Arguments over free speech on campus are not left v right

The cisheteropatriarchy at rest

FRESHMEN crowded the lecture hall at 9am for Humanities 110, the first class of their college careers. Elizabeth Drumm, the head of the programme, made some introductory remarks, her voice quavering. As some faculty members moved to take their places at a panel discussion, three demonstrators emerged from the wings of the auditorium. “We’re protesting Hum 110 because it’s Eurocentric,” one began. “I’m sorry, this is a classroom space and this is not appropriate,” Ms Drumm said, immediately cancelling the lecture. Thus began another academic year at Reed College, a liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon.

Last academic year, a dozen or so students continuously occupied the three-day-a-week lecture series by sitting in front of the auditorium with cardboard signs, sometimes taping their mouths in protest at the absence of non-white voices in the syllabus. One even took to lecturing the freshman class on the podium from an...

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