Reminiscent of the move to cancel a speaking engagement by Ann Coulter after the president of Fordham University blasted her for being “hateful and needlessly provative,” the all-female Scripps College has rescinded their invitation to conservative columnist George Will for a lecture series exposing students to a conservative point of view. The decision was based on an offensive and controversial Washington Post column Will penned where he said he believes that victims of sexual assault hold a coveted status of privilege.
It should come as no surprise that the conservative reaction is outrage.
Will had been invited to the women’s liberal arts college to represent the conservative voice in the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program – a program designed to introduce students to varying opinions – “especially opinions with which we may not agree, or think we do not agree.”
Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga argues that this is not a conservative or a liberal issue and it is one thing to expose students to “strong conservative viewpoints,” and it is another thing to allow someone who believes that rape victims possess “a coveted status that confers privilege.”
“Sexual assault is not a conservative or liberal issue,” Bettison-Varga wrote. “And it is too important to be trivialized in a political debate or wrapped into a celebrity controversy. For that reason, after Mr. Will authored a column questioning the validity of a specific sexual assault case that reflects similar experiences reported by Scripps students, we decided not to finalize the speaker agreement.”
Cue the hypocritical conservative [p]outrage.
Ed Morrissey of the aptly named site, Hot Air, wrote that Will’s invitation was revoked because he “criticized the expansion of the term ‘sexual assault’ to a nearly meaningless definition, and the demand by the White House for colleges to use a minimal standard of evidence to ‘convict’ the accused.
National Review’s Charles Cook chimed in and wrote:
“By disinviting Will, the program’s custodians have telegraphed their true assumptions: namely, that students will gain a “better educational experience” if they are subjected to only those other “opinions about the world” that can be squared with the existing curriculum. This being a matter of private choice and not public law, Scripps’s faculty can of course do as it wishes. But it would be nice if, for once, those who made the call realized what they were doing.”
Eric Boehlert of Media Matters provided a different angle on the topic and tweeted:
funny how conservatives hates the free marketplace when it rejects people like George Will; http://t.co/dKqmdV4ot7
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) October 8, 2014