Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Liberal elite strike again [NYT]
In an unusual showdown over freedom of expression, university officials have refused to allow a fund-raising appeal for the Emma Goldman Papers Project to be mailed because it quoted Goldman on the subjects of suppression of free speech and her opposition to war. The university deemed the topics too political as the country prepares for possible military action against Iraq.

In one of the quotations, from 1915, Goldman called on people "not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." In the other, from 1902, she warned that free-speech advocates "shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next-door neighbors should hear that free-born citizens dare not speak in the open."

I'm sure UC isn't worried about its relationship with the government or anything.

1/21:The Chancellor sent this out on Sat.:

In light of all the recent publicity surrounding the Emma Goldman Papers, I wish to make clear, as reported today in The New York Times and the San Franciso Chronicle, that I have informed Candace Falk, director of the project, that she is free to use the Emma Goldman quotations in any fundraising solicitation she wishes to circulate. I believe that the original deletion of the Goldman quotations represented an error in judgment, for the quotations offered Goldman's own views on issues that remain all too current.

Much of the media attention has focused on the issue of free speech, especially because of Berkeley's long-standing reputation as a center for free speech, and because one of the quotations spoke of the suppression of free expression. While in this case, altering a fundraising letter by striking these particular quotations constituted unwise intervention, it is not the case, nor, I believe, can it be seen to be the case, that any alteration or editing of an official fundraising appeal by the unit supervisor constitutes an abridgement of free speech. Such messages are revised and edited regularly in consultation with supervisors.

Despite the embarrassment we have all felt at the national spotlight this has attracted, I think we can be heartened by the many voices that have been raised in defense of freedom of expression and know that because of those voices, it will remain a sacred principle at Berkeley.

Uh, ok. Sacred. Whatever you say.


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