Art Vandelay wrote:One of the current trends in American politics that bothers me a lot is people who disagree with what somebody is saying trying to shut them up rather than debate them. It's not a partisan issue, there are as many Liberals trying to shut up Conservatives as vice versa, but I hate to see it.
This is a little different, because apparently he's getting fired for acedemic misconduct, but I remember when Churchill first made the news, people were saying he had to be fired, had to be shut up, that he shouldn't be allowed to speak on campuses. People showed up to events he was scheduled to speak at and shouted him down so he couldn't get a word in. It's ridiculous, if you disagree with someone, debate them, don't try to silence them. If your view is correct then it will win out.
I'll agree with you that showing up to shout someone down and not allow him to speak isn't right...if people want to listen to this drivel that's their business and no one should stand in the way of that.
However the university has an image to uphold. Whether keeping him on in the interest of promoting an image of supporting speech no matter how offensive or firing him in the interest of showing they don't support his point of view that decision should be up to the university. The right to freedom of speech doesn't protect you from being fired from your job - it protects you from being incarcerated for your beliefs and your speech.
Now, given the tenure rules at most universities they probably couldn't have fired him even if they wanted to fire him based on his speech alone but that's not a matter of free speech...that's simply contract law.