March 29, 2006
Earlier this month, the NYU Objectivist Club decided to hold a panel discussion entitled “Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons,” at which the cartoons will be displayed. Similar events, sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), have taken place on several other campuses. Like previous NYU Objectivist Club events, the discussion was to be open to the public.However, on Monday afternoon, NYU Director of Student Activities Robert Butler sent an e-mail requesting a meeting with the leaders of the Objectivist Club the next day. He also informed them that NYU would now “require that this event be open only to members of the NYU community.” Butler cited “the campus climate and controversy surrounding the cartoons,” ordering the students to inform the “non-NYU people” who had already registered that they “should not plan on attending.” He concluded, “This is not negotiable.”Following the meeting, Butler sent another e-mail clarifying that the students have two choices: they must either not display the cartoons, or not allow anyone from off campus to attend the event. Approximately 150 off-campus guests are currently registered to attend.
FIRE’s president, Greg Lukianoff, is set to participate in the panel tonight. Which should have stimulated some flicker of activity inside the skulls of NYU’s administrators: When the head of a national civil-liberties watchdog group comes to your campus, it’s probably not the smartest PR move to say to hell with free speech by locking down the event at which he is speaking.
I want to thank those of you who have sent e-mails. NYU has decided to let the event continue so the Islamic Center has decided to step things up. The event is tomorrow at 7 at E&L in Kimmel. Tickets are being distributed for free via Ticket Central. The Islamic Center would like everyone to get tickets to this event so we can kill their attendance figures.
Let's remember, we have no problem with dialogue but the cartoons go against Muslims for two reasons. First, the depiction of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) is strictly forbidden. Secondly, it makes a horrible generalization that all Muslims are terrorists.
Therefore I ask you to go to ticket central, get two tickets for this event, and rip them up.