Accuracy in Media

Thanks in large part to Bill O’Reilly and the Fox News Channel, Columbia University is receiving a lot of unwanted attention over an appearance by an anti illegal immigration group on campus last Wednesday. 

The Minuteman Project, one of the groups that have sprung up to defend and protect our borders was invited to campus by the College Republicans to discuss one of the hottest political topics of the day.  Yet when it was time for the Minuteman Project’s founder Jim Gilchrist to speak protesters affiliated with the Chicano Caucus and other left wing students stormed the stage to disrupt the speech.  While they succeeded in stopping the speech they raised the question of whether or not “free speech” really exists on the Columbia campus.  As Kirsten Powers a Democratic strategist appearing on the O’Reilly Factor said “Free speech is that you have to hear things that offend you sometimes.”  Apparently to the student protestors at Columbia it apparently means exactly the opposite.

Frankly none of this surprised me.  In November 1998 Accuracy in Academia held a conference on the Columbia campus.  The first speaker for the opening dinner was Ward Connerly who was behind the successful passing of Proposition 209 in California banning race and gender preferences in state and local government.  The dinner was held at the Faculty House and there were a hardy band of protestors outside the building, but things were peaceable and there were no incidents.  Yet the next morning when attendees and speakers showed up for the conference sessions they were turned away since the University President had decided overnight that only CU students would be allowed on campus.  Since many of the attendees were not CU students, AIA was forced to hold their conference outside across the street from the university for the entire day.

The university claimed that they weren’t aware of the conference and that they feared that more protestors would show up on the second day and that the room that was booked would be too small to accommodate everyone.  University security also told people showing up the next day that the conference was cancelled. 

In the end AIA held their conference outdoors and there were some protestors, but a much smaller group than the night before and the university eventually refunded all the money AIA paid for the event.  Columbia was excoriated and ridiculed for their actions by Rush Limbaugh, David Horowitz and John Leo to name a few.  You would think after this embarrassing episode that they would have learned their lesson.  Last Wednesday’s ugly affair proved once again that the angry left is in control of what qualifies for free speech on campus.

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