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Cancel culture has never been more out of control

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Since much contemporary American discourse seems not to understand what “censorship” means, here’s an actual example:

In Idaho, a public university abruptly cancelled dozens of diversity-related classes as lawmakers advanced a budget cutting funding, threatened further cuts, and added provisions barring Idaho universities from using state funding to support “social justice” activities, clubs, events, or organizations.

The cancellation of the classes comes after more than a year of lawmakers’ efforts to rein in classes at Idaho universities and colleges. As one legislator explained last March, the goal was to “stop rubber-stamping these budgets” and instead threaten the universities’ funding as a way to “send the message that we do have a say on what is taught.”

This year, they are following through. The course cancellation followed the state’s joint budget committee cut of $409,000 from Boise State University’s budget and efforts to cut between $2,500,000 and $18,000,000 that goes to “social justice programming and critical race theory.” (The latter effort, which would have asked the legislature to return the budget to the committee, did not succeed, as the State Senate adopted the committee’s budget — the day after the courses were cancelled.)

In addition to the $409,000 cut — which one lawmaker said “borders on censorship” — the budget problematically includes language barring any state university or college from using “appropriated funds” to “support social justice ideology student activities, clubs, events and organizations on campus.” This provision, which is likely unconstitutional, is a classic example of a law that would require the institutions to withhold funds from student organizations based on their viewpoints in direct contradiction to long standing precedents set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States. (For similar efforts, see our analysis of a proposal in New York to bar funding to student organizations that permit “hate speech.”) 

Additionally, each Idaho state university is required to “submit a written report of its expenditures related to these activities,” and the State Board of Education is directed to “evaluate” the use of student activity fees for “activities, clubs and organizations focused on individual beliefs and values” in light of “the need for access, affordability, and choice.” 

I can’t wait for Glenn, Bari and Sully to write extended denunciations of this state attack on free speech on their ShakeShacks.

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