Several years ago, I saw a cartoon that went something like this: a liberal college administrator tells a conservative speaker that his event is being canceled because there have been threats of violence. The conservative asks, who are the threats coming from? and the liberal administrator answers, “Us.”
This is, in fact, one of the Left’s favorite ploys to shut down conservative speech. It happened at Florida’s New College last week. As we wrote here, New College of Florida is a tiny, failing far-left public school that Governor DeSantis has set out to save by appointing Christopher Rufo and other conservatives to the school’s board of trustees, with a view toward making New College the “Hillsdale of the South.” You can imagine how the college’s far-left administrators and faculty feel about that.
So Chris Rufo and other conservative trustees scheduled an open meeting at New College:
I'll be hosting a town hall at New College this Wednesday at 1:30pm in Sainer Pavilion. The event is open to the public, including students, media, and protestors.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 23, 2023
A meeting open to all is anathema to the Left, so the inevitable death threats followed. The Federalist has the story, via InstaPundit. The climactic moment came when New College’s Provost, Suzanne Sherman, demanded that the event be shut down and encouraged students not to attend. The excuse was a “credible” death threat against conservative trustee Eddie Speir, who of course wanted to go forward. Rufo has the tape:
Behind-the-scenes: the provost and president of New College attempted to shut down our conversation with faculty and students, citing a threat against Trustee Eddie Speir. But Speir and I insisted that we continue with the program—and establish a new standard for open discourse. pic.twitter.com/XW23nimZM9
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 28, 2023
The open meeting went forward, and needless to say, no one was murdered. If an anonymous threatening email is enough to shut down any public event, then our public life will speedily grind to a halt at the hands of liberals. Kudos to Chris Rufo and his fellow trustees, and to Ron DeSantis for appointing them. This incident is a reminder of how little courage it actually takes to confront and defeat the forces of intolerance.
UPDATE: A friend writes:
We are here in the Free State as I write. The funniest thing about the New College nonsense is the student who was quoted as saying that DeSantis wanted to turn the university into a place for “extremist indoctrination”. No comment needed on the cluelessness.