If I were a student at Northeastern Illinois University

I would be elated that Northeastern Illinois University President Gloria Gibson didn't cave into the autocrats who demanded that the school cancel a panel discussion with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

But I would be furious that some Northeastern Illinois University students, faculty and alumni have set themselves up as some kind of curia, to filter what can enter my mind.

Who the hell do they think they are? They think they have the right

Dr. Gloria Gibson, president of Northeastern Illinois University

Dr. Gloria Gibson, president of Northeastern Illinois University

to void my right to benefit from the education that I, and other taxpayers, are paying for. Who appointed them to chose what is suitable for me to hear and see? What arrogance.

These people are autocrats. They are the modern-day Index librorum prohibitorum, the list of prohibited books that Catholic censors deemed heretical or contrary to morality. You needed permission to read them.

In their letter to Gibson, they said that, “It would be an affront to humanity to host Spicer at NEIU,” and that Spicer is not acceptable choice for a university that is supposed to be a safe space for the "undocumented" (read: illegal) immigrants enrolled there.

NEIU is a public university, and as such it is prohibited by law and caselaw from engaging in this kind of censorship. Spicer's views are not outside the bounds of legitimate political discourse, as much as you might disagree with them. To rule him and his views as out of bounds of political discussion in effect is an effort to silence the 63 million American citizens who voted for Donald Trump.

Speaking of safe spaces, these autocrats are trying to turn the Northeastern Illinois University campus into an unsafe space for a university's true purpose. That is a bigger offense than hurting someone's feelings.

dennis@dennisbyrne.net

www.dennisbyrne.net 

My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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