Letter to the Editor 2/11

By Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

I found Wednesday’s editorial on free speech important for Pitt students;… To the Editor,

I found Wednesday’s editorial on free speech important for Pitt students; however, TPN gave an inaccurate account of the event that inspired its editorial. The organized obstruction of Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech at UC Irvine was much more aggressive than TPN recounted. Oren was not only deprived of his freedom of speech during lengthy, raucous outbreaks from members of the Muslim Student Union, but was personally assaulted when the crowd hurled charged epithets his direction. Oren was forced from the stage while students wrongly accused him of murder and genocide. The chancellor of UC Irvine condemned the spectacle, and the disruptive hecklers were described as inhibiting the fair exchange of ideas for more than 500 people in attendance.

However, I am glad that TPN related the idea of the boundary of freedom of speech to our University. Pitt has had its own issues with students attempting to disrupt invited guests. For example, members of Pitt’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine were at an event hosted by a student group last year todisrupt the event and try to shout down the speaker. Just last week, SJP members refused an open invitation from a speaker to engage in a Q&A session, and instead walked outside to chant and bang on windows to silence the speaker.

It is important for students to know that they have a right to freedom of speech, but that they certainly do not have the right to deprive others of that privilege.

Micah Toll

School of Arts & Sciences

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America