Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Academic freedom is one of the many freedoms American's enjoy. I've mentioned recently the freedom to to be critical of the president, but far too often it seems that freedom is treated one-sidedly. Yes, you can say 'the king is a fink' but if I try to debate you, I am shouted down. The tide is turning, however, as the Dixie Chicks have found.

It isn't 'censorship': if a law enforcement officer said 'you cannot say that, that is censorship. If people decide not to purchase music because they dislike the words of the band members, that is free choice.

In that same vein, Professor Nicholas De Genova must step down or be removed from Columbia University. Anyone with that much hate in their heart obviously is not the kind of person any open-minded unviersity wants representing them. Unless that is the face they want representing them, in which case the students will vote with their tuition and find another school to attend. Once again, that is not censorship, that is choice.

The facts are clear: De Genova must go. Now.

Columbia teacher calls for `a million Mogadishus'

March 28, 2003, 5:05 PM EST

NEW YORK -- A Columbia University professor told thousands of students and faculty that he would like to see "a million Mogadishus" _ referring to the 1993 ambush in Somalia that killed 18 Americans and inspired the movie "Black Hawk Down."

The professor, Nicholas De Genova, also called for the defeat of U.S. forces in Iraq and said, "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military." And he asserted that Americans who call themselves "patriots" are white supremacists.

De Genova's hopes for the defeat of the United States were cheered by the crowd of 3,000 at the Wednesday night anti-war teach-in, Newsday reported. But his mention of the Somali ambush _ "I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus" _ was largely met with silence.

A call Friday to De Genova, 35, an anthropology teacher, was answered with a recording that said his voice mailbox was full.

In a statement released Friday, Columbia said De Genova "was speaking as an individual at a teach-in. He was exercising his right to free speech. His statement does not in any way represent the views of Columbia University."

History professor Eric Foner, who helped organize the teach-in and spoke after De Genova, said Friday, "I disagreed strongly and I said so. If I had known what he was going to say I would have been reluctant to have him speak."

He said De Genova was a last-minute invitee, was just one of about 25 speakers and "did not represent the general tone of the event, which was highly educational."

Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press

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