Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Legend on the Gate

As someone who has been lecturing in front of classes on college campuses for nearly two decades, I strongly support academic freedom and free speech on our college campuses.  This, of course, means that there will be ideas expressed which I will find quite repulsive.  But students of mine have received A's for term papers espousing viewpoints totally opposite my own when they write the papers logically and document their research well.

As recently mentioned in the posting of 1 February 2013, some anti-Israel students and faculty at Brooklyn College had planned a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions event.  Karen Gould, President of Brooklyn College, defended the scheduling of the event, insisting that academic freedom was paramount, and that the hosting of the event by Brooklyn College did not necessarily imply agreement with it.

So far, I must grudgingly back Karen on this one.

And, quite frankly, the protesters, with their retinue of elected officials in agreement (read pandering for votes), did play their hand a bit strongly, thus casting the BDS people into an underdog position to elicit public sympathy

Except, when the event did occur, some people were reportedly ejected from the event because they were Jewish.  This is NOT academic freedom.  And Brooklyn College's VP for Student Affairs, Milga Morales, stood by and declined to intervene to put a stop to it.

Brooklyn College's official mouthpiece claimed that the ejectees had misbehaved and were unruly, but an audio recording strongly suggests that Brooklyn College's official version of the events was an out and out lie.

This is likely a game changer.  Now, Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of the City University of New York, of which Brooklyn College is a part, has ordered an investigation of the event.

I will note that according to CUNY's Manual on General Policy, not only is such discrimination prohibited, but the Presidents of the individual colleges (that's you, Ms. Gould!) are responsible for ensuring that such a policy is carried out.

The politics of CUNY in particular, and New York in general, are too complex for me to predict with certainty the repercussions from this event, other than that there will be some sort of repercussions.  But Chancellor Goldstein, Chief Counsel Schaffer (who is the point man for the investigation), President Gould and VP Morales cannot all emerge unscathed from the event.  I would not be surprised in the least to see some personnel changes in the coming months.  And I do not expect Goldstein or Schaffer to throw their capes over the mud so that Gould or Morales can keep their slippers clean when they walk.

The main entrance to the Brooklyn College campus has a wrought iron gate with the words "Brooklyn College" wrought into the lintel.  What Goldstein and Schaffer do or do not do will determine whether at two-word legend above the gate should be updated to read "Arbeit Macht Frei."

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