Tufts Not Fan of Free Speech, Calls Facts about Islam 'Harassment' and 'Hostile Environment'
The Volokh Conspiracy reported that yet another college has cracked down on a conservative student paper. The Primary Source, published a fake ad called “Islam-- Arabic Translation: Submission.” It satirized the events of an upcoming Islamic Awareness Week which quoted verses from the Koran and included unpleasant but true statements about Islam and ended with the statement, "If you are a peaceful Muslim who can explain or justify this astonishingly intolerant and inhuman behavior, we'd really like to hear from you!" This earned the students a quick trip before a disciplinary committee facing charges of "harassment and creating a hostile environment." The school ultimately decided not to punish the students, but from now on, TPS must identify who created which content.
Liberally-minded people and liberal institutions may say that they support free speech, but that claim is parsed down to what the definition of “is” is. This is yet another example of “hate speech is not free speech.” Stepping on and even burning the American flag is allowed (as it should be), but stepping on a flag that has the name of Allah written on it, such as a Hamas flag is not. It is fine for atheists to criticize or make fun of Christianity, but they are not allowed to criticize Islam. A liberal calling Condoleeza Rice Bush’s “house n***a” is acceptable, as is using digital blackface, but conservatives who say “tar baby” are hounded. The idea of “hate speech” is rarely applied equally.
Tufts is a private university and isn’t required to uphold the 1st Amendment, but as FIRE, a free speech group, stated, Tufts made “extensive promises” about students’ free speech “which it is bound to uphold.”
This is part of the ad for a fake "Islam awareness week" schedule that the paper published (where bold emphasis mine):
TUESDAY: Slavery was an integral part of Islamic culture. Since the 7th century, 14 million African slaves were sold to Muslims compared to 10 or 11 million sold to the entire Western Hemisphere. As recently as 1878, 25,000 slaves were sold annually in Mecca and Medina. (National Review 2002)
Most historians agree that Muhammed’s second wife Aisha was 9 years old when their marriage was consummated.
WEDNESDAY: In Saudi Arabia, women make up 5% of the workforce, the smallest percentage of any nation worldwide. They are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle or go outside without proper covering of their body. (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001)
The seven nations in the world that punish homosexuality with death all have fundamentalist Muslim governments.
The paper also published a lame satirical Christmas carol the previous December that made fun of black freshmen. I found much of it offensive. It was stupidity spliced with a critique of affirmative action.
These were some of the Committee’s findings :
The Committee found that the MSA established that the commentary at issue targeted members of the Tufts Muslim community for harassment and embarrassment, and that Muslim students felt psychologically intimidated by the piece...
…[A]lthough Tufts students should feel free to engage in speech that others might find offensive and even hurtful, Tufts University’s non-discrimination policy embodies important community standards of behavior that Tufts, as a private institution, has an obligation to uphold. Our campus should be a place where students feel safe, respected, and valued. Freedom of speech should not be an unfettered license to violate the rights of other members of the community, without recourse. (…)
[T]he Committee has attempted to strike a balance between protecting the rights of students to exist on campus without being subjected to unreasonable attacks based on their race or religion and protecting the rights of students to publish controversial writings....
Wow. “Freedom of speech should not be an unfettered license to violate the rights of other members of the community, without recourse.” Based on that kind of thinking, there would be no “Saturday Night Live” or “The Daily Show.” Making factual statements “violate the rights of other members of the community?” And what a sneaky little phrase, “without recourse.” Apparently it is OK to subject someone to an “unreasonable attack” as long as the offenders can be identified and possibly sued.
And apparently the right to be free of "attitudes or opinions that are expressed verbally or in writing" that "create a hostile environment" for students "on the basis of race, religion, gender identity/expression, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or genetics."
In this case, the punishment for the speech is a ban on one newspaper's ability to publish anonymous speech — while other newspapers that express favored views remain free to shield their contributors from social ostracism and other retaliation through anonymity...
Welcome to the new freedom of speech at the new university…Appalling.
Yes it is.