To the editor:
Gene Budig and Alan Heaps are all aflutter about liberal intolerance on campus. It seems students and faculty at Rutgers objected to a planned commencement address by Condoleezza Rice. Ever the chickenhawk, she canceled her visit rather than face protestors. At Haverford, former UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau declined to speak after students and faculty opposed his invitation.
Budig and Heaps think academic freedom is in danger. What they don’t say about Birgeneau is that UC police beat Occupy protestors with batons on campus in 2011 while he was chancellor. According to news reports, he has expressed regrets but refuses to apologize.
What is the greatest threat to free speech on campus? Budig and Heaps point the finger at students and faculty who demand a voice in selecting commencement speakers. Thugs who beat students for expressing political views? Apparatchiks who back them? No problem there.
As for Condoleezza Rice, everybody knows she was an architect of the criminal invasion of Iraq. Since when does “academic freedom” mean sitting politely when she dares to show her face in public? If we really want to strengthen free speech, maybe the next commencement speaker at Kansas University should be Lt. John Pike. He was the UC Davis police officer who pepper-sprayed nonviolent demonstrators on that campus a couple of years ago, then got himself a $38,000 pain and suffering award. In the interest of open discussion I would go see him. Would Budig and Heaps object if I wore goggles?