University of California President Janet Napolitano said Friday that students must be better educated on the dangers of restricting speech, even if they think it's hateful or offensive.
The former Department of Homeland Security secretary appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Friday, where New York Times' Jeremy Peters asked her about the school and its recent controversies.
"The University of California was the birthplace of the free speech movement," he said. "These days, it seems more like the birthplace of the new anti-free speech movement. There's a lot of calls to restrict controversial speakers. Some of them racist speakers. Do you think as an educator ahead of the system that there is a generational shift in the understanding of what free speech is and who should be allowed to speak? Is it a problem in your eyes?"
"Yeah, I think it is," Napolitano answered. "And I think we have to do a much better job of educating our young people about what the First Amendment protects, what it means, and how — once you start restricting speech, you are on a slippery slope. And so we are educators and that should be part of our mission."
She added to Peters, "you're absolutely right, we see an increasing number of young people believe that, you know, we should restrict people like, you know, Richard Spencer, or Milo Yiannopoulos, or Ben Shapiro, from speaking at campuses. And we must remind them that in the past it was speakers favoring, say, the civil rights movement, who were sought to be restricted.
"So, again, education is key," Napolitano concluded.
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