Thursday, March 30, 2006

Censors Win at NYU

FIRE reports:

....administrators at New York University (NYU) were attempting to squelch a panel discussion on the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Leaders of the NYU Objectivist Club, which organized the panel, were told to choose one of two unacceptable options. They could either exclude the over 150 off-campus guests who had registered to attend the event or agree not to show the Danish cartoons. E-mails from NYU administrator Robert Butler on March 27 and 28 substantiating this ultimatum are available on FIRE’s website.

NYU’s shameful actions violate both the moral principle of freedom of speech and, as UCLA Professor of Law Eugene Volokh recently noted, its own policies. FIRE has archived the relevant policies, in which NYU shockingly claims to be “committed to maintaining an environment where open, vigorous debate and speech can occur.” But NYU’s actions last night show that its real commitment is to censorship. As an NYU spokesman told Inside Higher Ed, the university’s objection to the cartoons is based on the fact that “an important group in our Muslim community made it clear that they found the display of the cartoons deeply offensive.” The spokesman also told the New York Sun that “it wasn't necessary to show the cartoons to discuss them.” And if that wasn’t enough lunacy for one day, the spokesman said the following to NYU’s student paper: “Realistically, one can have a discussion on smallpox without actually handing out the the live virus to the audience.”

Read it all


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