This article first appeared in Times of Israel.
University of California President Janet Napolitano, who oversees an institution where free speech has disappeared, has announced the establishment of a center dedicated to the study of free speech. The center will be in Washington DC.
Talk about complicating what should be a very simple issue. UC is now establishing an entire center to something that is simple enough to cover in one ten-week course, if not a two-hour class session. At least UC has ample anecdotal material in the form of its own history of disruptions of speech. From shutting down appearances by Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley to disruptions of pro-Israel events at Irvine, UC leads the nation in disruptions of conservative and pro-Israel speakers. At UC Santa Cruz, which I consider "America's wackiest university", they have an entire major called Community Studies, which teaches the little rascals how to organize and protest on behalf of "social justice".
I also view the appointments of UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman and UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky as being highly questionable. At UC Irvine, Chancellor Gillman has allowed groups like Students for Justice in Palestine to ride roughshod repeatedly over the free speech rights of pro-Israel students and speakers with virtually no punishment. Meanwhile, while Chemerinsky was dean of the UC Irvine law school, he allowed representatives of his school (aligned with the Marxist National Lawyers Guild) to act as "legal observers" riding shotgun along with the SJP hooligans to make sure their own "rights" to disrupt were being protected.
Odd choices indeed.
And how fitting that is all overseen by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano. As head of DHS, she did nothing to protect our borders. As head of the UC system, she is more concerned about protecting the rights of students who are in the country illegally than protecting the free speech of those who might not agree.
And why establish this center in Washington DC? The need (if they are really going to defend free speech, which is doubtful) is on the UC campuses. It is UC students who need to be reminded of that quaint little historical footnote we call the First Amendment. Then again, if it is just going to be the usual, politically correct pablum and naval gazing, maybe the nation's capital is the right place for it. Either way, this is just another colossal waste of money by the University of California-which is nothing new.