Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida, and Glenn C. Altschuler, a professor of American studies at Cornell, suggest ways universities can respond to campus visits by hate groups in a commentary on the Opinion page of The Wall Street Journal.
"Although we are strong advocates of free speech, we believe the complex issue of unfettered access to the campuses of public universities should be re-evaluated," they write. "Public universities that choose to grant access to speakers who are not invited or affiliated with the institution are legally obligated to accept all such speakers.
"As a result, they may become hostage to Nazis or other extremists—forced to stand by as these groups capitalize on their university’s visibility and prestige to amplify their vile messages."
The authors also suggest several approaches to covering the "enormous security costs associated with extremist hate speakers."
"We call on every public institution to commit to understanding their current policies and relevant laws, debating alternatives, and coming to fresh decisions about how to move forward."
Fuchs and Altschuler also call on universities to "expand the discussion beyond their walls into a national conversation about what truly defines free speech in the U. S."
"Mr. Spencer and his ilk have been able to dominate the conversation about free speech to date," they write. "We can, and we must take it back."
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