We support free speech – occasionally.

The Globe and Mail mentions a letter supported by more than 80 professors and graduate students at the University of Toronto (Canada’s largest university) calling for the censorship of Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum and a pro-Israeli academic.

The letter says that the authors support academic freedom:

“Genuine academic debate requires an open and free exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance. We . . . are committed to academic freedom and we affirm Pipes’ right to speak at our university,” the letter states.

but then says this:

“However, we strongly believe that hate, prejudice, and fear-mongering have no place on this campus.”

Ahmad Shokr, organizer of the Arab Students’ Collective had this to say:

“Although he has the right to speak, we don’t think he should actually have a place to speak on campus,” the 22-year-old said. “There should be a general awareness amongst the campus community of who this person is and hopefully with that awareness . . . groups wouldn’t invite a speaker like this.”

Free speech should be just that – free – regardless of whether or not you happen to agree with the ideas presented. It is sad that an institution of higher education would be so willing to limit that free speech. The faculty certainly have the right to express their views, but those views should not be taken as reason to limit the free exchange of ideas.

Thanks again to kate at small dead animals. She has all kinds of great stuff happening today.