Letter to Pres. Hirshman, SDSU, re hate speech
CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
Dear President Hirshman,
The California Scholars for Academic Freedom,* a group of over 200 scholars, is writing to express our deep concern about the hate speech plastered across your campus by the Horowitz (so-called) Freedom Center and your subsequent response.
It is absolutely essential to defend the students who are being attacked by such hate speech. In this case, they happen to be students who are involved in Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association. All of the students on your campus should be defended in their freedom of speech and their political views, especially when they are politically controversial. These students’ speech is not the same as hate speech. Criticism of the Israeli occupation is not the same as anti-Semitism, just as criticism of, for example, China, is not the same as racism against Chinese people.
The ramifications of this case go beyond the students directly targeted by the flyers, as it needs to be put in the context of a worsening climate for Muslim students across the country, and, of course, concerns fundamental rights to speak and be heard without fear of intimidation, harm, and discrimination.
It is of special concern to us that you have failed to respond to the over 80 faculty and staff who have written to you on this matter, urging you to condemn the hate speech in the Horowitz Center’s posters.
We urge you to respond with a strong defense of the university as a space of academic freedom.
On behalf of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom (cs4af),
Research Professor Sondra Hale,
Departments of Anthropology and Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Lisa Rofel,
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz
*CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM (cs4af) is a group of scholars who defend academic freedom, the right of shared governance, and the First Amendment rights of faculty and students in the academy and beyond. We recognize that violations of academic freedom anywhere are threats to academic freedom everywhere. California Scholars for Academic Freedom investigates legislative and administrative infringements on freedom of speech and assembly, and it raises the consciousness of politicians, university regents and administrators, faculty, students and the public at large through open letters, press releases, petitions, statements, and articles.
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