Saturday, February 19, 2005
Academic freedom: If there was any doubt that freedom of speech on campus is only allowed for those on the left, the contrast between how Harvard President Larry Summers and Colorado University at Boulder's Ward "little Eichmanns" Churchill have been treated should have erased any doubt.
To review: Larry Summers suggests that maybe men and women are different is very, very bad. Ward Churchill compares the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the man responsible for Hitler's "final solution" -- don't criticize him for exercising his academic freedom.
Here in San Diego, we've got another example of what you're not allowed to say on campus.
A college newspaper opinion piece calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants has critics calling it a racist incitement to violence.
Campus journalists, many of whom disagree with the piece politically, say they stand by First Amendment rights to publish unpopular opinions.
Reaction to the commentary has been strident.
Protesters posted abusive fliers on the door of the newspaper's office. The writer of the opinion piece and the newspaper's faculty adviser said they have been threatened or harassed.
The escalating rancor prompted students to hold a forum last week in the campus free-speech plaza to talk about the issue.
Student Nathaniel Pownell's opinion piece in The Southwestern College Sun on illegal immigration states, "It is time to burn the leaches (sic) off our society and crack down on the people who flagrantly take advantage of America's wealth and prosperity."
That's tantamount to Nazis calling Jews parasites, critics say, and has no place in a newspaper. Student groups have called for a boycott of the Sun. It's a free publication, but the student groups are urging people not to pick it up off the racks.
I don't want to get into a debate on whether illegal immigration is a net plus or minus for the American economy. What's disturbing is the deep hostility and antagonism toward any ideas that depart from the liberal orthodoxy on the nation's college campuses.
Open-mindedness? Intellectual curiosity? Forget about it.