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

Perspective Writers' Votes
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No-platforming exacerbates divisions among students because those who support the visiting speaker will feel as if their viewpoints are being shut out by the majority.

Pros
Cons
  • A more productive and democratic way to deal with the divisions is to confront them head-on by allowing diverse viewpoints, so long as these viewpoints are peacefully presented.

  • No-platformers do not speak for all members of their social group but act as if they were entitled to do so.

  • No-platforming creates a slippery slope wherein those who hold the dominant political narrative are afforded the power to dictate what can and cannot be discussed.

  • The often wildly-exaggerated rhetorical justifications for 'no platform' actions can promote marginalization, vilification and hatred directed at students of perceived controversial or innovative thought.

  • Some viewpoints, such as white nationalism, may deserve to be shut out by the majority.

  • By acknowledging certain viewpoints as questionable fringe views, students who hold these views may be dissuaded from openly bullying and discriminating against others. Racist or homophobic views, for example, can lead to bullying if their holders are emboldened and normalised.

  • When these viewpoints target other members of the university community, those feelings are of relatively smaller importance.

  • Universities cannot possibly represent all the students' opinions equally and it is not their job to do so.

  • Uninviting a speaker does not equal shutting out a viewpoint. Students can still voice and defend their opinions in other discourses themselves, even if the person affected by no-platforming doesn't appear in public.

  • The message of the divisive speaker is what produces the division. Whatever occurs as a result of denying entry to a divisive speaker only helps manifest what already exists.

  • Conflict should not be seen as intrinsically negative. If managed appropriately, it may reveal unaddressed issues crucial in creating a more tolerant space.