For journalists with only passing familiarity with Turkey’s internal workings, noting that the country is deeply divided by the debate of religion versus secularism has become as tired and worn-out as travel writers noting that Istanbul sits at the “crossroad of cultures” between Europe and Asia. But “the Taksim excursion park protests cut across the clichéd secularist-Islamist divide that dominates the Western image of Turkish politics,” said Asli Bali, an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Law, in a statement released June 3. “They give voice to widespread frustrations with the prime minister’s arrogant and dismissive treatment of all forms of dissent.”
In a study of 392 campus speech codes last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where I work, found that 65 percent of the colleges had policies that in our view violated the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to free speech.
Take from those numbers what you will — universities are home to either smart, enlivened debate or misguided enthusiasm — but Lukianoff’s op-ed piece is worth a read. In the framing of his piece, university life looks a bit like micro-life. Which is what it should be but usually isn’t.
See one of his examples:
Civility is nice, but on college campuses it often takes on a bizarre meaning. In 2009, Yale banned students from making a T-shirt with an F. Scott Fitzgerald quotation — “I think of all Harvard men as sissies,” from his 1920 novel “This Side of Paradise” — to mock Harvard at their annual football game. The T-shirt was blocked after some gay and lesbian students argued that “sissies” amounted to a homophobic slur. “What purports to be humor by targeting a group through slurs is not acceptable,” said Mary Miller, a professor of art history and the dean of Yale College.