Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Does this have no end?

The following is an email from the President of Hillel at Pace University to Phil Orenstein who is pushing for the Academic Bill of Rights in New York State. This is yet another example of the double standards set forth in academia. In advance, I apologize for the lengthy post, but it just needed to be in the words of who experienced it.
I am going to describe two situations that occurred in our school were students rights were suppressed. The first one was with the film "Obsession" and the second is with students who got arrested for a peaceful protest.
1) I am President of "Hillel", a Jewish club at Pace University. Part of our "Judaism awareness week" (week long full of events relating to Judaism- Nov 13 – 17th) we wanted to show the film "Obsession". Three weeks before the day of the event I contacted MSA – Muslim Student Association, and notified them that I was going to show the film and have a panel of speakers discuss the film before and after it was viewed. I asked MSA if they would like to collaborate with us on and offered them a chance to bring a speaker of their choice. Two weeks later I hear rumors that the Dean, Dr. Marijo Russell O'Grady wants to pull the plug on the film (I was not told of this by the administration until I made the appointment to see them). The Dean O'Grady, Mr. David Clark, who is head of the student organizations on campus, and I met one week before the event. About 5 – 10 minutes into our conversation Dean O'Grady "warns" me that because of the recent Hate crimes that were committed against the Koran at our school it would point figures and me and my organization. The police will also get involved and begin to look at my record even deeper. The fact is that Hate crimes were committed against the Muslim religion and the Jewish religion but the school only made notice of the Muslim students.
4 Days later a mediation meeting occurred – The Dean, David Clark, two people from Affirmative Action and two professional Mediators were called. The president and secretary of MSA were present and I was the only one present for Hillel. MSA has sent Hillel several E-mails that were full of anger, and hate not only against us but made direct statements about or Club and what our religion stands for. During the mediation MSA spoke first. For about 10min the president of MSA was shouting at me until I finally asked her to stop shouting and that was the only time that the "professional" mediators acknowledged her shouting at me.
The six administrators that were present were creating excuses for MSA's behavior. The president was constantly shouting at me and at the administrators, towards the end she cursed twice loud enough for everyone to hear and yet nothing was said to her. But when I tried to speak up in defense of the film and our club I was physically put back in my seat. David Clark was sitting next to me and twice he put his hand on my shoulder and pushed me down as a way to silence me.
No one from the administration of MSA ever saw the film so they have no way of knowing what it truly is about. I offered them the opportunity to view the film and both MSA and the administration have turned it down. They didn't want to hear anything that I had to say because they felt the film would only give the school more bad press. There solution was to put on joint events that focus of "eco-terrorism". With all do respect but Eco-terrorism did not taken down the World Trade Towers, did not blow two busses in London, hold a school hostage in Russia and continuingly killing thousands in Africa….Radical Islam is the cause and to ignore this and silence those who want to expose this truth is just wrong. When I confronted the Dean about why I was silenced in such a way her response to me was "I am sorry you feel that way". Its interesting how one group of students gets treated as opposed to another?
2) The second issue was with a demonstration that occurred Thursday Nov 16th. A group of students at Pace organized a protest against the school. Covering issues of increased tuition, poor student support, and freedom of speech. The students proceeded to come closer to the school and the administration arrested 5 students for trespassing. 18 and 19 year old kids were arrested for walking closer to their own University. The same Dean supported these actions.

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