At Ohio State University, the Students Want Wrongthink Punished

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The freedom of speech comes with the freedom of other people to read or listen to, or not read or listen to, what you have said. The freedom of speech also comes with the assumed risk that those who do read or listen to your words can and just might criticize what you have written or said.

It seems, however, at least at Ohio State University, it also comes with the risk that you might be reported to the authorities.

OSU Student Faces Criticism For Saying Black People Are Superior: ‘I Full-Heartedly Believe That’

Danteé Ramos | Earthy Day, April 22, 2022 | 4:04 PM EDT

An Ohio State University (OSU) student leader is facing criticism after saying that he’d “love” to live in a world if “Black people were taught that they are superior.”

According to OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern, On March 23, John Fuller, a junior, who was a member of the Ohio State University Undergraduate Student Government General Assembly at the time of the meeting, made comments while proposing resolutions targeting all anti-critical race theory legislation to the General Assembly.

“By taking away the teaching of one race as superior to another, that is inherently white supremacy because white people learn from birth that they are superior. There is nothing that they need to be taught in school that tells them that,” Fuller said.

“I just wanted to say that and make this very clear, the only people who are taught that they are superior to another race are White people,” Fuller said. “And I would absolutely love to live in a world where Black people were taught that they are superior.”

He added that he “full-heartedly” believes that Black people are superior.

OSU’s Undergraduate Student Government President, Jacob Chang, told the student newspaper The Lantern that Fuller’s comments were “diverging from our values.”

So, Mr Fuller was criticized for saying out loud that he “full-heartedly” believes that black people are superior. That is the risk he takes by speaking in public, and the freedom of speech of others to criticize what he said certainly exists. But then comes the money line in the story:

“The comments made during the General Assembly session is fundamentally, like, diverging from our values as the student government of Ohio State,” Chang said. “Therefore, it is our responsibility to report a case like this. I think we need to stand in solidarity with all people of color and anyone who suffers from racism, but we need to do it from a space that is unilaterally empowering everyone around them instead of like single out one group.”

OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern, reported that after Mr Fuller made his comments, the Speaker of the student General Assembly dismissed him, and that members of the Assembly forwarded video and audio of his comments to the university’s Office of Institutional Equity.

They did? Apparently members of the Assembly believed that Mr Fuller’s comments ought not only to be disapproved, but punished as well. From The Lantern:

The resolution condemning all anti-critical race theory passed in the General Assembly, Chang said. The resolution is crucial to ensure that critical race theory is taught at public universities, but the way Fuller made it about “empowerment and another form of like supremacy” that was “inherently racist,” he said.

Chang said the next step is to hope the university takes action on the case against Fuller.

“No matter what race you are from, what background you are from, you cannot say stuff like that,” Chang said.

If you yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and that yell leads to a crushing stampede to the exits, in which people are injured, you can be held legally liable. But Mr Chang and at least some members of the student government want to see Mr Fuller somehow punished for making a statement of which they disapproved which injured no one, unless perhaps it was someone’s precious little feelings. More accurately, they would like to see Mr Fuller punished somehow for “full-heartedly” believing that black people are superior to other races.

What might such punishment entail? Neither article tells us, but it isn’t difficult to speculate. Mandatory ‘re-education’ classes to reform his beliefs? A forced statement that he doesn’t really believe what he said? Could it even lead to academic probation, suspension or expulsion? We just don’t know, but the fact that the student government wants Mr Fuller punished somehow for what he believes and said he believes is chilling. Ohio State is a public university, which would mean that the state would be taking action against a student for exercising his freedom of speech.

3 thoughts on “At Ohio State University, the Students Want Wrongthink Punished”

  1. It is already a problem that there even exists an extra-legal (as in outside the legal system) process for the punishment of (Constitutionally protected) speech in a public institution.

    To me, it becomes a much more difficult question if the institution is a private institution. Then it becomes “when can my Constitutional rights be subordinated to your Constitutional rights?”

    • If this was a private school, it would not be a First Amendment issue: the First Amendment restricts the government, not private individuals and institutions.

      The real punishment should be on Ohio State if the school does anything other than round file the complaint. The most appropriate punishment would be losing all of the8ir football games!

      • Fair enough! I (mistakenly) tend to think the Constitution establishes us as having some rights, not that the government is prevented from interfering with some rights that others might, or might not, allow us to have.

        I have to periodically re-read the Constitution to remind myself what it does and does not say.

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