University of Chicago Threatening to Punish Student for Posting Anti-Mohammed Cartoon?

Does anyone have more information on this story from the Chicago Maroon, the student paper?

A student in Hoover House faces possible disciplinary action from the University after posting a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad on a dormitory door. The incident, which occurred early last week, follows the recent expulsion of two students from Hitchcock House after one wrote racist and anti-Semitic remarks on the other’s whiteboard.

The drawing in Hoover featured a crudely sketched figure accompanied by the caption "Mo’ Mohammed, Mo’ Problems," in reference to the recent worldwide protests of the Muhammad cartoons. It was drawn on a sheet of paper and posted on the outside door of the student’s suite facing the dormitory hallway.

The student who drew the cartoon did not wish to be named and declined to discuss the incident with the Maroon, citing the ongoing investigation by the Housing Office.

Those familiar with the situation said a complaint was raised shortly after the illustration went up. According to a first-year Hoover resident who also declined to be named, a neighbor left a written objection on the suite door, and Andrea Gates, Hoover Resident Head, was notified of the drawing. The student who drew the cartoon took it down after receiving the complaint and issued a written apology to the offended resident at Gates’s request. . . .

The student was "told [by the University's Housing Office] there’s a possibility he’ll get kicked out of housing," the first-year resident added. . . .

The Student Manual of University Policies and Regulations addresses this type of incident. It states that the University does "not attempt to shield people from ideas that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive. Nor, as a general rule, does the University intervene to enforce social standards of civility."

Yet some students feel that this incident goes beyond freedom of expression.

Hasan Ali, a fourth-year in the College and president of the Muslim Students’ Association, noted the difference between freedom of speech and freedom from responsibility. He compared the cartoon to the drawing of a swastika, noting that such an image "is free speech but is still wrong." . . .

So now every criticism of Mohammed -- or of Islam -- is comparable to a swastika? Or is it that every depiction of Mohammed is comparable to a swastika? Sounds like a reason to protect swastikas, not to suppress criticisms of a religion.

I hope that, despite the assertions reported in the story, the administration is not seriously trying to punish the cartoonist, or even insisting that students stop posting such cartoons. But, as I said, I'd love to hear more from people who know more about how accurate and complete the story is.

Thanks to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for the pointer.