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Instructor at Minnesota State College Allegedly Ordered Not To Post Mohammed Cartoons:

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

Karen Murdock, a part-time geography and earth science instructor who posted the cartoons -- surrounded by news articles about the topic and blank "comment" sheets -- said she simply wanted to spark discussion by allowing others to see the cartoons first-hand.

But the postings, first displayed Tuesday afternoon, were torn down at least once.

By Thursday, a senior faculty member instructed her to keep the cartoons off the social and behavioral sciences bulletin board, Murdock said. . . .

Administrators hope that a forum being arranged by many Muslim students and faculty members next week in light of the postings will help quell any hard feelings on campus.

The forum is meant to increase understanding of Muslim culture, said Mike Bruner, vice president of student affairs. "When students come to me who are hurt, it signals to me we're off course somewhere," he said. . . .

Does it ever signal that the students are the ones who are off course>

The newspaper also reports:

Whether or how the cartoons could be displayed might be resolved as part of the forum; officials want to leave that up to faculty and students.

What else would be left up to the students? Whether people should be allowed to blaspheme against Christianity? Use God's name in vain? Post anti-American items?

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

Raw_Data (mail):
It's as though some well-meaning but utterly-confused people are trying to live down the sins of their bigotted grand-parents by simpering and placating the slightest whines.
2.22.2006 8:02pm
Fishbane (mail):
Wow, this is getting seriously out of control. I never would have imagined such cut-rate cartoons would spark this sort of reaction. I would prefer to defend free speech for something that was at least noteworthy, artistic or amusing, but I suppose you don't get to pick some battles.
2.22.2006 8:03pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Why am I not surprised? The same segment of the academic community that was defending not just the right of artists to display art like Piss Christ, but their right to a taxpayer subsidy for doing so--is afraid of offending Muslims.

If the left is going to be suddenly so concerned about offending Muslims, then I am going to insist that they be just as concerned about offending Christians. Or do the rules all change again?
2.22.2006 9:54pm
GDead (mail):
Fish, I agree that this is getting ridiculous. I can imagine the forum where everyone sits around discussing the cartoons and why they excite the Muslim students so much and how we just all need to get along - and they never show the cartoons that are the point of the meeting. What's everyone going to do - hold hands and sing we are the world?

If the schools and newspapers were honest they would admit that the cartoon riots are a put up by the clerics in Denmark. They would point to the fact that an Egyptian newspaper published the cartoons last fall - and everyone yawned.

Somewhere there is a Muslim Voltaire saying "I do not agree with what you say but will defend to your death that I am not offended".
2.22.2006 10:02pm
just me (mail):
EV asks rhetorically:


What else would be left up to the students? Whether people should be allowed to blaspheme against Christianity? Use God's name in vain? Post anti-American items?


Well, if one did disallow, on campuses, diatribes against America and Christianity, it might be a blow against free speech, but it would be a major environmentalist achievement. After all, a substantial percentage of paper use on any given campus is devoted to such diatribes . . .
2.22.2006 10:02pm
Wintermute (www):
I'm free speechless.
2.22.2006 11:12pm
Pete Freans (mail):
If academic political correctness &insularity from provocative ideas is the standard for Harvard and its faculty, then it's good enough for Minnesota State College as well. Lead us, Crimson, into a world where we are protected from hurt feelings and dangerous new prospectives...
2.23.2006 8:32am
Pete Freans (mail):
"perspectives", rather
2.23.2006 8:33am
Defending the Indefensible:
Prof. Volokh,

I submit to you that the above post by David Kopel is a new low point for the Volokh Conspiracy. I don't know whether he is trying to engage in ironic baiting to parallel the Mohammed cartoon issue. I have said before, I respect the free speech right of people to say or publish offensive things. That does not mean I think it is a good idea to say or publish them, nor do I think one must necessarily provide them a forum. David Kopel's post is obnoxious beyond necessity.
2.23.2006 9:10am
MNKurnmudge (mail):
For more Minnesota excitement on this subject, check out the campus newspaper "report" on the "seminar" that was intended to solve the whole problem. In short, we are all at fault for offending the delicate sensibilities of the downtrodden who are upset by free speech and free expression. And this nonsense is dispensed with a straight face by a professor from Macalester College, a very expensive private school in St. Paul you are crazy if you send your kid to. (Never end a sentence with a preposition? I failed....)

The newspaper story, a veritable model of classic bad reporting is here: http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2006/02/22/67266

As you can see, this reporter is auditioning for a future job with AP or BBC to dispense tripe.
2.23.2006 10:21am
Michael B (mail):
Bennett and Dershowitz in the WaPo today, on topic.
2.23.2006 10:25am
Oris (mail) (www):
FYI, your headline is a little confusing. Since you don't name the college -- Century Community College -- anywhere in your post, it looks like the school in question is Minnesota State College. Wasn't that the fictional college in "Coach"? Anyway, there is a network of schools named Minnesota State College, and this isn't among them.
2.23.2006 10:52am
KMAJ (mail):
Michael B,

As one whose field is journalism, the WaPo's Dershowitz and Bennett article nails it on the head. It's definitely not a banner event for the media, and journalism, in particular. It is an offshoot of political correctness combined with intimidation affecting their judgement. The most alarming part of this tidal wave of an emotional story is the scar of hypocrisy it stains the profession with. When you have polar opposites like Bennett and Dershowitz in agreement, you know there is a serious problem.

They briefly touched upon the NSA story, which raises the question I would like to ask those in the legal profession: Are you aware of how the news is reported affects your legal opinion ? If the media were championing the NSA program from the beginning, would your position be tempered if you are a critic ? Think about it, if the media were going after the leakers, as in Plamegate, and decrying the exposing of a classified program, would you not be approaching the issue from an assumption of legality instead ot illegality ?

I proffer this opinion, that most are unaware of the subtle influence how the news is reported shapes perceptions. Everyone likes to claim objectivity, but without the foundational starting ground that the news presents, how is it possible to arrive at a completely objective result if your starting point/foundation is not neutral ? If you have to start from a slanted/off center foundation, your analysis needs to move the foundation back to neutral and proceed from there.

I digress, the Mohammad political cartoons expose a serious flaw in today's news media and journalism profession. Even sadder, it is infecting our educational institutions of higher learning. Freedom does not include a right to not be offended.
2.23.2006 1:52pm
Brandonks (mail) (www):
You are right KMAJ, it is an excellent article.
2.23.2006 4:26pm
Brandonks (mail) (www):
One thing though, they missed that the Rocky Mountain News did it's job as well.
2.23.2006 4:41pm
Aaron:
Clayton E. Cramer bellows:


If the left is going to be suddenly so concerned about offending Muslims, then I am going to insist that they be just as concerned about offending Christians. Or do the rules all change again?



*sigh*

No, the rules don't change. Wrong is still wrong. I'm angered beyond belief that some liberals are f-ing things up for the rest of us, to the point where I'm forced to agree with you.

Medis, GC, Justin, Bob Bobstein; how does it feel to be in agreeance with CEC? I know that it hurts me...deeply. The pusillanimous hypocrites who run our nation's newsrooms and universities have A LOT of explaining to do....
2.23.2006 5:00pm
Michael B (mail):
KMAJ,

Yes, that's a decent summary of the article. Also, regarding your second graph, just a minor aside but one which touches on fact/value dialectics (in the general sense of the term). Hillary Putnam's The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays is a good read and a solid source.
2.23.2006 5:01pm
Michael B (mail):
A general FYI,

CEC was one of the persons, seemingly the first and most pivotal and influential person, who began to probe and subsequently prove the rank duplicity and sham scholarship represented in the Michael Bellesiles's case. ("Arming America," the revoked Bancroft Prize at Columbia, Emory University, etc.)
2.23.2006 5:37pm
Chuck T (mail):

FYI, your headline is a little confusing. Since you don't name the college -- Century Community College -- anywhere in your post, it looks like the school in question is Minnesota State College. Wasn't that the fictional college in "Coach"? Anyway, there is a network of schools named Minnesota State College, and this isn't among them.

The college in Coach was Minnesota State, a name that has since been taken by the school formerly known as Mankato State. Century College is, however, technically a Minnesota State College (one of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities) from that link you gave -- look in the Metro Area circle below the state map and Century College is in White Bear Lake, in the northeast.
2.23.2006 6:19pm