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We Are All Danes Now, Continued:

More from FIRE on the NYU event:

  1. "[T]he students were allowed to admit only 75 of the approximately 150 off-campus guests who had registered. Stephan Walker, the vice president of the Objectivist Club, confirmed to FIRE that even several members of the media had to be turned away."

  2. "Later, Lukianoff and a blogger both observed a student being forced to remove a shirt depicting one of the cartoons."

  3. "Finally, following through on plans divulged in an e-mail in FIRE's possession, members of the Bengali Student Association apparently obtained and then ripped up many of the student tickets for the event. Walker has a bag of these torn-up tickets."

  4. "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.'"

  5. "The spokesman also told the New York Sun that 'it wasn't necessary to show the cartoons to discuss them.' ... [T]he 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.' [But] making decisions about what is too offensive to be shown to people is none of NYU's business -- and infecting people with smallpox is not the same as showing them a cartoon[.]"

Opus (mail):
"Realistically, one can have a discussion on smallpox without actually handing out the the live virus to the audience."

Of course, one cannot have, i.e., a scientific discussion of the small pox virus without presenting a visual description of the virus' molecular structure, either.

I reiterate:

Mr. Devitt,"what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
3.30.2006 5:14pm
Robert Racansky:
2. "Later, Lukianoff and a blogger both observed a student being forced to remove a shirt depicting one of the cartoons."

Next-time, the Objectivist Club should have an attractive large-breasted female student wear one of those shirts.
3.30.2006 5:46pm
TomH (mail):
"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.'"

Hypothetically, what would the school do if my group (whatever they may be) found the the Muslim Community offensive? At the least, nothing, at most send me to sensitivity training. Perhaps the "Muslim Community" or any other offended group at NYU, should be sent to First Amendment sensitvity training.

Being offended is never a ground for silencing another, it is simply a good reason to criticize their ideas and convince the world that the offending group should be ignored and allowed to wither away (a la the KKK. They certianly do not have much of a following anymore).
3.30.2006 5:49pm
neutral:
NYU spokesman admitted censoring speach on behalf of "an important group" of students? Gee, this shows who really is so important as to throw any academic pretence out the window.
3.30.2006 6:28pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
Meanwhile, at GW Law tonight, (following quoted from GW JLSA E-mail) Students for Justice in Palestine are planning a launch of their Israel Divestment Campaign at the law school. The event will feature a 3rd year GW law student, Fadi Kiblawi who will be speaking about the new GW Divest from Israel campaign. Kiblawi is considered a terrorist by the state of Israel, and has been convicted of crimes in both Israel and the United States. He advocates for the destruction of Israel, and in its place, the creation of a Palestinian state. He has also openly admitted to associating with suicide bombers and has made comments in the past about his desire to become a suicide bomber. (Muslim journal Al-Risalah, University of Michigan, Spring Edition II, June 24, 2001). Kiblawi also has led chants "Death to the Jews."

And meanwhile we're preventing extremely mild cartoons from being shown for fear for public safety from enraged muslims...must universities be so spineless before islamic extremism/terror?

(incidentally, a 3L should have a right to speak at his own school, I feel. It's just an interesting juxtaposition)
3.30.2006 6:49pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
The NYU administation is sick. NYU President John Sexton thinks that if the Islamofascists invade, they'll spare him for being a mensch about the cartoons. Baloney. I am disgusted by my university.
3.30.2006 6:55pm
Michael B (mail):
A study in contrasts. Such a voluptuous silence.
3.30.2006 6:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Now, just for the fun of it, when an administration acts this way, are prospective students of a conservative bent justified in their suspicion?
3.30.2006 7:07pm
hey (mail):
Despite the evidence of this severe restriction of the rights and activities of "conservative" (insert massive, boring qualifications regarding appropriate placing of ideological groups here) students, the posters from the DB threads will continue to mock non-leftist, non-pc people for a persecution complex. It's all in our imagination.

Right.

Just like how the Yale Taliban is all in our imagination, how the work of Evan Coyne Maloney is fictitious, etc.

Someone is delusional, and I think I know who it is.
3.30.2006 7:26pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Interesting that a school that supposedly prizes intellectual freedom would compare expression to a smallpox virus.

The only point of similarity -- some thoughts (even rather mild ones) are simply too dangerous to allow the public to be exposed to them.
3.30.2006 7:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Moderate Muslims have an opportunity here.
Even more so with Borders, who was more explicit that they feared Islamic savages.

That is, moderate Muslims can complain loudly that they resent being presumed to be uncontrolled, violent, irrational thugs who think force is the trump card.
They can insist that Borders sell the issue of the paper in question, and that NYU actually show the motoons.
The two institutions' (and many others') response to this business shows profound Islamophobia.
And moderate Muslims should take steps to demonstrate that such xenophobia is completely unjustified.

Or not.

If not, what do we learn?
3.30.2006 8:21pm
WB:
"an important group in our Muslim community"

I think this is the part I find most offensive... I'm not quite sure why. The sentiment in this phrase is that some student groups get special rights to veto stuff.

I'm so glad that I didn't end up there for law school.
3.30.2006 8:32pm
PersonFromPorlock:
'an important group in our Muslim community made it clear that they found the display of the cartoons deeply offensive.'

Now, would that be an important group of students, faculty, or... Saudi sugar daddies?
3.30.2006 8:53pm
BobGo:
Thank you VC for providing ongoing coverage of the Danish cartoons and NYU's astounding reaction to this controversy. The comments to these posts are insightful as well. I would offer a few comments from a different perspective, that of a visual artist.

The idea that the cartoons aren't needed when discussing them is ridiculous. Descriptions I've read -- even on earlier VC posts, I'm afraid -- don't match what the visuals communicate to me. (All right, I'm not surprised that legal experts see things, er, differently.) Often various interesting interpretations are possible when artworks are deliberately employing humor, suggestion, and visual ambiguity (like cartoons).

Also astounding is the assertion that freedom of expression need be protected only for an original author. NYU has film and art programs, in the very center of the art world, where REMIX is commonly too much the rage. Obvious copying or not, all visual creation is influenced by past works. Visual arts students at NYU might be wondering what kind of imagery the university policy allows them to explore.

Well no they won't; students in the creative arts don't give a damn about administration guidelines! But anybody else who cares about academic tradition of free expression has to be saddened that NYU couldn't do more competent job of damage control than this.
3.31.2006 4:07am
Spoons (mail) (www):
What I don't get is, why aren't we seeing more disobediance to this censorship by the students?

Want to prevent us from showing the cartoons? Make us.

Want to me to take my shirt off? Make me.

Want to keep us from gathering to show these cartoons? Arrest us.

Free speech isn't always free, guys. How about you step up?
3.31.2006 8:45am
Some Guy (mail):
Actually, the outcome was better than the students could have possibly hoped for. The school admin rose to the bait, tried to censor them, and made their point in a way far more powerful than could have been done by a few students railing about the loss of liberty could have.

The willingness of the other Bengali student organization to play along and stand in as brownshirts was just icing on the cake.
3.31.2006 8:48am
Brian M (mail):
I eagerly await NYU's response to the next production of The Vagina Monologues.
3.31.2006 3:02pm
Pendulum (mail):
Next-time, the Objectivist Club should have an attractive large-breasted female student wear one of those shirts.

"Female objectivist"...now *that's* funny!
3.31.2006 3:05pm
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
"Female objectivist"...now *that's* funny!

I can think of at least one.
3.31.2006 9:16pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):

The school admin rose to the bait, tried to censor them


Succeeded, so far as I understand it. The cartoons weren't shown, and that IS censorship.
4.1.2006 8:34pm
Jake (mail):
Actually, the speaker at the event who was the head of the Objectivist Club was an Indian Female.
4.2.2006 8:32pm