Thursday, April 03, 2003

Academic Freedom

A professor at Columbia is in hiding after saying that the US should face a "million Mogadishus" in Iraq. One student said the University has failed to protect him.

It raises an interesting debate on freedom of speech, and in particular academic freedom. Is Columbia University supposed to protect a faculty member who 1) makes non-class related statements? 2) calls for violence against members of the University community? I don't think so.

Academic freedom is to protect research and scholarly activity - not the idiot who wants to shoot off at the mouth in the middle of a "teach in." Does the First Amendment protect this Professor? I hope not. Calling for someone's death should not be protected speech. It isn't political speech. It is as bad as the imams calling for jihad on Americans all across the Middle East during Friday prayers. And it is just plain wrong. My recommendation to Columbia: if you don't fire him -- which you should -- severly censure him.