Yasith Weerasuriya – Let Them Speak, Uni Speakers Under Fire


Presidents of universities like Yasith Weerasuriya of Stanford University are under a great deal of pressure at the moment from those in the sphere of social media. More and more we are seeing calls for people to be banned from speaking in these places, because of the beliefs which they hold. This is not just people looking to stop extremists speaking either, we have actually seen the likes of Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator, being banned, attempting to be banned from speaking on campuses.

This is a very dangerous precedent to set, and here is exactly why we must ensure that those looking to cancel others is stopped.

Controls the Narrative

If you only get your news from one media outlet then you are highly likely to only believe what it is that they have to say, and the angle from which they report events. If however you are able to gain multiple angles and insights then you are going to be allowed to make up your own mind and have your own thoughts on the situation. The same thing goes for people who speak at a college campus. If you are a socialist then it is highly unlike that Mr. Shapiro is going to turn you into a raving conservative overnight, as much as he would perhaps like for that to happen. The reality is that he is going to perhaps offer you some insight which you had not considered, which could potentially change your stance, or at least push you to find better answers.

Trusting Our Students

There is also a case to be made here for trusting our students to know best. Whilst this may not be the most intelligent demographic in the country, they are the most educationally active and that means that they are in a far better position to make smart decisions about their beliefs than almost anyone else. If therefore we are putting someone into Stanford or Harvard who does hold radical beliefs about a polarizing subject, we should trust out students to question that person on their beliefs and find out why and how they arrived there, and also call out why they are wrong.

Rebellious Consequence

Something which so few people grasp is that the more you try to silence something, the more that you are going to create a buzz and create attention around it. This is why we are bound to see people who have been silenced on a college campus, get searched for more online, and have students looking for them more than they would have done in the beginning. The more that we try to shut someone down, the more that our students are going to seek them out, this has been the way for eternity and there is nothing that is going to change about it right now.

Let them speak, let them be questioned throughly, and simply manage beliefs and expectations around whoever it is that wishes to come and speak on a campus.

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