For those who think that the whole Muhammed cartoon issue is just a European issue, let me give some examples of how the zeal to repress anything that someone might find offensive is spreading to American colleges. FIRE is reporting on a number of controversies, the latest of which is a student at the University of Chicago who faces possible expulsion from the dorms there for putting up a commentary about the controversy on his dorm room door with a sketch of Mohammed and the text Mo’ Mohammed, Mo’ Problems. He was forced to take it down and to apologize to a student who complained, but still faces possible disciplinary action by the university and is under investigation currently.
At Century College in Minnesota, a professor put up a display on a bulletin board that included the 12 caricatures, articles about the controversy from around the world and sheets for people to comment on it. After the display was torn down anonymously, she was told by a “senior faculty member” not to put the display back up. Many college newspapers have reprinted the caricatures, but at more than one the editor was punished or fired for doing so.
Let’s change the situation around a bit. Suppose instead that a student posted a commentary that indicated that they thought Christianity was the cause of problems in world history and that more Christianity meant more problems. Would there be any controversy over that? Some would disagree, of course, but would university officials with titles like “director of multicultural affairs” be “investigating” and holding forums with aggrieved Christian students to make sure their feelings are sufficently protected? Not on your life. And that’s as it should be.
It’s a university, for crying out loud. If you don’t run into ideas that shake you up, there’s no point in going. You’re going to have to confront ideas that you find offensive, absurd, even dangerous. If you’re not prepared to do that without trying to censor the person advocating those ideas, you’re simply in the wrong place. Go to Bob Jones University where the only textbook is the bible and you’ll never ever have to think for yourself, or to a Madrassa to study only the Quran. But if you’re at a real university, you’re just going to have to toughen up and deal with it or leave.