The battles over free speech are also battles for the hearts and minds of the student generation. Why else would people with very little interest in, and often open disdain for the university want to address college students? Because the next generation will ultimately rule the world.
I spoke with Yassin Nacer, a rising senior at the University of California at Berkeley, about his understanding of the so-called free speech controversies. Most striking to me was his sense that people who cannot learn that language changes over time (and refuse to learn new terms) are, as he put it, simply immature. But there's more: it's also difficult to debate with people who believe that language has always been static, and that terms we used decades or generations ago are still apt in capturing today's world.
Our conversation was far-ranging and informed by Yassin's studies and his own experience at California's flagship campus.