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

Perspective Writers' Votes
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Universities are places of diversity. Promoting speakers that undermine the equality of rights for all with racist or sexist comments contradicts this enacted principle of diversity.

Pros
Cons
  • Diversity is not a simple reality but a principle that needs to be reclaimed within political debate over and over. Universities can provide a safe environment to reclaim diversity, even when they also invite controversial speakers opposing the benefits of diversity.

  • Universities are not necessarily places of diversity. In fact, historical and prestigious ones like Oxford and Cambridge were specifically created to educate elites and they very much continue to do so.

  • A diversity of ideas is an important pillar of universities. Students have to be given the opportunity to not only learn about the hateful speech that exists, but they should be given a chance to refute those ideas while under the safety net of a university.

  • This is not a valid con against stopping no-platforming. No diversity is protected when students are not even allowed the choice of what not to think with, or against.

  • Racist or sexist comments do not actually undermine the equality of rights for all or contradict the principle of diversity. The university remains a place of diversity whether someone makes a racist comment or not and the equality of rights for all remains intact whether someone makes a racist comment or not.

  • Anti-diversity speakers exist whether or not they are platformed. One's alignment with principles of diversity is unrelated to whether they platform anti-diversity speakers. Only by platforming such speakers can people be prepared to rationally refute their ideas.

  • By necessity, diversity requires entertaining the thought of the elimination of diversity, and then summarily rejecting it. No Platforming does not allow the thought to be entertained, and thus robs individuals of an important lesson in diversity.

  • If the principle of diversity is to be protected in the long run, each generation of students needs to be equipped with the necessary skills to defend it in debate against opposing ideas.

  • The obvious (and unfortunate) argument is that diversity flows both ways: letting someone deprive someone else of their right to speak is a move against diversity, even if their speech is against diversity.