Campus Free Speech

Columbia U. Radio Station Admits to Censoring Author, Wanted to Shield Religion from Criticism

Does not reflect 'our station's values and more importantly our university's values.'

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Columbia
Jsquish

Never underestimate the capacity for secular institutions of higher education to protect religious belief from scrutiny. Columbia University's radio station invited author Laurie Stone to read her work over the air, but prohibited her from uttering the following line: "Women who live in secular countries and conform to religious dress codes make the lives of all women less free and less safe."

A student producer told Stone that the line—which comes from her book, My Life as an Animal, Stories—does not reflect "our station's values and more importantly our university's values," according to the National Coalition Against Censorship.

What's more, the producer described her own actions as a form of censorship. "We can continue this evening with the lines explicitly censored, but there is no wiggle room on the censorship," she told Stone.

Stone refused, and instead took to Facebook to complain. The radio station didn't like that:

WKCR's Arts Department Head, Danielle Fox, then emailed Ms. Stone demanding that she remove the Facebook post on the grounds it contained "personal information" and "harassing comments." In the Facebook post, Stone claimed Courville treated her like a "antichrist bitch."

One need not agree with Stone's opinions to be disturbed about a university refusing to give airtime to a particular view because it might offend a particular religion. Not questioning religious dictates, it seems, is one of Columbia's "values." (Keep in mind that this is the same university that once hosted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

The station has since apologized and offered assurances that it remains committed to robust freedom of expression. Offering Stone another chance to read her work would probably be the best way to prove that.

Hat tip: The College Fix

NEXT: Cliff Maloney Jr. and the Fight for Free Speech on College Campuses

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  1. on the grounds it contained “personal information” and “harassing comments.”

    They think everyone lives life inside the academe bubble.

    1. well in her defense, she is an ignorant cunt…just saying

      1. ooops, did I really type that? all the haterz will be after me now…best to beat feet!

  2. Robbo,
    You might get more clicks if you report on Project Veritas instead of ratting him/them out.

    1. Listen, shitlord. If a convicted burglar tells you his cellmate in jail bragged about raping your wife and even showed him pictures of it, you’re going to discount it because the messenger isn’t righteous. That’s just common fucking sense, right?

      1. Glad you’re still commenting here. I miss the commenters who have left til after the election.(Injun, we need more videos)

        1. ^This. I hope Irish will return, even though he was just a tad racist (kidding!).

          1. That is funny. Everyone knows he was extremely racist.

            1. “What kind of name is ‘Foval?’ Sounds… ethnic.” [turns up nose] /Irish

          2. Irish too, that racist fucker. (jk)

        2. I’M STILL HERE YOU INGRATES

          1. What is this blank space above? This happens on the first comment of am/pm links too…

            1. Without me you people would be standing around during Links wondering what to do.

              1. At every middle school dance everyone stands on their side of the room until one brave soul ventures across that infinite plain.

    2. Keep pushing that boulder…

    3. You’re telling the resident click-bait maestro how to get views? You even blog, brah?

      1. If he was good at he’d already be at his dream job at Jezebel.

    4. You could start by linking to it in your handle URL…

  3. Progressive stack.

    1. Yep. Its not at all what Robby suggests

      e.g. “”protect(ing) religious belief from scrutiny”

      I have no doubt a quick search of the same radio station’s broadcasts will find plenty of examples of criticism of “religion” – provided its the right one.

      Its not about religion writ-large, its that Stone’s point applies specifically to Islamic women.

      I’m pretty sure they’d let anyone rant all they want about how opposition to abortion is standing in the way of civilization, or that circumcision is torture, or whatever.

      In fact, i’d guess they’d probably be cool with some watered-down descriptions of “Laicite” as an improvement on the general American status-quo.

      Its just that they can’t tolerate criticism of an in-group. And anything that dings moozies is no-good.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking. It would be interesting to see what religions are being protected from scrutiny in academia these days. Just the one known for having violent temper fits when criticized, or any others?

        I suspect you would pick up a little pro-Islam and pro-Judaism censorship here and there, depending on the school.

      2. “Its just that they can’t tolerate criticism of an in-group. And anything that dings moozies is no-good.”

        While obviously quite true, this observation always puzzles me. Here you have a religion which is still a major one in many parts of the world, and it makes no bones about how it treats women, gays, etc. Even many so-called moderates are openly homophobic, transphobic, and condone blatant racism (see Sudan/South Sudan, for example, or the way fellow-Islamic but non-Arab guest workers are treated in the UAE),

        And, in the more hardcore cases, you have numerous examples of murderers and rapists of women going unpunished, and gays being thrown off roofs.

        1. America is the bad guy. American Fascist illegitimate election thief Bush-Hitler attacked the Taliban to steal oil for Hailburton. Ergo, Taliban = good guy.

        2. Its because lefties have no principles. They’ll embrace homophobic mysogynists in a heartbeat if the Right-Wing is perceived to be in a beef with them.

          There’s also (and i think HM could probably expand) the whole Israel/Palestine thing, which has made the Moozies into global-perma-victims, and therefore Kosher* by proggy standards.

          *couldn’t help it.

          1. What progtards do with Islam is far worse than defending it; they simply pretend that the rapes, honor killings, wife beating, subjugation of women, executions of homosexuals, beheadings of apostates and heretics, and assorted barbarism do not exist.

          2. My working theory is that it’s because “lefties” are actually on the extreme right – wannabe aristocrats, secular clericists, and crypto-monarchists. And their monarchism isn’t the new-fangled “divine right of kings” sort either, but rather the older medieval “first among equals” sort.

            Leftists find Muslims to be simpatico because of the commonality of their basically medieval political mindsets.

        3. Because progressives don’t particularly care one way or the other about the rapists and murderers. For progressives, they aren’t the enemy. The “unenlightened” (conservatives, libertarians, the bourgeois lower middle class) in the West are the enemy. And if taking an unsavory ally in that war is what it takes, well, Roosevelt and Churchill were willing to play footsies with Stalin when that was what it took to beat Hitler (Okay, for progressives, Roosevelt and Stalin were willing to play footsies with Churchill when that was what it took to beat Hitler).

          1. I suppose I should have read the replies before I jumped in with my cent-and-a-half’s worth (inflation, dont’cha know).

        4. Basically, the Left is not necessarily anti-religion, or pro-gay, or pro-women. They are anti-West. They’ll use anything they can to damage European and U.S. society and Western ideals. Islam is just a tool.

      3. Yep, it’s clear as day this is not about “religion”, it’s about “punching down”.

  4. Wouldn’t surprise me if these universities would invite an Imam and not bat an eye if he went all jihady with his stupid views.

    OT but related a couple of years back asshole Quebec hard core (and racist) nationalist film maker Pierre Felardeau called Canada a ‘nation of assholes’ on a prime time sports show. Not one person on the panel told the fucker off nor was he censored (not that I care) or was it mentioned anywhere else the next day.

    1. Wouldn’t surprise me if these universities would invite an Imam and not bat an eye if he went all jihady with his stupid views.

      I mean, haven’t they already basically done that by hosting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? I know he’s not an imam, but…

    2. One can imagine what would happen of Don Cherry called the Quebec nationalists assholes.

    3. Well, Canada *is* a nation of assholes.

  5. WKCR’s Arts Department Head, Danielle Fox, then emailed Ms. Stone demanding that she remove the Facebook post on the grounds it contained “personal information” and “harassing comments.”

    Once you catch that censor bug, it’s hard to stop.

    1. need a little fire, fox?

  6. Side observation: When I used to type “re” into the address bar, it autofilled to H&R. Now it autofills to realclearpolitics.com.

    That’s how bad the shitty writing around here and the bulldog-like determination with which only one of the two “major” candidates is being covered have driven me away. Congratulations, assholes. You continue to drive ardent libertarians away with your slide to irrelevancy.

    1. You could always ignore the articles and come here just to hang out with us.

      1. Especially you, Tonio. And especially on articles about religion and/or abortion. Those are some of my favorite conversations.
        /no snark

        1. Aw, thanks, Ken. Hope that you, Banjos and the kids are all well.

    2. You continue to drive ardent libertarians away with your slide to irrelevancy.

      And yet…

      You seem like a decent guy, Sloop. Both you and RC have been around longer than me. Is that part of the problem? Are you so personally invested in this one particular site that you’d rather just keep bitching about how bad it’s getting? More importantly, does this require a new rule in the drinking game?

      1. Are you so personally invested in this one particular site that you’d rather just keep bitching about how bad it’s getting?

        Are there other libertarian news/commentary-sites that we should know about?

        1. ^^ this. This site is the “best” meaningfully because it is the “only.”

        2. Yeah, we’re kind of stuck with H&R unless someone comes up with another site. Also, we’d have to post our own links, etc.

        3. Well I Googled libertarian news sites and got a bazillion hits. That being said, I don’t know how many let you swear in the comments.

          1. My point was that your “Fuck off somewhere else then, hater!”-rejoinder is sort of hopeless. I presume you got that, tho.

            1. When did I tell anyone to fuck off? I asked why people who seem to hate the place now stay.

              I guess I shouldn’t expect more from you than to confuse curiosity with passive aggressiveness tho.

              1. We’re libertarians, that’s how we roll….

        4. Libertarian republic? Idk. This really is the best one.

      2. Where else are we supposed to go? This used to be “the” place libertartian minds openly debated the wide range of libertarian ideas based on the subject matter the author tackled. Now its just a bunch of Trump -bashing (some of it libelous to the degree the author quietly edits it) over innuendo and unsubstantiated claims while ignoring massive malfeasance on the part of Clinton, her foundation/slush fund and her being a disgusting war-monger.

        Maybe we think its worth fighting for. Maybe we want to know all that money we threw at the Reason Foundation over the years wasn’t a total waste. And maybe, for one of us anyway, its because we don’t want to have to explain to our daughter a decade from now that we named her after what has become a left-wing propaganda site that used to be something to be proud of.

        1. Suggestion: legally change her name to “Buzzfeed.” Ten years from now listicles will rule us all, and your kid will be associated with a powerful trendsetter.

        2. Your daughter is named Hitanrun? Sounds Navajo

          1. Well Brickbat sounded too hipster-y for my tastes. And that little experiment failed anyway.

            1. When i worked at a ski resort, i met a kid named Toaster. He was maybe 7. Cool kid.

        3. Is voicing your extreme displeasure in the comments section of their blog really the best way to go about it?

          1. Is voicing your extreme displeasure in the comments section of their blog really the best way to go about it?

            *waits patiently to hear all about “The Better Way”

            1. You’ll be waiting a long time if you expect me to suggest how you could better spend your time. I didn’t think that the majority of people around here were helpless children who need constant direction.

              1. Oh, that was a rhetorical question?

        4. “Maybe we want to know all that money we threw at the Reason Foundation over the years wasn’t a total waste.” Yep. This used to be the I could send the libertarian-curious to. It was worth paying money to have Welch and the others out there preaching it.

          I remember learning so much here about Fed rates, housing, etc. during the 2008 crash. I got a pretty good education in Austrian economics for free. Not possible here now.

      3. More importantly, does this require a new rule in the drinking game?

        Probably, but i gotta talk to my organ guy about getting a replacement liver lined up first.

  7. Never underestimate the capacity for secular institutions of higher education to protect selected religious belief[s] from scrutiny.

    Fixed that for you, Robbo.

    And while it disgusts me to have to write this, they would have totally been down with criticizing the pope for his views on abortion, etc. The left has a huge double-standard for Islam vs other religions. So does the right, just in a different direction.

    1. And while it disgusts me to have to write this, they would have totally been down with criticizing the pope for his views on abortion, etc.

      Too progressive a stance and too politically enabled to ‘punch back’. Criticizing Mennonites, Mormons, or Quakers for their dress codes is more like it. They’re not just anti-religious assholes, they’re cowardly anti-religious assholes.

  8. For the record: When Columbia University hosted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2007, they put out the following robust defense of free speech as a press release. They no longer believe it, though I do wonder if they’d still host someone like Ahmadinejad and use the same excuses. Modern universities tend to be blind like that.

    Sept. 19, 2007

    On Monday, September 24, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is scheduled to appear as a speaker on campus. The event is sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs (see SIPA announcement), which has been in contact with the Iranian Mission to the United Nations. The event will be part of the annual World Leaders Forum, the University-wide initiative intended to further Columbia’s longstanding tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues.

    In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the president on issues including:

    1. the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust;
      his public call for the destruction of the State of Israel;
      his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;
      Iran’s pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;
      his government’s widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women’s rights; and
      his government’s imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh (see President Bollinger’s statement on Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh’s release).

      I would like to add a few comments on the principles that underlie this event. Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas?to understand the world as it is and as it might be. To fulfill this mission we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes. Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious. We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialogue and reason.

    2. I would also like to invoke a major theme in the development of freedom of speech as a central value in our society. It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naivet? about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.

      That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today sharpens the point of what we do here. To commit oneself to a life?and a civil society?prepared to examine critically all ideas arises from a deep faith in the myriad benefits of a long-term process of meeting bad beliefs with better beliefs and hateful words with wiser words. That faith in freedom has always been and remains today our nation’s most potent weapon against repressive regimes everywhere in the world. This is America at its best.

    3. One wonders if any university would host Youweri Mousseveni.

  9. Columbia wants to ban Laicite out of respect for freedom and equality. Cute.

  10. oh yea! Antichrist Bitch = my new band name [ins: shredding guitar solo]

  11. our university’s values

    Like using eminent domain to steal property from people in Manhattanville and West Harlem?

  12. Somehow I can’t help but think that if religious criticism was directed at certain groups, of which it is ‘hip’ to criticize, rather than those that it is totally not ‘hip’ to criticize, the radio station wouldn’t have a problem.

    ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’

    1. When people started the “love wins” stuff a year ago, I commented I didn’t realize they supported plural marriage. Needless to say that didn’t go over very well.

      So I pointed out that society seems to be more OK with gay marriage because gays are (thankfully) perceived as less icky than they were a generation ago, while few people are OK with plural marriage because it’s still acceptable to hate on the fundie Mormon types who are the ones who would practice it in the US. That didn’t go over well either.

  13. RE: Columbia U. Radio Station Admits to Censoring Author, Wanted to Shield Religion from Criticism
    Does not reflect ‘our station’s values and more importantly our university’s values.’

    Of course censoring an author does not reflect the station’s values or the university’s values.
    That’s why they engage in censorship at will.
    Columbia University would never do something as nefarious as allowing free speech…I mean censor someone.

  14. Robbo,
    I bet you are doing the PM links. They are late!

    1. Robbo,
      I have to apologize. Scott was doing the links. Funny how no one is giving him crap for being late…

  15. I’m sure these petty tyrants will accrue greater power in time, but their current attempts to push people around are a little underwhelming.

    Columbia U. bully: “If you insist on reading this passage, we will not let you speak on our 500 watt radio station.”

    Author: “Okay then. I’m out of here.”

    Columbia U. bully: “We demand that you take down a Facebook post.”

    Author: “Pound sand.”

    Columbia U. bully: “We’re really sorry. And we’re totally into freedom of expression and stuff.”

  16. Jesus…they sound like a couple of petty shrews.

  17. So the university is thinking they don’t want another Islam basher speaking at their place because?

    1) They feel they shouldn’t compete with the state?
    2) They get enough Islam bashing from the state and are fed up with it?
    3) They are tired of stirring up trouble in foreign countries?
    4) They have more important issues?
    5) Only dumb fucks put down foreign religions in other countries and they aren’t dumb fucks?

    1. When someone shoots Americans on American soil while shouting “Allahu Akbar!!” and representatives of “the state” insist all references to it be removed and that the incident be referred to only as an instance of ‘workplace violence’….it doesn’t really support points #1 and 2 (similar approach to the San Bernadino shooting and others as well).

      Your point #5 is just a personal opinion blanketing all but positive analysis of foreign religions. By that “logic” we should also spin the history of foreign countries to reflect the uniformly virtuous and admirable nature of their behavior in all instances, right?

      Point #3? IF a US citizens’ opinion of some belief system “stirs up trouble in foreign countries”, that trouble is on the people in said foreign country who are so stirred.

      As for point #4…if this issues was given it’s appropriate prioritization (unimportant), the censorship would never have been invoked. IOW, your point has no point.

      People in America have opinions about Islam, informed by varying degrees of knowledge, and some (many) of them are negative. No other religion, no branch or sect of Christianity, has ever held itself to be protected against negative opinions in this country, nor should Islam.

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