McDaniel: Speech being suppressed at Ole Miss

Published 10:48 am Friday, November 4, 2016


State Sen. Chris McDaniel shared his thoughts on free speech at Ole Miss Thursday night as part of an event organized by the Our State Flag Foundation.

“This subject matter is close to my heart,” he said. “I believe in the free exchange of ideas. We shouldn’t tell people not to speak, we need to tell them they better speak. I can look at other viewpoints and not see them as problematic.”

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He feels that it’s not just the University of Mississippi that has tried to shield speech.

“College campuses across the country have started to suppress speech,” he added. “And if there’s any place you ought to be free, it’s on a college campus.”

Referencing the state flags taken from students at Vaught- Hemingway Stadium in September in accordance with the venue’s longstanding policy prohibiting sticks and large banners, he said, “I don’t think you should ban items just because you disagree with them.”

McDaniel added that if the state were to change its flag through a vote, he would support the new one, but that he feels there’s no need to alter it.

He said he also believes that, as a partially state-funded university, Ole Miss should fly the flag and should have sparked a dialogue about it before removing it entirely.

After the senator was done speaking, the floor was opened for questions.

When asked about whether there should be a balance of Union and Confederate monuments on campus and controversy surrounding the latter, McDaniel said, “I don’t know how to balance every objectionable monument. Slavery is indefensible, and there were bad people in the Confederacy, but there were also good people. The Union had bad people too.”

The topics of trigger warnings and safe spaces on campuses were also raised. McDaniel believes that both suppress creativity.

“(Students) are coddled in college and then released into a world that won’t give them a safe space,” he said. “We live in a society where we’re offended all the time.”