Two members of the student government at Bowdoin College faced impeachment proceedings for committing an “act of ethnic stereotyping” because they attended a party where some guests wore tiny sombreros. It’s the kind of story that will make you want to reach for the tequila. But it’s also one that is unfortunately all too common on today’s college campuses.
Freshmen would be well-served to watch Volokh Conspiracy blogger Eugene Volokh’s new video below on the importance of free expression. “Even if you know that you’re in the right and you know that your opponents are wrong… and bigoted, sometimes the experience of talking and debating this with them will help you better understand your own position,” says Volokh.
He states that healthy debates on college campuses require three things: first, legal protection for speech; second, a level of social tolerance; and third, some amount of politeness. Unfortunately, many of these prerequisites for healthy and free expression are missing from college campuses these days.
Colleges should work to foster these factors so that students can openly and freely share their views and discuss ideas that lead to prosperity and peace within our society. Students who are exposed to an entire spectrum of opinions, some more radical than others, will be able to learn and develop their own opinions based on a fuller understanding of the subject rather than just socially accepted viewpoints.
If nothing else they will allow students to enjoy theme parties!