• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 6 comments on Trump’s Free Speech Order Directs Colleges to Do What They Already Have to Do

  1. Wow. I find it hard to reconcile the following two statements:

    “Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, which BU belongs to, calls the order “a solution in search of a problem”.”

    “…according to a 2017 survey, is the belief among one fifth of undergraduates that it’s OK to use violence to silence a speaker who is “known for making offensive and hurtful statements.”

    If 20% of students believe it is OK to address opinions with which they don’t agree with violence, I don’t think Ms. Coleman needs to keep searching. That’s a PROBLEM.

  2. Rich Barlow – Thank you and BU for recognizing that this is a problem. Those with conservative viewpoints are not comfortable sharing their views in class or on campus at BU and have experienced teachers pushing their political viewpoints. Jeff Leavitt – good points.

  3. People, people, people. Dig deeper. It has nothing to do with free speech. It has everything to do with the control over
    universities. It feels to me like Trump strategists are graduated from Putin-GRU university, they play a long game, count ten moves ahead, but everyone on the American Internet reacts only to the first one. Here is the game. Place the right people in the right agencies. Who will be making a decision if a given university violates free speech? Those right people. And of course, all of the sudden, those universities that most critical to Trump administration, NRA, etc. are guilty of their actions against free speech. Who can say the opposite? It’s classical “he said she said”. And here it is – a money-lever to manipulate with the actual free speech. Americans really need to learn how to see the real purpose of actions, not just what above the surface. But that requires special training. http://www.cognisity.how/2017/04/USSRvUSA.html

  4. Thanks for the article, Rich, and for the comments. It is vital for our mission as faculty and administrators at BU to understand what’s at stake and to respond appropriately. President Brown, Provost Morrison, and Dean of Students Kenn Elmore are taking the issue seriously, which is great. Here’s what I think. The university is a mirror of society. Like the rest of society, our community is deeply engaged in the political issues of the day. When it comes to politics and political views, there is no privileged opinion, nor should there be. The university can provide a safe space for people to voice their views without being attacked. To provide such a safe space, the university must place restrictions, not on the views but on the manner of expression. We cannot tolerate violent forms of speech. Hence there is no absolute freedom of expression. Not on campus. As to what our real mission is, and what we can and must do when it comes to freedom of thought, please see the linked open letter to Pres. Trump.

    1. Michael,
      Thank you for articulating what I was thinking. Freedom of Speech is just one of our many liberties in this free country, we need not regulate it. HOWEVER, the expression in which one demonstrates while exercising the 1st Amendment is most of utmost importance. I think healthy debates from the left, middle, right or wherever you place yourself, is so important and lends itself to greater understanding of your fellow man. Speak on… Respectfully! TGIF!

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