Austerity education kills free speech
On February 6, Yale student activists hosted a panel laying out the case for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement to pressure Israel into recognizing Palestinian rights. Critics of Israel face endemic hostility in this country but no public figures condemned the event, no prominent editorials were written against it, and legislators did not threaten to cut the school’s funding.
Yale can do what it wants.
The next day, Brooklyn College student activists hosted a similar panel—so similar, in fact, that it included one of the same speakers, along with the eminent social theorist Judith Butler. This time, Alan Dershowitz, the pugnacious lawyer, famed for his defenses of the state of Israel, began railing against the school’s sponsorship of the event. Subsequently, a battalion of New York lawmakers backed him up, threatening the City University of New York (CUNY) campus’s funding when its president refused to capitulate.