Sunday, March 05, 2006

So Much For Free Speech In Oregon

Fellow Pac-10 school Oregon State University is having a bit of a controversy. Three weeks ago a student published an article (available here) criticizing what he termed the double-standard of Islam, that Muslims insist on respect for their religion, and show none towards other religions. While the article was rather strongly worded, it seemed to me fairly well written and argued. Apparently this is too much for some people, now a Muslim student group, and others, at OSU are protesting this article as being unsensitive. One student even argued for more "sensitivity training", the modern left's Orwellian re-education camps.

In the quad, a group of graduate students stood in support of the Islamic students. Dave Markel said he thought the demonstration was a way to spin the negative reaction to the column in a positive way. “This is much better than continuing to sit in a cloud of hostility. This has opened up a lot of conversations in classes … this has affected the entire campus,” he said.

Cathlene McGraw, who works in the campus cultural centers encouraging diversity in the student body, said the Barometer should not have printed Blake’s column.

“Free speech is great,” she said, “but accountability also needs to be there. I don’t think they should have published it. It was not received the way they expected … it came off so hateful.”

McGraw said the Barometer staff might need more training in diversity, specifically relating to free speech and hate speech. Currently, Barometer staff members must complete “Difference, Power, and Discrimination” classes — required of all OSU undergraduates — within a year of joining the staff.

Barometer editor DD Bixby has not issued a public apology for statements made in Blake’s column. “We are very sorry that people were so hurt by this, but I am hopeful that good things can come from this,” she said. “We brought global issues to the steps of the university and made people face them.

“After this column and the reaction to it, I can see that Muslims feel they are the next group to be really hated in this country.”

Which basicallly makes the author's argument. In many Muslim countries you can get yourself killed for practicing another religion, but in the US, on perhaps the most liberal and "tolerant" institution available, the college campus, we have people demanding self-censorship, in the name of tolerance, from even asking questions about Islam. H/T LGF.

To make things even worse, it appears that the student newspaper, for fear of offending people, is now running stories about Muslims past Muslim students. Does this apply to all groups? Will they let veterans, for example, approve stories about the Iraq War?

BTW am I the only one who notices the irony of a newspaper article which calls for understanding of Islamic beliefs, which has a suggestive Victoria's Secret ad on the side?