An excerpt from his post:
So does [the item in the student newspaper] paint Islam in a nice light? No. Is it one-sided? Yes, but that was kind of the point. The students were responding to what they thought was a one-sided and overly rosy depiction of Islam during Islamic Awareness week. But is it unprotected harassment!? One certainly hopes not, or else "harassment" just became a truly lethal threat to free speech -- an "exception" that completely swallows the rule....
If what the complaining students wanted to say was that the [newspaper's] facts were wrong, then -- while this still would not be harassment -- that could have been an interesting debate. But instead, in sadly predictable fashion, the students plowed ahead with a harassment claim that, based on the hearing panel's decision, appeared not even to raise the issue of whether or not the statements in the ad were true, but turned only on how they made people feel.
To be fair, I take it the students' claim was that the collection of facts was one-sided and unfair -- but surely giving universities the power to punish students for newspaper articles that are seen by some as one-sided and unfair is a power that's lethal to freedom of discussion.
Lukianoff goes on:
I doubt that the Tufts disciplinary board thought through the full ramifications of their actions. If a Muslim student had published these same statements in an article calling for reform in Islam, would that be harassment? If Tufts wished to be at all consistent (a dubious bet here), it would be.
Since those students and faculty obviously did not think about the ramifications of this decision, we put it to you, President Bacow: do you think the publication of factual assertions should be a punishable offense if they hurt the wrong people's feelings, regardless of whether or not they are true?
All Related Posts (on one page) | Some Related Posts:
- Governments -- Don't "Inflexibly Cling To Free Speech ... With Absolute Disregard for Religious Feelings":
- McLean's Article on the Campaign to Create an International Law Norm Banning "Defamation of Religion":
- Opinion Preliminarily Enjoining SFSU Civility Code...
- Stanley Fish on the Tufts Case Involving Blasphemous Speech and Harshly Anti-Affirmative-Action Speech:
- FIRE's Greg Lukianoff on the Tufts Punishment of Blasphemy:
- "Intentionally Putting a Negative Spin on Islam" -- Flabbergasting!...
- The Effort to Ban "Defamation of Religion" and the Democracy Deficit of International Law:
- Baltimore Hebrew University Professor Supporting Legal Penalties for "Negative Depiction of Religion":
- A New International Law "Value" -- Freedom from "Defamation of Religions"?