Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Hammers, broken windows and fights. That’s what a safe space for free speech looked like at UC Davis.
Safe spaces are places where everyone who isn’t a safe space fascist feels unsafe. The more safe spaces a campus has, the less freedom of speech the students and faculty dare to enjoy.
UC Davis has a great many safe spaces.
The University of California institution has safe spaces for illegal aliens (the Undocumented Student Center) and for asexuals (the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center) which hosted a “Tampon Tea Party.” It has segregated safe space housing in Campbell Hall for black students and the Women's Resources and Research Center will provide safe spaces and “Mind Spa Services” for anyone offended by Christian views on abortion.
But all the safe spaces were about making life unsafe for everyone who wasn’t a left-wing fascist.
A visit to UC Davis is a descent into an Orwellian dystopia obsessed with controlling everything with “resource centers” providing ready resources for censorship.
The LGBTQIA Resource Center’s posters warn students against saying, “You guys”. The Women's Resources and Research Center responded to a pro-life student event with “Report Hate and Bias” cards and attempts to prevent pro-life flyers from being distributed. The "leaders of the African Diaspora on the UC Davis campus" demanded a policy "targeting anti-blackness." SJP and MSA did its own share of terrorizing Jewish students and silencing speakers while maintaining a safe space for their brand of hate.
UC Davis was named one of the top ten anti-Semitic universities in the country. It ran the board in all four categories. Disruptions of pro-Israel speakers and chants in support of terrorism are routine. Pro-Israel students said that the administration was too afraid to stand up to the anti-Semitic fascists.
When Trump won, it really all came apart. Crowds of marchers chanted, “F___ Trump.” The UC Davis riots were part of a frightening phenomenon. The phenomenon struck again when Milo Yiannopoulos and Martin Shkreli tried to speak on campus. The “Dangerous Faggot Tour" event ended with fights, at least one arrest, thrown hot coffee, allegedly smashed windows and wielded hammers, and, eventually, a canceled event courtesy of the heckler’s veto.
Instead of addressing the atmosphere of politically correct intolerance, UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter spoke in generalities. Before the event, he had released a letter stating, “As a public university, we remain true to our obligation to uphold everyone’s First Amendment freedoms.”
But UC Davis neglected that obligation when it gave in to the safe space censorship of left-wing fascism.
Hexter’s predecessor, Chanchellor Katehi, had been forced out in no small part by protests that included an “occupation” of her office. Hexter had been hounded out of Hampshire College by student protests. Despite being among the founding members of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, he was accused of racism. Hampshire’s attempts to appear that it was divesting and wasn’t divesting from Israel didn’t save Hexter then. His current efforts to have it both ways at UC Davis, calling freedom of speech a “treasure” while administrators intimidate College Republicans into cancelling won’t work either.
Appeasing fascists never works.
UC Davis administrators had intimidated UC Davis College Republicans into canceling the event by warning them that they would be held responsible for the actions of the protesters. And then issued statements regretting the loss of free speech. But there’s no doubt whom UC Davis brass fear more.
Shifting the cost of protests to the event organizers is becoming ubiquitous at UC schools. UC Berkeley is attempting to shift the cost of security for a “Dangerous Faggot Tour” appearance to the student sponsors. While UC Berkeley claims that the fee is not “content-based”, the heckler’s veto allows the left to shut down events by a combination of student protests and administration security fees.
Unlike NYU and DePaul, the University of California can’t move forward with an outright ban. But “fee bans” worked at Iowa State and North Dakota State. With the UC Santa Barbara event canceled, that leaves UC Berkeley. University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce had consulted the Attorney General to find grounds to ban the tour while warning, in a message to left-wing students, that the College Republicans would be “responsible for expenses, including any security costs.”
The message was none too subtle.
By contrast NYU had no problem when its Students for Justice in Palestine brought Max Blumenthal in to speak. Blumenthal’s attacks on Israel had been cited by the Kansas Jewish Community Center gunman and his book had blatantly anti-Semitic titles such as “How To Kill Goyim And Influence People.”
At NYU, Blumenthal had taunted Jewish students in an “explicitly anti-Semitic” fashion, telling them that if they didn’t like his hate, they could go “to a Hillel house on campus, with 24-hour G4S security.”
Blumenthal had appeared at NYU and DePaul. He had suggested that anti-Semitic hate crimes at UC Davis served the “goals” of Jewish students. There were no bans or even official condemnations.
There is always a safe space on campus for left-wing bigotry.
"It’s arguably now politically correct to be politically incorrect,” Jerry Kang, UCLA vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, whined. But the responses by Kang, and others, show that is a lie.
Kang had played a key role in harassing Milan Chatterjee, president of UCLA's Graduate Students Association, into leaving the school over charges that he had rejected anti-Semitism from SJP. He had attacked the Freedom Center for standing up to Islamic terrorists. But UCLA quickly removed the Center’s posters denouncing Kang. At UCLA, political correctness is still politically correct.
And dissent must be swiftly condemned.
Safe space culture is just another term for fascism. Hitler and Mussolini sought to create safe spaces in which only their views could be heard. Safe spaces aren’t therapeutic. They’re not the outcry of the oppressed. Instead they are sanctuary spaces for fascism.
Fascism begins with claims of oppression. The Nazis insisted that they were the victims. So did all their allies. But everyone can be a victim in their own narrative and victimhood provides unlimited license for abuses. It is not victimhood, but its rejection, that makes us strong and free.
College administrators have turned over campuses to weeping thugs and social justice crybullies who screech about their pain even as they smash windows and wield hammers against their opponents.
And free speech has been replaced with fascism.
Free speech, like all our freedoms, cannot be taken for granted. Instead every generation has to fight for its right to free speech.