UCLA Penalizes Student Group's Exercise of Free Speech
Feb 7, 2007
Irvine, CA--UCLA has cravenly scuttled a student-sponsored forum on U.S. immigration policy--and revealed the administration's contempt for freedom of speech. The administration not only refuses to protect free speech, but also penalizes those who wish to exercise it on campus.
Scheduled for Feb. 6, the canceled event was to feature a debate between Carl Braun of the Minutemen and Dr. Yaron Brook, an open-immigration advocate and president of the Ayn Rand Institute. The forum, sponsored by the UCLA student group L.O.G.I.C., was approved by the administration weeks ago. When the student group learned that protesters from outside the university threatened to disrupt the event, it asked UCLA to protect the group's exercise of free speech by providing security for the event.
UCLA refused either to let the student group pay for its own security--claiming not enough security would be available--or to hold the event without security.
"The administration's decision is a double injustice," said Dr. Yaron Brook, "In the face of threats, UCLA refused to protect the student group's free speech--that's bad enough. But when the student group offered to pay for its own protection, UCLA put up further obstacles. UCLA is punishing the victims of intimidation. Instead of forbidding the protesters who threatened violent disruptions, the university is penalizing the student group for being a victim of threats.
"By preventing the event from taking place, UCLA apparently hopes to appease the protesters by doing their work for them. That an American university is suppressing, rather than enshrining, freedom of speech is a moral travesty."
Moreover, adding to the injustice, the university wants to burden the student group with the costs involved in canceling the event and turning away audience members and protesters. UCLA's line is that because the student group wanted to host a controversial forum--which the group had the right to do--it thereby created a problem and now must pay for resolving it.
"Free speech protects the rational mind: it is the freedom to think, to reach conclusions and express one's views without fear of coercion of any kind. And it must include the right to express unpopular views. UCLA--which like other universities grants tenure to protect intellectual freedom--ought to recognize the crucial importance of this principle and defend it," said Brook.
Dr. Yaron Brook is available for interviews. To interview Dr. Brook or book him for your show, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For more articles by Yaron Brook, and his bio, click here.