Letters to the Editor

MSU Protest of Pipes Hypocritical

I found myself completely cracking up reading the New University last week. The Muslim Student Union member in charge of public relations, Marya Bangee, wrote what appeared to be a scathing article (‘Racist Speaker Welcomed by Hillel,’ Feb. 5) condemning both Hillel, a campus club, and Daniel Pipes, a speaker whom Hillel brought to speak on campus. The obvious question now is why would I be laughing when a club that I proudly belong to, and the speaker we brought, were being attacked? The answer is because of the historical nature of the claims that Bangee has made.

She called Daniel Pipes, an intellectual speaker who was speaking to a lecture hall with 300 students and community members about the threats to the existence of the state of Israel, a racist, and said that the decision made by Hillel to bring him to campus makes our organization racist, while using quotes taken out of context (some of which weren’t even properly quoted) to do so. I find it laughingly hypocritical for her, in her official MSU PR position to be making this claim, when just eight short months ago, it was the MSU who was getting international condemnation for their racist week of hatred, ‘Holocaust in the Holy Land.’

When the MSU brings a speaker, Hillel students raise their objections during the Q-and-A session (if MSU allows one) after the speaker finishes. However, members of the ‘polarized audience’ that Bangee refers to, wearing shirts emblazoned with ‘UC Intifada,’ struck a new low at Pipes’ lecture. Rather than behaving as one commonly does at an academic lecture, they stood up and yelled and screamed and did whatever they could to disrupt Pipes’ speech. I’m no psychologist, but this sort of acting out may be evidence of some students’ need for attention and love.

I think that the right to freedom of speech is important, and I have shown my support for the university’s free-speech policies. However, my support of protesting is limited to when it is done civilly, and within the confines of common sense and decency. Generally, if someone is going to protest a speaker, they stand in the designated protest zone and do it; once inside the room, you are expected to act with a common civility that has become the social norm of collegiate life.

If one has a disagreement with the speaker, there are many ways to go about expressing this displeasure