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Academic Double Talk

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by Jaxhawk

[1] [2] [3]

In another example of how liberal academia can stifle free speech for the majority opinion in the name of protecting minorities. The following is a description of an ongoing issue at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. A university founded in 1853 with over 50,000 students, has been embroiled in a freedom of speech issue by a 48 year old vice-President of Student affairs who appears to be more concerned about the rights a hundred or so Muslim students than she does of Free Speech for all.

Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Florida (UF), recently sent an “Official Response to a recent advertisement for the movie ‘Obsession’” to students at UF. The email, which ostensibly sought to attenuate stereotypes of Muslims, instead exacerbated stereotypes of academic feminists. The email is reproduced in its entirety with my comments interspersed where necessary: "Throughout our country, we have witnessed a rise in offensive behavior and actions taken against others, which has created greater divisiveness and misunderstandings among the various ethnic groups residing in our communities.

At first, I assumed Patricia was talking about The Vagina Monologues, affirmative action, the conversion of February to “Black History Month,” or, perhaps, the conversion of March to “Womyn’s Herstory Month.” But, alas, I was wrong. She meant something else.

Advertisements for the movie "Obsession" sponsored by several student organizations appeared during the past several weeks on campus bulletin boards and they illustrate the importance of balancing freedom of speech with responsibility. Generally, when a feminist speaks of balancing “freedom of speech with responsibility,” she provides examples.

Since Ms. Telles failed to do so in her email I have supplied an example of each: According to feminists, “vagina” = responsible and, therefore, protected speech. “Partial birth abortion” = irresponsible (read: inflammatory) and, therefore, unprotected speech. The ads, which promoted a showing of the movie on Nov. 13 and a panel discussion afterward, entitled "Radical Islam Wants You Dead," offended many Muslim students on campus. Regardless of its original intent, the language reinforced a negative stereotype, created unnecessary divisiveness and contributed to a generalization that only furthers the misunderstanding of the religion of Islam".

No stranger to free speech issues of late, University of Florida officials are now under fire for criticizing students who recently hung fliers on campus reading “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.”

In addition to a formal complaint by activist group FIRE, State Attorney General Bill McCollum claims UF officials stifled free speech by asking the students who posted the fliers to apologize for offending Muslims. In a Dec. 3 letter, McCollum accused Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students.” McCollum's office said as late as Tuesday that he was still unsatisfied with UF’s response to his concerns, and he has asked his staff to research any actions that he should take to ensure the UF students’ constitutional rights are protected, according to his letter.

The students who made the fliers were promoting a film about Islamic terrorism called “Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West.” In a recent letter on the subject of the Islam fliers, UF President Bernie Machen said the university’s response was intended to promote tolerance in a world that’s been short on it lately.(blogger's note: in light of 9/11, I think Americans have been very tolerant .After Pearl Harbor, all Japanese were put in internment camps!)

Machen cited the placing of a hangman’s noose on a Columbia University faculty member’s door recently as one of several troubling examples of hatred on college campuses. A noose is a far cry from restricting free speech. You can't yell fire in a crowded theater either. “This is a very fine line—which we walk every day—between guaranteeing free speech and ensuring that those who engage in it feel secure in their ability to speak their minds,” Machen wrote to state Rep. Adam Hasner, the Republican majority leader who has been critical of UF's response. Hasner, R-Delray Beach, sent a letter to Machen last week asking that Telles-Irvin give a public apology and be reprimanded for her actions.

Like McCollum, Hasner says he’s still not satisfied with UF’s response. “I believe that their statement was inadequate in addressing what the fundamental concern was, and the fundamental concern is still that the events that have taken place are troubling in the sense that the University of Florida appears not to be taking the issue of free speech very seriously,” he said. “And (this incident) is one that is very troubling in light of all the recent incidents at the University of Florida, and this is yet another failure to recognize the seriousness of the problem.”

Unfortunately this type of stifling of speech is prevalent in most Colleges and Universities though out the United States, where you will find a bastion of left wing professors and professor "wanna-bees" spreading their diversity and PC drivel!





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