In 1982, student agitators protesting U.S. policy in Central America silenced Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Minnesota. Smith College told her that it could not assure her safety during a commencement address, so that address was cancelled too.
Business as usual, you may be thinking.
In fact, the reaction of campus administrators, and even of students themselves, to these shutdowns seems to come from a different world.
The chancellor of the University of California announced his embarrassment that his university had 'succumbed to mob rule.' That university's Board of Regents demanded that an apology be sent to Kirkpatrick. Even the group that organized the Berkeley protest, Students Against Intervention in El Salvador, admitted that the heckling had gone too far.
The group had no intent, it said, to curtail the speech of 'those who disagree with us.'
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Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of The War on Cops.
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