"Yet this revelation did not challenge the underlying assumption made by many in politics and the media that we would certainly be better off if violent rhetoric, hate speech, or other "extreme" forms of expression could be silenced. One got the feeling that the First Amendment was an obstacle that somehow needed to be overcome in our quest for a peaceable society.
This kind of thinking is rife on university campuses, and unlike in society at large, most universities actively ban speech that is protected by the First Amendment in an effort to create a more benign campus environment. While this is unlawful at public universities and generally deceptive at private universities (most of them promise free speech but fail to deliver), the effort to ban "bad" speech has widespread support on campus among administrators and even students.
For instance, a student article in the Tufts Daily last week defended Tufts' decision to declare a conservative newspaper guilty of "harassment" for two articles (a parody of affirmative action and a list of unpleasant facts about Islamic regimes), by saying that "[t]he idea that more speech can be used to combat hate speech operates on the assumption that all speech is equal. That is unrealistic…. [T]the call for more speech [to combat hate speech] places an undue burden on those targeted by hate speech to be constantly acting in their own defense." Indeed, the student author seems downright terrified of freedom of speech, saying, "Hate speech rather degrades a person's humanity, worth and sense of self…. [F]ree speech policies merely institutionalize the ability of people to hurt others."