At the recent Government Operations and Audit Committee meeting, during the hearing about what the Board of Regents are doing to ensure free speech on our college campuses, there was a statement from a Democrat State Senator that seemed to indicate that the whole concept about free speech has her a bit flummoxed:
So, one of the few Democrats in the South Dakota Senate, Susan Wismer, denounced the consequences of free speech as “very troubling,” claiming that someone was spreading hate and disinformation about muslims,” and “their faith,” and claiming that she didn’t think it should have happened.
What was this supposed hate rally that Wismer was railing on about?
In 2018, the human rights activist Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus spoke at Northern State University about her experience being sold as a child bride, and how she was rescued from that fate by escaping to America. This apparently offended Wismer, who claimed that Cyrus should have never been allowed to speak, and was generally appalled that the speaker “was allowed to appear on the campus.”
Interestingly, Wismer’s hemming and hawing about someone speaking about the horrors of being a child bride at Northern State University echo previous complaints of censorship on USD’s campus that brought the campus censorship issue to a head in the first place:
When lawmakers take up a bill on Friday that guarantees free speech rights on the state’s public university campuses, one incident from 2015 will likely be a key example for both supporters and opponents.
On March 22 of that year, the campus activities board at the University of South Dakota had scheduled a screening of a controversial film called the “Honor Diaries.” The 2013 film documents human rights abuses against women living in predominantly Muslim Middle East countries, including honor killings, forced marriages and genital mutilation.
The film, however, has also been criticized by Muslim rights groups for being promoted and sponsored by anti-Muslim bigots. Critics denounced the screening at USD, and the March 22 showing was canceled.
It seems bizarre that Wismer feels so strongly about censoring documentary evidence about child marriages, and the objection of women who don’t want one. I don’t care what your religion is, the entire concept is offensive on a universal basis.
Why do South Dakota liberals hate complaints about child brides? Because that’s what we’re really talking about here.
It’s beyond explanation. But, then again, so are many things that Susan Wismer says.