Sunday, January 28, 2007

Free Speech in the Ivory Tower -- African Nudes OKAY, White Nudes NO

Here are the highlights of an article by the editorial board of Pipe Dream, Binghamton University's free word on campus (State University of New York).

Editorial: Browse freely
By The Editorial Board

....One BU student responded to last semester’s controversial exhibit in the University Art Gallery — which displayed photos of African women, many nude — by posting her own parallel exhibit, featuring nude white women, on the Web. Hours later she received notification that she was suspended from her University Internet privileges and her “exhibit” was being censored....

Last semester the University stood behind the director of the University Art Gallery and trumpeted freedom of speech, a right they exercised in showing the controversial exhibit. Is it really asking so much for them to extend the same courtesy to their students?....

Anyone who supported the gallery’s right to show the controversial exhibit should support a student’s right to voice their opinion and speak out against the exhibit … and therefore anyone now supporting the jilted student’s right to post her views should also accept that the museum had the right to show the exhibit.

That’s the funny thing about free speech — if you want it yourself (and we all do; no one runs around yelling, “Censor me, please!”), you have to respect everyone else’s right to it, whether you agree with them or not.

So how about dropping a bit of that good ole ivory tower hypocrisy, BU, and instead allowing your students the same rights that you allow your faculty … and the same rights we’re sure you expect for yourselves?

To read the complete article, click here

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