A speech at Columbia University by Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, was overrun by students who objected to his views on illegal immigration in a planned attack to shut down the event. The speech, sponsored by the College Republicans at the school, never took place. And the students who did it are proud of it:
“We were aware that there was going to be a sign and we were going to occupy the stage,” said a protestor who was on stage and asked to remain anonymous. “I don’t feel like we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. … The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration.”
It’s astonishing to me that a student at a top notch school like Columbia could be clueless enough to call shutting down other people’s speech “fundamentally a part of free speech”. No, you cretin, you weren’t exercising your free speech, you were violating someone else’s. You were exercising the heckler’s veto, one of the most corrosive anti-free speech weapons there is. And mark my words, Columbia won’t do a thing about it. Not a single student will be disciplined for their actions. And at a university, of all places, they ought to know better.
Ironically, the only sensible person in the whole thing appears to be a group of Hispanic students:
“We don’t condone the actions of members on either side. Either people on stage who were holding up signs, or people who felt that their speaker was being threatened by people holding signs,” said Adhemir Romero, CC ’07 and president of the Chicano Caucus.
Romero released a statement late Wednesdy from the executive board of the Caucus. “We feel that it is important to discuss and bring to light important issues concerning immigration, though they should be done in a peaceful manner,” it said. “While we do not agree with Mr. Gilchrist and his organization’s views, we respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech and regret that his opinion was not heard.”
The voice of reason, in any language.