Monday, April 03, 2006

NYU cartoon controversy

Recently a NYU student group was planning to display the controversial cartoon depictions of Mohammed which have caused such a stir around the world. The display was to be a part of a discussion about the cartoons. Consistent with NYU policy, over 150 non-university guests had registered to attend the event.

Unfortunately NYU chose to ignore its stated policy governing free speech on campus and refused to allow the cartoons to be shown and refused to allow the non-university guests to attend.

How do we know all of this? Because of an amazing organization called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE raises awareness of university speech codes and incidents like this one at NYU where a university violates in speech code in an effort to suppress controversial speech. Unfortunately, universities often do not enforce speech codes uniformly, they select which speech should be barred based on the political climate. Speech which should be constitutionally allowed at public universities is suppressed because of its tendency to offend other students. This is one of my biggest pet peeves, people who think they shouldn't be subjected to any speech that offends them and are willing to stifle free speech to reach that result.