the types of research permitted.

  • Universities should be spaces where diverse ideas can be discussed in an environment that is safe and free of discrimination.

  • There is no model for "neutrality" that's effective and practical. PR and "events" are often driven by provocation and spectacle. Many of these speakers are invited by campus special-interest groups. Producing a 'value-neutral' discourse would require an untenable amount of control by the universities, starting with research into what 'value-neutral' even means in the first place.

  • However it can be somewhat frustrating to imagine that the "other side of the debate" frequently has to do with legitimizing some form of discrimination.

  • Knowledge production is never neutral as it is defined by the worldviews and political positions of those producing it.