Tuesday, December 6, 2011

George Mason Law School Dean stands up for academic freedom

From William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

George Mason University School of Law is considered “conservative,” at least by law school standards.
So when CAIR played the Islamophobe card and demanded that the school shut down a speech by Nonie Darwish , Dean Daniel Polsby said no thanks to CAIR’s attempt to squelch dissenting voices:
"It appears that there is need to clarify the policy affecting speakers at the law school.
Student organizations are allocated budget by the Student Bar Association in order to allow them, among other things, to bring speakers to the law school. Neither the law school nor the university can be taken to endorse such speakers or what they say. Law school administration is not consulted about these invitations, nor should we be. Sometimes speakers are invited who are known to espouse controversial points of view. So be it. So long as they are here, they are free to say whatever is on their mind within the bounds of law. They cannot be silenced and they will not be.
Just as speakers are free to speak, protesters are free to protest. They must do so in a place and in a manner that respects the rights of speakers to speak and listeners to listen, and that is in all other ways consistent with the educational mission of the university. Student organizations which hold contrary points of view have every right to schedule their own programs with their own speakers, and these speakers’ rights will be protected in just the same way.
The law school will not exercise editorial control over the words of speakers invited by student organizations, nor will we take responsibility for them, nor will we endorse or condemn them. There has to be a place in the world where controversial ideas and points of view are aired out and given space. This is that place.
Daniel D. Polsby
Professor of Law, Dean
Nonie Darwish is a Muslim apostate who converted to Christianity and who is director of "Arabs for Israel" and "Former Muslims United". CAIR obviously wants her silenced, and, like good Islamists, they use whatever means are at their disposal to censor dissent, including intimidation of the university. CAIR has deep roots in the Islamist Movement and has been credibly accused of funding Hamas.

Academia is the place in which controversial ideas should be aired and discussed. Yet soft totalitarianism infests most American universities today. Dean Polsby's eloquent statement defends our tradition of free speech and open exchange of ideas.

Bravo to Dean Polsby for his eloquent defense of academic freedom.


  1. Oh look, some people were upset at Egnor's attention-whoring with his clown makeup and decided to smear some on their own faces and get angry at him.

  2. @Mike,
    Nice to see someone stand up against the censor machine. A dean no less!

  3. Michael,

    It's hardly free speech to host a pro-Israeli talk in America. That is the dominant viewpoint in America.

    It would hardly be controversial to even concede that perhaps not everything the Israelis do is right and everything the Palestinians do is wrong.

    To demonstrate their belief in free speech, perhaps the student body should immediately invite a speaker with a more controversial and unpopular point of view. Perhaps someone from 'Jews for Justice in Palestine' or the American equivalent, if you have one.

  4. @bach:

    The student body is free to invite whomever they wish. The only objection would be if the speaker advocated criminal behavior.

  5. What's the big deal? It doesn't take much courage to reject the demands of some Muslim organization that has no standing whatsoever.

    I'm glad to hear that Nonie Darwish has given up on her belief in the absurd Muslim religion, but I'm disappointed that she has instead adopted the almost equally absurd Catholic belief. Maybe next time she'll reject that superstition as well and join the reality community.

  6. @troy:

    When she left Islam, she left a violent litigious ideology. Why would she want to become an atheist and join another violent litigious ideology?

  7. Michael,

    Agreed. The school body is free to invite whomever they please. But the point stands. They're hardly testing free speech by inviting someone who holds popular opinions. They should demonstrate their adherence to free speech by inviting someone who holds a different opinion. If they disagree after hearing their arguments, then fine. Refusing to listen to counter arguments is just engaging in a sort of confirmation bias.

  8. To be fair, bachfiend, they also stood up for Mom and apple pie.

  9. Gawd Michael,

    You're still on your 'atheism is an ideology' kick. For about the 10,000th time, atheism isn't an ideology. It is the simple statement that there is no evidence for the existence of god(s). Atheists, individually, can adhere to an ideology, such as communism, national socialism, democracy, capitalism, libertarianism, humanism, etc, but there is no overriding atheist ideology.

    I challenged you previously to provide evidence that there's an atheist ideology, but all you did was to provide a link to Amazon.com and their category of atheist books, and got the number of books too.

  10. @bachfiend

    You have what is called a esprit de contradiction


    You are what is called a simple d'esprit

  11. @bach...
    ...I challenged you previously to provide evidence that there's an atheist ideology...

    If atheism is not an ideology, you sure do the outmost to prove the contrary by your comments!

  12. Meilleur q'un absence d'esprit, n'est-ce pas mon pote?

  13. @mregnor:
    Why would she want to become an atheist and join another violent litigious ideology?
    I don't know. "Becoming an atheist" and "joining a violent litigious ideology" are separate things.

    You are what is called an illuminé dont les propos sont tellement délirants et surréalistes que je n'arrive pas à savoir s'il est sérieux ou si c'est une parodie.

    East-rising-sun-ism is an evil ideology which killed billions.