Education: Counterattacks

All over the country, state legislators have tried to curb campus disruptions—and win favor with voters—by forcing colleges to mete out ever harsher penalties to demonstrators. Supporters of such measures argue that universities must protect themselves or be destroyed; critics believe that unduly harsh countermeasures have often transformed moderate students into radicals. The latest instances: legislation in Pennsylvania and a pending law in New York.

The Pennsylvania law is unusual: it requests colleges in all 50 states to compile reports on the behavior of all Pennsylvania students involved in disruptions. If a college...

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