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04/10/2015 8:10 AM AEDT

Richard Dawkins: College Students Are Betraying The Free Speech Movement

Universities are supposed to expose you to ideas you disagree with, he declared.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, a famously outspoken atheist, said Friday the trend of students pushing to disinvite speakers on college campuses is a "betrayal" of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. 

Dawkins, speaking with Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time," discussed the idea of "regressive leftism" and how typically liberal crowds -- like college students -- have acted in non-liberal ways. Dawkins drew on the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, a famous protest by students demanding academic freedom and for the school to lift restrictions on political activity on campus.

"What a betrayal we're seeing now with campuses all over the Western world over -- America and Britain -- are denying people the right to come and speak on campuses. If you can't speak your mind on a university campus, where can you? I mean, that's what universities are about," Dawkins declared.

Students at UC Berkeley, Dawkins' alma mater, attempted to disinvite Maher from speaking at their winter commencement in 2014 over his comments about Islam. University officials rebuffed their students, and Maher spoke there in December. 

A large number of students in recent years have pushed to disinvite speakers because they disagree with them or their organization on political grounds.

"If you only get exposed to ideas you believe in," Dawkins asked, "what kind of university would that be?"