Civil Liberties

Even the Professors Union Thinks David Horowitz Should be Allowed to Speak at Colleges!


St. Louis University, a Catholic school, has stopped a David Horowitz appearance, claiming that the controversial speaker might offend Muslims:

"University officials expressed concern that the program in its current form could be viewed as attacking another faith and seeking to cause derision on campus," said a university statement. "Believing that this was not their intent, University officials offered the students several suggestions to modify their program in a way that could achieve their aims while remaining true to the university's Catholic, Jesuit mission and values. Among the suggestions was that the students engage scholars with expertise on historical and theological aspects of Islam to help prepare their program."

So far, this is SOP on a PC campus, right? What's interesting is that the American Association of University Professors, a leading union, is outspoken in Horowitz's speech rights:

Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, issued a statement on the association's Web site, denouncing the university in harsh terms.

"Now that Saint Louis University has cancelled a scheduled October speech by conservative activist David Horowitz, it joins the small group of campuses that are universities in name only," Nelson wrote.

"The free exchange of ideas is not just a comforting offshoot of higher education; it defines the fundamental nature of the enterprise. As the AAUP has long asserted, all recognized campus groups have the right to invite any speakers they wish. The College Republicans exercised that right. There should not have been a mechanism in place for the administration to review the offer to Horowitz and withdraw it. The administration's claim to support academic freedom has been hollowed out by the practical and symbolic effects of this one public act," said Nelson. "A campus that enforces ideological conformity supports indoctrination, not education."

That's about right. More here, from the invaluable Inside Higher Ed.

Jesse Walker and Horowitz debated academic freedom here.