Op-Ed: When a Berkeley Law debate on free speech got turned into a social media circus
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(CNN) — With the University of Michigan campus and the nation reeling from the horrific murder of 32 people and injured more than 700, we all have questions about what should be done about free speech on campus.
It was all a little too easy.
A tweet, a Facebook post and a blog from an anonymous person turned a debate about freedom of speech into a “social media circus,” according to the university.
At least one university professor and one University of Michigan student have now resigned in protest.
On Saturday afternoon, a debate, hosted by the University of Michigan-Dearborn Society for Law and Society, titled “What the Free Speech Movement Means to the Law and Society Review,” was supposed to happen on campus.
The day before, a Facebook post by one of the debate participants — “Citizen” — was removed from the social media site. The University of Michigan-Dearborn Society then said it planned to take it down.
But, as some of the campus students had predicted, it didn’t happen.
“Citizen,” said to be a student who was at the campus at the time of the murder, posted to his Facebook page:
“This is a social media circus. The debate is cancelled. The people on stage will be the judges, the jury, the executioners and the executioner’s lawyers,” said the poster.
The University of Michigan is being criticized for not doing enough in the wake of the shootings to ensure free speech on university campuses, and to make sure that the campus police can adequately ensure the safety of every student.
On social media, one person called it “a joke that has gone terribly wrong.”
And another person called it a “despicable event that should be condemned by everyone in the community.”
On Twitter, the hashtag #FreeSpeechUniversity is trending all over the place.
At the same time, the Michigan Daily is now calling for a boycott of the campus: “The University