Free Speech Confusion at the MLA

, Spencer Irvine, 2 Comments

The academically free have different ideas of what free speech means than the rest of us do.

rosaura sanchez ucsd protest

At the Modern Language Association’s 2015 convention in Vancouver, Canada, Rosaura Sanchez [pictured above at a protest], a former protester-and-activist-turned-Latin American and Chicano literature-professor at UC-San Diego, claimed that professors do face “consequences [of] speaking out on campus.”

She went on to allege that she has been “surveilled and recorded” while at protests by campus administrators. Most people do not use freedom of expression in order to keep the expressed thought a big secret.

Sanchez asserted that on her campus “dissenters’ names are placed in a black book,” and admitted, “That’s the price to pay.” Sanchez believed, “To comply and to consent” is not an option for professors like her.

She urged the audience to go and find “our political voices…as hackers…as disseminators of information over the Internet and social media.” It’s interesting that she would mention “hacking” under the rubric of freedom of information. Most of us would regard it as a source of misinformation.  It also gives us an idea of where mysterious hackers may come from and receive inspiration.

She counseled, “Our struggles have always been embarked upon with students” and “these are the strategies that we have become to depend on.”