Yale campus yields 50 signatures to repeal First Amendment, satirist says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/12/18/yale-campus-yields-50-signatures-to-repeal-first-amendment-satirist-says/

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A satirist went to Yale University recently to stage what may be a revealing spoof on campus, posing as an activist and asking passersby to sign a petition to repeal the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – more than 50 did.

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz appears in a video approaching people and asking them if they would sign the petition to repeal the part of the country’s founding document that guarantees freedom of expression, the press, assembly and religion.

“I think this is fantastic,” one young man tells Horowitz in the video. “I absolutely agree.”

More than 50 “members of the Yale community” signed the petition in less than an hour, Hororwitz said in the video. He can be heard discussing with potential petition signers that “you shouldn’t be exposed to things you don’t want to hear,” and “making fun of people is not cool,” and “micro-aggression should not be protected.”

“What we’re calling for is to repeal the First Amendment,” he tells people in encouraging them to sign up.

He precedes the short clip with this message: “Warning: The following video may not be a safe space for all viewers.” It also includes images of a University of Missouri media professor shooing away reporters from part of the public campus where students had gathered to create what they called a “safe space,” and when one reporter wouldn’t leave, calling for some muscle to get rid of him.

“I decided to take this campus free speech debate to its logical conclusion,” Horowitz told Fox News. “The result was this unbelievable display of total stupidity.”

But there’s no way to tell if the people who seem to be agreeing with him really are Yale students or what communities they may be connected with, and he doesn’t show what the “petition” actually says.

Some critics are already blasting it as a bit of propaganda: “Does no one watch these things with a grain (or shaker) of salt anymore?” asks Joe Patrice on the Above the Law blog.

Yet with campuses in upheaval from Boston to California over things like “safe spaces” and centuries-old connections to benefactors of dubious moral character, as at Harvard Law School, it’s easy to believe what Horowitz presents as an accurate reflection of the reception he got for the idea of ending one of America’s most basic rights.

The controversy reared up at Yale after Erika Christakis, an associate master at the school’s Silliman College residence, sparked protests after she sent an email defending the right of students to wear any sort of Halloween costume they chose, as a matter of free expression. Following the uproar, she gave up her teaching duties citing the hostile climate toward free discourse. Activist students are demanding her removal as a college master, along with her husband, Nicholas, who defended her – and the Constitution.