by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef’s latest Forbes column shares the story of a campus newspaper battling silliness at the University of California-San Diego.
… [T]he silly notion that students needed “safe spaces” on campus where they could go to escape the trauma of controversial ideas sprouted in 2015. A great many students and administrators took the idea seriously. What could be more important than for college students to feel safe? In an era when feelings trump reality, who could be so crass as to poke fun at this idea?
Well, the student writers at The Koala could. They suggested that what the university really needed was an Unsafe Space. …
Naughty Koala! You don’t mock progressives and get away with it.
Shortly after the “Unsafe Space” piece was published, the UCSD student government enacted a so-called “Media Act.” It defunded all student media groups and although not explicitly aimed at The Koala, it was obviously meant to silence its dissident (even if only satirical) voice.
If we have learned anything about “progressive” students and administrators over the last few years, it is that they can’t take a joke. Nothing is funny if it’s aimed at their political or sociological beliefs. Filmmaker Ted Balaker has made that point in his documentary “Can We Take a Joke?” which he recently wrote about for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.
A question that probably never crossed the minds of the student government officers in their zeal to retaliate against a group that offended their political sensibilities was whether a government-run university can get away with such conduct. But that question did occur to the students behind The Koala, who filed suit in federal district court against the chancellor of UCSD, Pradeep Khosla for violating their rights under the First Amendment.