Posted on February 9, 2018

At American Universities, Democracy Dies in Enforced Silence

Spencer Brown, The Hill, February 9, 2018


What is unfair is Berkeley’s treatment of students who aren’t in lockstep with the university’s ideological line. Berkeley’s unwritten and unconstitutional “high-profile speaker policy” was applied exclusively to block conservative speakers hosted by conservative students. Berkeley’s subsequent unconstitutional “major events policy” was used solely in attempts to stifle conservative events. As the Justice Department points out in its Statement of Interest:

“Both Policies suffer from the same constitutional defect: they grant University administrators unbridled discretion to decide when, how, and against whom to apply the Policies.”

Neither conservative students at Berkeley, nor Young America’s Foundation (YAF), are seeking special treatment. We’re seeking the protections guaranteed in the Constitution to ensure fairness of opportunity to advance the foundational values of a limited government, free market enterprise, and a strong national defense.

In a recent editorial calling our case against Berkeley “deeply unfair,” The Washington Post opines that:

“The Justice Department filed a statement in San Francisco federal court urging the judge to reject Berkeley’s motion to dismiss it — no doubt pleasing those on the right, President Trump included, who love to hate Berkeley.”

This attempt to stereotype conservatives as haters proves our critics haven’t looked beyond their own prejudices. {snip}

{snip} We’ve taken significant risks (including the risk of violence carried out by Antifa thugs and other radical leftists) to support the free speech rights of Berkeley students and help them succeed.

Berkeley’s anti-conservative bias is emblematic of a national problem, one that we’ve seen escalate through this academic year:


Young America’s Foundation is holding Berkeley accountable. Students, both conservative and liberal, almost never get a chance to hear from a conservative speaker in class, so the university’s sub rosa censorship of speaker sponsorships by student groups deals a double blow to equality and liberty on campus for those who seek to hear our speakers.


It may be true that “democracy dies in darkness,” to quote the paper’s new slogan, but democracy also dies in enforced silence.