Weekly News Digest, No. 27

Happy summer and welcome to the twenty-seventh installment of the Project on Civil Discourse’s Weekly News Digest, hosted on our Real Talk blog.

Campus Speech and Discourse

Scott Jaschik, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, authors an article about Pride month at the University of Central Arkansas. The university library had a sign that quoted Lady Gaga: “Being gay is like glitter. It never goes away.” Staff posted a photo of the sign with a message of support for the campus’ LGBT+ community. However, President Houston Davis ordered that the sign be removed because “it was not OK for the university sign to be used to make a personal statement or advocate for a personal viewpoint.” 

Grace Elletson authored an article about Kyle Kashuv, Parkland survivor and former Turning Point USA and NRA activist. Kashuv’s recent offer of admission to Harvard University was rescinded after racist comments he made online surfaced. Kashuv told his story on Twitter in hopes of proving Harvard’s action unfair.  He said his language was “callous and inflammatory,” but he did not formally apologize. 

The Anti-Defamation League reported that white supremacists “have increased college campus recruiting efforts with more propaganda distributions for the third straight year.” During the Spring 2019 semester, there were “161 incidents on 122 different campuses across 33 states and the District of Columbia.” 

Religious Refusals 

The Public Religion Research Institution released a report about religious refusals to serve LGBT+ people. About 30% of Americans believe small business owners should have the right to refuse service while about 67% believe they should not. However, support for such refusals as increased across all demographics since 2014. 

Adam Liptak, reporter for the New York Times, writes about how the Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from bakery owners in Oregon who were fined for refusing service to a gay couple. The case began in 2012 when the bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for the lesbian couple, arguing that it “would violate their religious principles.” 

Social Media

Reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins writes that Dean Obeidallah, a Muslim-American radio host, was awarded $4.1 million in damages after Obeidallah sued founder of The Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, for falsely accusing him of terrorism. Obeidallah found that the website tricked readers “into believing he took responsibility for the Manchester attack” via Twitter in May 2017.

Kalev Leetaru, Forbes contributor, writes about what social media might look like if “profanity, exasperation and most other emotional language” are banned from online platforms. Leetaru wonders if doing so might make social media less toxic.