Princeton University appointed “Open Expression Monitors” earlier this May in order protect Free Speech on campus. Open Expression Monitors (OPMs) allow controversial speakers to safety visit campus, and give faculty the ability to guard Free Speech. Students from Princeton’s Daily Princetonian student newspaper, however, are fighting against such monitors.
In theory, OPMs are neutral supervisors for campus events, as they are employed by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) and are to follow polices that fall under student scrutiny.
University policy prohibits students from “prevent[ing], or willfully attempt[ing] to prevent, the orderly conduct of a University function or activity.” It is dependent upon OPMs to determine whether students violate such polices.
As Princeton has publicly stated before, “debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.”
The Editorial board of the Daily Princetonian states that OPMs “now impede student expression against the administration. Open Expression Monitors betray a deceptive form of institutional-speech regulation.”
The Editorial board claims that because OPMs are positioned to monitor protestors, they are stifling students’ Freedom of Speech.
Turning Point USA Chapter President at Princeton University, Riley Heath, is utterly in support of these monitors.
While speaking with TPUSA News, Heath says that because of OPMs, administrators are present at events in order to escort aggressive protestors from the venue. He tells of a story where an OPM “threw out” a leftist student who was screaming and yelling at a conservative speaker hosted at Princeton.
“[OPMs] allow for professors to actually protect free speech,” Heath said. “It’s a great idea.”
The Editorial board expressed their anger towards OPMs after the Princeton IX Now group, which organized the recent Title IX-reform protests, was not allowed into an event hosted for “staff, faculty, and community members.”
In essence, conservative students entertain the idea of OPMs because they protect the conservatives’ right to Free Speech without being shut down by protestors. Leftist students do not fancy OPMs because they are no longer allowed to protest in a violent or intruding manner.