The editorial staff of Wellesley College’s student newspaper recently wrote that anyone who dares utter a politically incorrect thought should be met with “hostility.”
The editorial started out as an explainer about why there’s not a free speech problem on their campus and that their reputation as “house flowers who cannot exist in the real world” is entirely unfair. Then things get weirder. The student editors say it’s fine to suppress and deny people the right to speak their minds if their thoughts offend others.
“We have all said problematic claims,” the editorial reads. “Luckily most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way.”
If that doesn’t sound like it was ripped from a dystopian novel, what comes next is truly Orwellian: “If people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted.” In other words, if you say things some people find offensive, then there will be physical consequences.
In late March, six professors at the liberal arts college asked the school to rescind invitations to controversial speakers because they worried the invited speakers’ ideas might upset some of the students.
“There is no doubt that the speakers in question impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley,” the professors wrote in an email.
This weird interpretation of free speech — that saying offensive or politically incorrect things deprives others of rights — is not exclusive to the faculty. Here’s how the student editorial staff describes the objective of free speech: “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.”
The newspaper has since hidden the editorial behind a login page. It’s unclear if the editorial was masked by this landing page in an effort to shield it from further public scrutiny, or if this is in response to a overload of traffic.
But you can read most of the juicy bits in the screen grab below.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) April 14, 2017
Calls to the Wellesley College news desk went unreturned.