Tuesday, March 01, 2005

You've got to be friggin' kidding me... George Mason University was again rejected by Phi Beta Kappa, a result of GMU allegedly being insufficiently committed to academic freedom. And PBK feels this way because GMU lat fall withdrew an offer to Michael Moore to come speak on campus.

No, GMU hasn't been holding book burning contests. No, GMU hasn't been terminating professors with unpopular political views. No, GMU hasn't been flunking and expelling students who write papers that don't conform to their professor's rigid philosophies. No, GMU didn't even refuse to let Moore speak on campus. All GMU did was rescind their offer to pay Moore $35,000 as a speaking fee. He was still free to come speak (and, despite his usual huffing and puffing, I don't believe he ever showed up).

Well, how different is what GMU did than what Berkely (PBK since 1898) did to Ward Connerly, in not only refusing to allow Connerly to receive student funds but also requiring Connerly to pay for his own police protection? How different than what Columbia (PBK since 1869) did when they "barred attendees at a conference on affirmative action-including columnist John Leo and author Dinesh D'Souza-from holding their scheduled event on campus"? How different is that from what Emory (PBK since 1929) did in refusing to allow student funds to pay for a David Horowitz speech?

It sure looks like academic freedom only cuts one way, doesn't it? At least as far as Phi Beta Kappa sees things. I wonder why GMU even bothered to apply...

UPDATE: Add what Penn State did in 1998 (PBK since 1937). Or the actions of the administration at the University of Miami (PBK since 1983).