SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A recent groundswell of protests on college campuses over race, sexual misconduct and other social issues has some civil libertarians worried that the prized principle of free speech could be sacrificed in the rush to address legitimate student grievances.
The potential conflict between civil rights and the First Amendment was on display at the University of Missouri in Columbia last week when students forced the resignation of the system president over racial incidents and other problems. Their campaign drew widespread support but also complaints that some actions went too far, infringing freedom of the press and expression.
Free speech advocates said the Missouri case highlights a trend of university officials and students being overly-sensitive. Student activists say they are getting more aggressive because administrators are ignoring their concerns.