Thursday, October 11, 2007

Please come, don't come, no please come!

Let tutu speak - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

I haven't had time to blog about this until now. Recently, Rev. Dennis Dease, president of a local Catholic university, St. Thomas in St. Paul, decided to disinvite Desmond Tutu from speaking at an event on campus because he was accused of being an anti-Semite. The accusation was a result of this speech Tutu gave in Boston on April 13, 2002.

An article about this trend of disinviting speakers is here. Here's a quote:

The escalating controversy reflects a tension at colleges nationwide, one pitting free speech and academic freedom against views some find objectionable.

Last month, Columbia University's decision to allow Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak drew protesters. Speakers with strong political opinions regularly draw ire on campuses. Many religious-affiliated universities have taken heat for speakers who hold positions that, some say, go against particular doctrines.

What has changed of late has been the reaction of some colleges and universities. There is a growing trend, according to the American Association of University Professors, of schools inviting speakers and then un-inviting them after opposition groups turn up the heat.

The local activist community responded quickly and decisively, sending thousands of faxes and sparking news stories from around the world.

Yesterday, Dease reversed his decision. Way to go activists!