Over the last thirty years, American universities have steadily abandoned their liberal ideals and become one-party states, where conservatives and their ideas are treated as alien intruders. Conservative faculty members at schools like UC Santa Cruz are as rare as unicorns. Entire academic disciplines, like Santa Cruz’s Feminist Studies Department, are openly designed as indoctrination programs in the ideologies of the left, with no pretense of examining a range of ideas in a scholarly manner. Required reading lists throughout the liberal arts curriculum have been cleansed of books by conservative authors. And over the last twenty years even visits by conservative speakers unconnected to the university have become contested occasions where leftwing activists obstruct, slander, and attempt to disrupt the visitor’s’ efforts to present a conservative point of view. This is a national disgrace – an offense to the very idea of education in a democracy like ours. But it is tacitly supported by the university itself.
The administration at UC Santa Cruz has adopted a policy for visiting speakers that washes its hands of any responsibility for what happens to visiting speakers to its campus. The policy frees the university from any responsibility to insure that there is the kind of civility that is essential to a scholarly discussion of dissenting ideas. Visiting speakers are now required to sign a “waiver” that frees UC Santa Cruz of any responsibility for harm that might come to them, even if that harm is caused by “negligence” on the part of the university. Since conservatives have been the targets of virtually all the protests and violence against visiting speakers, while leftists have been the disrupters responsible, this waiver is in practice the university’s decision to join the left’s hostile treatment of conservative voices, and its general attack on free speech.
The Santa Cruz Republicans have honored me with an invitation to speak on campus, June 6, 2018. I am 79 years old, am handicapped, and have been threatened and/or physically attacked by leftist students on several campuses where I was invited to speak. I am not going to collude in the decision by UC Santa Cruz to wash its hands of responsibility for what happens to conservative speakers like me on its campus. This is a betrayal of its duty as a public institution to protect free speech and intellectual diversity and I am not going to be a party to that. I therefore regretfully will not be speaking at the university on June 6.