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That’s what a public sphere is supposed to look like," Cushman said.When the event was over, students applauded and milled around, discussing and arguing about Kipnis' speech.Thirteen 5th graders from Wellesley’s seven public elementary schools were recognized at the start of the June School Committee meeting at Town Hall for their written work on diversity and inclusion.
The essay has triggered student protests and a Title IX investigation into Kipnis herself.
At Wellesley Wednesday, while addressing the audience at the Freedom Project's "Censorship Awareness Week" series, Kipnis said that the hostile reaction of students and administrators serve to prove her point.“The culture of sexual paranoia I’d originally written about is a theology on campus," Kipnis said, "to the point where ideas that challenge conventional wisdom are construed as threats.”Even before Kipnis arrived on campus, student activists were crafting a video response — to her, and to Professor Thomas Cushman.
Tom Cushman declined to comment on the Koch gift, other than to say it was “generous” and will support free expression of all kinds at Wellesley.
Inside the library lecture hall Wednesday, Kipnis faced more than an hour of tough back-and-forth questions from young women about consent, the law and their rights in the case of sexual assault.
The young women she teaches aren't trying to shelter themselves from criticism, but rather raising their own voices -- which have historically been ignored."To say, 'Well, this is a matter of free speech,' or 'All views need to be heard,' ignores the fact that some views reinforce institutional and culturally dominant norms and others are still just trying to be heard," Grattan said.
She added that the Freedom Project recently received support from the billionaire Charles Koch, a famous supporter of conservative politicians and causes.
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Cushman directs the Freedom Project, which brought Kipnis to campus.
Cushman describes himself as a “natural contrarian" and aims to promote free expression at a time when, he thinks, it’s badly needed."The left, in academia, has become increasingly more and more closed to anybody who within their own ranks might dissent from the various orthodoxies," Cushman said.