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What are NYU Students and Faculty Saying?

I know some NYU people read this blog -- can you report on what, if anything, students and faculty are saying about the university's refusal to let a student group display the cartoons at a publicly accessible event? Is it "Glad the university did it, I'd hate to have some terrorist come to campus to blow himself up" (echoing NYU's chief justification)? "Glad the university did it, we can't allow offensive speech like that on campus"? "What an awful violation of academic freedom"? "Did you watch the basketball game?"?

NYU Jew (mail):
Godwin's law has already reared its ugly head on the NYU Federalist Society listserv:


[M]ost of us would also agree that NYU is well within its moral authority as an educational institution to disallow a student group from bringing in the Hitler's Youth to talk about why the Holocaust was awesome. I am not in any way equating the objectivism society with Hitler's youth (if they still exist), but the point is that there is no absolutist moral policy regarding when an educational institutional is obliged to let others speak.


The NYU Fed Soc listserv seems to have several "what an awful violation of academic freedom"s. Thankfully, there were zero "did you watch the basketball game"s on the listserv.
4.3.2006 9:00pm
JDNYU:
There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of awareness about it in the law school (but then I'm not on a lot of listservs so I might just be missing out).
4.3.2006 9:24pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
"Less than the VC is saying about it," would be one non-NYUer's guess.
4.3.2006 9:35pm
Nobody Special:
Godwin's Law only applies to calling your opponent a Nazi. Saying it is ok to ban Nazi (or KKK, or whatever) speech is not an invocation of the Law.
4.3.2006 9:56pm
JDNYU:
Nobody,

We're Godwin purists around here. "The Law states: 'As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.'" (quoting Volokh's writeup of the issue, linked to by NYU Jew in his post).

There was indeed a comparison involving Nazis. In any case, the law is descriptive; it's not invoked, as such.
4.3.2006 10:03pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
I don't think anyone cares or has heard about the incident. Some faculty seem to think that the university did the right thing. I sent an email to Sexton and McLaughlin (the provost). No response as of yet.
4.3.2006 10:08pm
abb3w:
Nobody Special: sorry, you are mistaken. Even in the original definition, it merely referes to a comparison to Nazis or Hitler, and does not specify that the object of the comparison be a person. See Wikipedia for a brief discussion, and then you can check the original Usenet post archived on Google Groups.
4.3.2006 10:10pm
PinkyGen (mail):
As a NYU law student, I haven't seen much discussion at the law school. (Albeit I was swamped with NYU "Law Revue" rehearsals). Then again, it has been my observation that the Law school is fairly disconnected from the larger goings on here at NYU.
4.3.2006 10:24pm
davidbernstein (mail):
The obvious solution here is to get the Federalist Society at the law school to take up the issue, with a panel on the cartoons and their legal implications, including NYU's reaction, and advertise that they are showing the cartoons. Would NYU dare to stop this when they know a bunch of law students are involved, and with several prominent ACLUers on the faculty? I doubt it, but it's a win-win either way: either NYU relents, or its cowardice will get much more attention, and potentially some lawsuits for violation of NYU's own rules.
4.3.2006 11:14pm
Another NYU JD:
I'm a law student here, and within the liberal circles there was definitely a brief uproar. The Law Students for Human Rights listserv originally had a user who sent out a call to action to get Sexton to cancel the event (alas, in the end they succeeded), and then what followed was a whole bunch of liberals who either believe in open discussion or ones who, in my mind, are hypocrites and believe in free expression when it suits their own ideas. It was definitely something that has been discussed, however, at least I've personally been involved in many debates over the issue.
4.3.2006 11:38pm
hiqnerd (mail):
Here's a letter from one student...
4.3.2006 11:40pm
hiqnerd (mail):
And a column...
4.3.2006 11:42pm
iamcool388:
I'm an undergrad at NYU (Stern Business School) and the mood among my friends is one of resignation. Many people expected the event to be either cancelled by the administration or sabotaged by various student groups.

A typical reaction when asked about the events cancellation would be, "Oh, were you expecting it to actually take place?" followed by a condescending look at the naivete of the person asking the question.

Its sad how we have become so used to administration cowering down from protecting "politically incorrect" events.
4.4.2006 12:20am
Jake (mail):
Be discussing the issue tomorrow in my Constitution Class, let you know what the general opinion is.

I shared my opinion here already.
4.4.2006 12:20am
JonC:
As a recent NYU alum ('05) with friends still at the school, my personal reaction has been one of dismay and disappointment, although in all honesty I can't say that administration's actions came as a shock in the slightest. Everyone else that I've talked to who's still on campus pretty much feels the same way. A friend of mine at NYU related to me that when she saw the advertisement for the event, she couldn't believe the administration was permitting it. Unfortunately, her intuition was correct.

You can see responses from some other NYU-ers in the comments sections following these student newspaper articles:

"Danish Cartoons Inspire Debate"

"Prayer and Protest"

Sadly, the editorial board of the student newspaper, which is typically very stridently anti-administration, has not had a single word of criticism of the administration on this issue and seems to view the NYU Objectivists' Club as the most blameworthy party in the whole matter.
4.4.2006 12:55am
Anthony (mail) (www):
Why is it so imperative to discuss this topic at NYU?! In my opinion there have already been enough discussions on this topic and with due respect to the students of NYU I doubt that another one at the University would be able to produce something new.
4.4.2006 8:40am
Oris (mail) (www):
Anthony,

It's not so much that it's imperative that this discusion take place at NYU, but that NYU cancelled the event once it was planned. If no one at NYU were particularly interested in displaying and discussing the cartoons on campus, that would be fine. It's the principle of the thing. I am appalled that NYU is refusing to permit a controversial discussion, not that no one at NYU is initiating such discussion. And refusing to permit the organizers to invite members of the outside world is a sufficiently severe limitation to warrant just as much criticism as prohibiting the panel altogether.
4.4.2006 10:32am
REL (mail):
Anthony,
I'm glad that we've had "enough discussions" on this topic. Please let me know when we've had "enough discussions" on other topics. I for one nominate abortion, civil rights, religion and politics for topics that we've had "enough discussions" on. I addition, please let me know what constitutes "enough discussions" because it seems to be a great way to end debate on any topic.
4.4.2006 10:49am
Josh Wexler (mail) (www):
I graduated NYU in 2000 and have applied to graduate Politics program for the Fall. I found the University's actions and words very disturbing, and I am reconsidering my interest in attending. At the very least, I will be asking my prospective department questions about their committment to academic freedom and free speech.
4.4.2006 12:48pm
DJ (mail):
To all current and future NYUers who are disturbed by the administration's actions here: Why not give the University of Chicago a try? It's one of the last places that still embraces the markeplace of ideas.
4.4.2006 3:53pm
Hoosier:
REL--Can I nominate constitutional law? Not a day goes by when I don't see some debate on this topic at VC. Isn't enough enough? Can we get on to, say, gardening? Aqua Teen Hunger Force?
4.4.2006 5:37pm
FreeSpeech@NYU (mail):
I am a 1999 NYU Law alumni. I am appalled, but not surprised.

In 1997, Judge Posner gave the Madison Lecture, and groups of students complained that the school was hosting "too many" conservative speakers.

During the 1998-99 year, 2Ls on the Law Review complained that the Articles Department was publishing "too many" conservative articles, and for several weeks seriously discussed cutting back on such authors.

You can hardly walk through the hallways of NYU Law without bumping into ACLU counsel, but a fortress of free speech it is not.
4.4.2006 6:45pm