Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has claimed that American culture and college campuses in particular are ‘under siege’ from woke activists who want to restrict free speech and prevent debate.
‘America is under siege. We see it on our campuses,’ Walker said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on Friday.
‘We see it in our culture, and increasingly we see it in our communications with the censorship from Big Tech, left-wing professors, liberal activists, mass media, even some of our major corporations are attempting to cancel conservative thought,’ he added.
‘They don’t want to compete with us in the battle of ideas because they know they lose. They just want to cancel,’ said Walker.
Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has claimed that American culture and college campuses in particular are ‘under siege’ from woke activists
Students in New York demand the city administration redirect funds from the New York Police Department to the City University of New York (CUNY) in June 20202
Walker, a Republican, rode the Tea Party wave to the Wisconsin governor’s mansion in 2010, and served two terms before his defeat by Democrat Tony Evers in the 2018 election. He briefly ran for president in 2016 before dropping out.
Since 2019 he has served as president of the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization that is active in litigating free-speech issues on university campuses.
‘Freedom of speech is most at risk on our college campuses,’ Walker said. ‘The very place where it should be most revered is where it is most at risk.’
‘Half of all the liberal students say it’s OK to infringe upon the free speech rights of other students because they offend others,’ he said, citing a YAF poll.
‘Apparently, they offend anybody except for conservatives. Let’s be clear, young people did not learn this on their own, years of left-wing professors and increasingly large numbers of radical activists on campus have shaped a new generation of snowflakes,’ said Walker.
Walker touted legal action taken by YAF to challenge alleged free speech violations on college campuses, including a successful suit against the University of California-Berkeley.
YAF accused Berkeley of using ‘unwritten, and highly unconstitutional’ rules to block conservative speakers from stepping foot onto campus.
In 2017, hundreds of protesters in Berkeley, California rallied against right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, forcing the cancellation of his speech at UC Berkeley
In one instance, Berkeley denied YAF access to a lecture hall for a speech from Ann Coulter, the arch-conservative columnist, the group alleged. YAF won a $70,000 settlement in the case and Berkeley agreed to change its policies.
Walker’s remarks come as militant ideologies on race, gender, and post-colonialism at U.S. universities spur concern internationally.
French President Emmanuel Macron has even warned of ‘certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States’ and cautioned against leaving ‘the intellectual debate to others’.
His education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also warned in October that there is a ‘battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities’.
This month also saw the publication of a book by French social scientists Stéphane Beaud and Gérard Noiriel in which they claimed that race is a ‘bulldozer’ that destroys other subjects.
They added to the New York Times that they did not believe race should not be studied as an academic subject in France, as the secular government does not recognize it.
French President Emmanuel Macron has even warned of ‘certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States’ as US campus culture sparks international concern
It is illegal in France to collect data based on race and for many, the country’s national identify rejects the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism, instead focusing on fundamental rights and core values like equality and liberty.
In one recent case viewed by some as an example of racial ideology run amok on campus, Smith College was forced to admit that a black student’s racism allegations were false, after they ‘ruined the lives’ of several campus workers.
Student Oumou Kanoute had accused a security guard and several other cafeteria and custodial workers of racism after she was asked why she was eating lunch in an area that had been closed for an event.
Kanoute named staff online, causing one to be hospitalized with stress and another, a janitor who was not present, forced from his job.
However, an independent law firm investigating the 2018 incident found that same year that there was no evidence of wrongdoing and cleared all those involved — though the school never publicly clarified the highly publicized case, or apologized to workers who lost their jobs.
The case resurfaced this week after an employee resigned from the school last Friday, citing a ‘racially hostile environment.’
Smith student Oumou Kanoute’s racism allegations were exposed as unsubstantiated, after she spoke extensively about a campus incident in interviews at CBS and The Boston Globe
Meanwhile, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens also took aim at what he called the ‘humorless world of Woke’ on college campuses.
Stephens criticized the University of Illinois at Chicago for banning law professor Jason Kilborn from campus after an incident during a civil procedure exam.
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens criticized ‘woke’ campus culture this week
In a question about a workplace discrimination claim, the exam contained the phrases ‘n____’ and ‘b_____’ (using the first letters of the slurs and an underscore for the other letters, as they appear above).
A petition from the Black Students Law Association claimed: ‘The visual of the N-word on Professor Kilborn’s exam was mental terrorism.’
One student declared that on seeing the sentence, she became ‘incredibly upset’ and experienced ‘heart palpitations,’ according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Kilborn was placed on administrative leave, removed from his committee assignments, and barred from the UIC campus in response.
The administration later told him he had been suspended as a potential threat to campus safety for a remark he made to one of the petitioners, who asked him to speculate why the dean had not shared their petition with him.
‘I flippantly responded, ‘I suspect [the dean’s] afraid if I saw the horrible things said about me in that letter I would become homicidal,’ Kilborn said, saying the remark was then reported by the student as a homicidal threat.
‘In the game of Woke, the goal posts can be moved at any moment, the penalties will apply retroactively and claims of fairness will always lose out to the perpetual right to claim offense,’ Stephens wrote of the case.