Campus Free Speech

Brandeis Students: We Demand Diverse Commencement Speakers Who Won't Offend Us

They want a woman of color, but not the one they disinvited last year.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The editorial board of The Justice, Brandeis University's independent student newspaper, would like it to be known that the university's commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients have not been sufficiently diverse as of late. "Only five women and four people of color have been awarded honorary degrees in the last five years, out of 26 degrees handed out during the same time frame," the editors lamented in this article.

Ironically enough, Brandeis considered giving an honorary degree to a woman of color last year, but was met with furious opposition from students and professors… some of the editors of The Independent among them, reports The Daily Caller's Eric Owens:

A vocal contingent of students and professors on the fancypants, $60,300-per-year Brandeis campus balked at the idea of the university bestowing an honorary degree on such a notable critic of Islam. They feared Muslims' feelings might be hurt.

Editors at The Justice helped lead the charge to convince the administration to rescind Hirsi Ali's invitation to campus.

At least a few students have taken notice:

"The hypocrisy would be funny if it weren't so sad," senior Daniel Mael wrote on his Facebook page.

The "same paper that called for" Hirsi Ali "to be disinvited is now complaining that an insufficient number of women and people of color have received honorary degrees in the last five years."

The Justice's editors, to their slight credit, appear to realize how hypocritical they look, and hedged their editorial by calling for a "thorough" vetting process to find diverse speakers who will meet community standards of inoffensiveness:

We urge the Board to strive to include a diverse group for this year, while still maintaining the thorough research necessary considering last year's backlash. 

With the scrutiny surrounding last year's commencement activities, it would be natural for the Board to take a potentially overly conservative approach when selecting this year's honorary degree recipients. 

We urge the Board to remember the purpose of the day—the celebration of the graduating students. This year, when there will likely be a heightened focus on who is selected, we urge the Board to select a diverse group of recipients, reflective of the diverse campus on which we live.

I would point out that Brandeis—a private university that can be as anti-free-speech as it wants, even though it's named after a famed First Amendment defender—is going to have a difficult time picking people that meet these qualifications, since most speakers with something worth hearing will be objectionable to one member of the campus or another.

More from Reason on the Ayaan Hirsi Ali controversy here.

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  1. griefers gonna grief, yo

  2. Pansy ass losers with no intellectual spine.

  3. Let’s see. Janice Rogers Brown? Thomas Sowell? Clarence Thomas? J.C. Watts? Ben Carson? Or, I dunno, someone Asian?

    1. Your ideas intrigue me, and I am interested in subscribing to any newsletters you may publish.

      1. I’m just trying to promote diversity.

        1. That’s the wrong kind of diversity.

          1. “That’s the wrong kind of diversity.”

            You just “Othered” PL’s diversity.

            Please acknowledge and accept your Privileges:…..Privilege/

            1. I am being very serious. What is the difference between Privilege and Original Sin?

              1. One is a fairy tale to help mentally crippled people make their way through the world and the other one was in the Bible.

                1. When did the Privilege movement take off? I had never heard the word used in that context until about 2011. I’m sure it has a long history of use in academia, but when did it turn into a mainstream movement?

                  1. It was modernized in ’88 with roots in social justice (Marxism) going back at least a century before then.

                  2. “What is the difference between Privilege and Original Sin?”


                    Having just scanned the latter and being aware of the former for only a few months, I am useless to you here. I am very interested in what others who are more knowledgeable than myself have to write, however.

                    1. That’s for Caleb.

        2. The opposite of diversity is University.

  4. I would point out that Brandeis?a private university that can be as anti-free-speech as it wants, even though it’s named after a famed First Amendment defender?is going to have a difficult time picking people that meet these qualifications, since most speakers with something worth hearing will be objectionable to one member of the campus or another.

    It’s okay if speakers are objectionable to people with the wrong viewpoints, silly.

  5. Does Brandeis hold students captive and force them to walk on stage to receive their degree. If not, then just stay home if you find the commencement speaker to be vile. If so, then too bad. The fact that you just completed a degree doesn’t mean that you know everything.

    1. It’s not about knowing everything. It’s about feeling everything. And they are expert feelers.

      1. And I will point out that the pseudo-intellectual garbage that enables this philosophy is easy to learn because everything is relative, everything is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t need to make sense, it only needs to stoke the right reaction from the right people.

      2. I liked going to a large university, but I hated the “college town” scene. I loved getting away and talking to people in the real world.

        1. When did the Privilege movement take off? I had never heard the word used in that context until about 2011. I’m sure it has a long history of use in academia, but when did it turn into a mainstream movement?

          1. Sorry, I meant to reply to SugarFree.

  6. It is depressing to think how much these students’ parents and teachers have let them down and indeed how much they have let themselves down. They have basically turned themselves into mindless self centered fanatics. Not only is that bad for the country, since they presumably had the potential to have been productive and thoughtful people and now are not, it is bad for them. How does thinking like this end in anything but a life of ignorance and perpetual misery and victimhood?

    1. My father took me to see George Wallace on a campaign stop when he was running for president. He filled out a pledge card for a large dollar amount and put his bosses name on the card. He taught me well.

      1. That is a fucking great story.

        1. That is what you call “trolling”.

    2. Willful ignorance and victimhood for them and everyone else who is taught to think and feel as they do, and the way things seem to be going eventually a majority of our nation’s citizens will become very similar to them. At which point the (possible) true goal will be realized and the minority of “incorrect thinkers” will indeed live in perpetual misery.

      Just some rambling proto-thoughts, John.

      1. I think these idiots are a small minority. The problem is that they can still do a lot of damage.

  7. I think CAIR will be pleasantly surprised to learn that identification as a Muslim outranks non-white skin and lady parts in the Game of SJWTM.

    1. Game of SJWTM

      Is that on Starz?

      1. It sure as hell better not be! Did I lose my trademark claim to that title by flubbing the html code for a superscript “TM”?

  8. This nonsense has been going on for quite a while.

    My graduation keynote speaker at Berkeley:

    Jonny Moseley

    What that guy had to do with anything, I have no idea.

    1. LOL. We at least had Iacocca.

    2. I had the late Carl Rowan. As I was handed my degree, I turned and gave him a copy of “Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal.” He looked kind of shocked but thanked me.

      1. Did it have an NRA bookmark in it?

    3. I had some professor of Medieval history. The only thing I remember about his speech was that he opened with a question about what was the worst possible sin back in the day and then gleefully informed us that it was sleeping with a nun.

    4. Syracuse Law (nearly) always had Biden as their commencement speaker until he became Vice President. I mean, he’s our most famous alumnus, fine.

      In 2003, the same year I graduated Law School, the commencement speaker for undergrad was Rudy Giuliani. People didn’t like him, but there weren’t really calls to disinvite him. Instead, the people who disagreed with him stood up and turned their backs when he spoke. Seems a better protest than what these people seem to think; the old “I don’t agree with what you’re saying, so you shouldn’t be allowed to talk”

    5. At USC Law we had Dennis Archer, former Mayor of Detroit and Michigan Supreme Court Justice. The only thing I remember about his speech was him saying he was “the product of Affirmative Action.” I think that was supposed to make us conclude Affirmative Action was a good thing or something.

      No idea who my undergrad speaker was, because I surmised the whole event would be almost as worthless as my undergrad degree turned out to be.

    6. I would have much rather had Jonny Moseley. We had the president of CPSAN. A prestigious university in DC where Kennedy gave his last major speech before being shot, and we got…who the fuck?

      1. Moseley did do a dinner roll on stage.

        1. That’s fucking awesome.

      2. *CSPAN

  9. The students are the customers. They have a right to ask for a different product.

    1. And we have the right to criticize them! Weird how that works, especially given that no one is arguing they shouldn’t be allowed to say this, merely that they’re morons for doing so.

      But you knew that, didn’t you concern troll?

      1. But you knew that, didn’t you concern troll?

        It’s not concern trolling. It’s Asperger’s. Don’t feed the condition, but rather, encourage the sufferer to seek help.

        1. Now, now. I’m an aspie, and I manage not to be nearly as much of an asshole.

          1. The comparative was a good choice!

            Perhaps you can contact this poor person and give some hints on where and how to seek therapy?

      2. Don’t respond to her.

        1. Viscount, OMwC, and Los,

          Who are you typing to?

          1. People who are either directly insulting Bo or people who are foolishly feeding Bo’s condition rather than urging Bo to seek help.

            1. Ah… thanks OMwC.

              That person must be invisible to me now.

      3. What’s to criticize? Oh, the White Guy thing again, huh? I wouldn’t be too worried, I’m sure most honorees will still be White Guys.

        1. Oh, the White Guy thing again, huh?

          Hirsi Ali is a white guy?!

          One of us must need to get a new set of glasses. Well, either that, or you’re a idiotic troll.

        2. Honestly Bo, while I agree replying to you is generally worthless, I had sympathy for you when many others called you a troll/blocked/paged you as a concentrated effort/etc, as I thought you were better than what they were saying.

          This comment of yours proves I was wrong. Serves me right for not trusting those who are generally correct as i should’ve known i was missing something. My fault for having a busy day job and not being able to see most of these things play out in real time.

          But live and learn – as when you are truly pushed, and that raises the stress levels high enough, the normal person starts to lose the normal ways they handle stress, leading them to react in their default mode of behavior.

          You were pushed – I felt sorry for you – then you proved with your default behavior you’re nothing but a worthless troll.

          Reminds me of Thoreau – towards the end when he was far left, but never wanted to admit it – just try to push people into stupid arguments in a desire to prove to himself how correct he was all along – and then he ran away.

          Whether you run or not, unless your posts change, I’m done – not that you should care necessarily nor does anyone need my approval, but, from me to you:

          Goodbye Bo – this is my last reply to you (and no, I don’t filter).

      4. HOLY SHIT.

        Back here the very next day, like nothing happened.

        Fucking remarkable.

        1. Yes, you don’t phase me. I would have thought that’s the usual reaction you get in life.

        2. Who are you typing to, Playa?

        3. ? It would be like groundhog day if not for one thing. ? 😉

          1. What happened yesterday? One of the neighbors down the road had a tree fall on the power lines, and it knocked out power further up the road (I’m at the end of a dead-end road) for 17 hours. (The utility wasn’t about to remove the tree at night, apparently.)

            1. 5 hundo page thread where Bo’s true identity of a troll who has stalked out basically every political site known to man since 2009 and chided people for being “racist” by not sufficiently genuflecting to Obama was outed.

              1. *post

              2. Awwww sheeeit. Which thread?

                1. It’s linked to downthread

    2. In all honesty, the graduation speaker tradition is a joke. Who listens to it? Who heeds any of it? It’s largely canned bullshit.

      1. A related question: who goes to college graduation ceremonies in the first place?

    3. But aren’t who is given an honorary degree from the university, the right of the trustees of said university?

  10. With diverse speakers will come diverse viewpoints. Someone is bound to get pissed in some way. And if no one does, these whiny bitches aren’t trying hard enough to be offended.

    1. Brandies has been making a big push lately to appeal to non-Jewish students lately.

      1. Ignore the sock. I’m stunned she has the audacity to even try this after getting completely outed last night.

        1. ” after getting completely outed last night.”

          Yeah, whatever.

        2. I missed the thread last night. Can you summarize?

          1. “Boo hoo hoo,” said Cindy Lou Who.

              1. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist.

                1. No, totally justified given the recent turn of events. Also, quite witty, as usual.

            1. I don’t actually have the time or interest to read 524 comments. When Epi says “she” I just wondered if it was the shame “she” that posted deranged works of art on Youtube that quoted me as say things I never said.

              1. No. If I understand correctly, Hyperion recognized her as an assholish prog frequenting the comment boards of Politico a few years back.

                When he first confronted her shortly after she started commenting here, she claimed that the politico commenter wasn’t her. But over time she wrote more and more like the politico commenter to the point that Hyperion is convinced that they are one and the same.

                Which kind of explains something. I thought Bo didn’t really get libertarianism, and seemed more interested in assigning people to cliques and lecturing them as to whether or not they were writing goodthinkful comments according to the group’s belief systems.

                It turns out she was a proggie and couldn’t in her bones not see the world in collectivist terms.

                I predict a future teaching law and miseducating law school graduates who then have to be untrained and then retrained by their firms as to how law actually works. Or waiting tables. The latter might be socially more beneficial.

                1. Wait wait wait. I just figured out who you people think Bo Cara is. I assume there’s a reason you aren’t naming names, so I won’t either.

                  It’s… more plausible than I expected. She doesn’t seem to be a law student, but then, neither does Bo, really.

                  1. Some of us are more dense than others. I have no idea who she might be.

                    1. Of course you wouldn’t have any idea. But it only takes a bit of Googling based on Hyperion’s comments.

                      I’m only admitting it’s a compelling hypothesis, which would require more evidence to raise itself to the level of a theory. A good start would be to look at these posts that Hyperion is referring to.

                    2. Is it somebody we’re not supposed to talk about?

                    3. No, it’s not L— OH YOU ALMOST HAD ME THERE.

                      It’s not a public figure, and naming names publically would not be a good idea. Especially if we’re wrong. Which is very, very possible.

              2. AND, you may want to linger on the “elf sex”. Elf Sex girl is HAWT!

                1. I will have to linger at home tonight.

        3. “Ignore the sock. I’m stunned she has the audacity to even try this after getting completely outed last night.”

          Who are you typing to, Epi?

          1. Go here, Chuck. Be warned, it’s very long.

            1. Got it, thanks.

              Old Man gave me the clue I needed (above) and I responded: “Ah… thanks OMwC.

              That person must be invisible to me now.”

              My vision is much improved.

              I have to go, so have a great day.

              1. I live to educate.

  11. “We demand diversity!”

    “……but not that diverse.”

    We talk about the mask slipping from time to time, but I feel this seals the deal on the mask being completely off. Diversity, to them, just means confirmation bias. An echo chamber.

    1. They’d like to see more racial diversity but they don’t want it to trump everything else. You’d think that’d be commendable.

      1. They’d like to see more racial diversity but they don’t want it to trump everything else. You’d think that’d be commendable.

        That’s right, Bo. It’s commendable that any blacks who break from the the hive mind should be castigated as Uncle Toms. If you can’t keep them on the electoral plantation, what’s the point of championing racial diversity in the first place, right proggy?

        1. You’re assuming logical thought rather than unfocused word salads that are typical with many types of Asperger’s sufferers. Best not to engage Bo on that level, but continue to encourage treatment and support so that Bo may be able to lead at least a mostly normal life.

      2. LETELU: Looks Exotic; Thinks Exactly Like Us

    2. Diversity of race. Not of thought. They demand homogeneity of thought.

  12. Have to love the people urging others to ignore me lambasting the students for not wanting to hear certain speakers. Lol

    1. Have to hate a retard with no powers of introspection.

      1. It’s not retardation. Many Asperger’s sufferers have normal intelligence in areas other than social interaction. I’m not claiming that’s the case here, but it’s possible.

        1. Of course, it could be neither retardation nor Asperger’s. It’s possible it’s just the case that BoTard is an asshole.

          1. It’s odd how so many of them cannot or just refuse to grasp the idea that this is a reputation economy. When you are bankrupt, because you lie or are a needless contrarian to get your kicks, it’s time to just go–assuming you are capable of shame or possess any glimmer of human dignity.

            Those that don’t become a kickball like Tony or shrike (and feed off the scraps of attention that people deign to give them, like the pathetic creatures they are) or they start handle-hopping and cower on weekend threads like Tulpa, becoming sad, craven things that have to trick people into talking to them–like panhandlers begging for spare change.

            Time will tell, I suppose.

            1. I think inability to understand how a reputation economy works is intimately related to the social retardation they show. You don’t get one without the other. Because a reputation economy is pure socialization. Note how much they fucking hate that, too, and mislabel it a “clique” or something equally stupid.

              1. Well, we are fairly cliquish, but that’s just how humans work. We all have orbits we move into and move out of all the time, and we all craft and tweak our responses based on what we know about the audience we are speaking to. But blundering with the same harglebargle all the time is just boring.

        2. I think the Asperger’s diagnosis gets tossed around too easily.

          I think it’s fibromyalgia, combined with a candida infection.

          1. I think it’s fibromyalgia, combined with a candida infection.

            They could make it together

  13. How about the Care Bears as Commencement Speakers at Brandies? They are all different colors and have never offended anyone. Their appearance would perfectly represent everything your university has come to stand for.

  14. Well. That answers that, then.

    1. Now, come on, who among us hasn’t done something to get Reason sued? *cough*

  15. I must be an idiot because I didn’t think I was breaking any rules. If someone called “Marco Amand” started posting here with a style similar to you-know-who, it would get people thinking.

    1. Look, we all make mistakes. But reason does not like people’s identities being posted here without the person’s express permission, especially non-famous or public people. And not without cause. Think of it as a courtesy to reason to not do so.

    2. Sorry everyone for putting my dick in the mashed potatoes. I do that sometimes.

      1. Is there something wrong with putting your dick in the mashed potatoes?

        News to me.

        1. No. Just don’t get caught.

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