Across the entire front-page and above the fold of this morning’s Durham Herald Sun are the headlines:
Rove’s critics let loose with loud, colorful protestsThe H-S story begins:
Hecklers at Duke call former Bush adviser a killer and traitor
Karl Rove encountered hecklers and protesters at Duke University Monday night, some accusing him of being a fraud, a traitor and even a killer.The entire H-S story is here.
President Bush's former White House deputy chief of staff and senior adviser appeared in Page Auditorium for a "conversation" with Duke political science professor Peter Feaver.
But the situation intensified when the floor was opened to questions […]
The H-S says "loud, colorful protests." From what I've heard from friends who were there and read in this morning's papers "angry, disruptive protests" would've better informed readers.
This morning’s Chronicle contains a very thoughtful letter from Daniel Simpson, Trinty ’11. It follows as do the two comments (one mine) on the comment thread as of 9 AM Eastern.
I end this post with a few further comments and a link to a Chronicle editorial concerning last night's events.
Now Simpson's letter ---
To the editor:
Upon walking into Page Auditorium last night, I, along with everyone else in attendance, was handed a green slip of paper stating that Duke University respected academic freedom and wanted to have a meaningful, respectful academic discussion with Karl Rove.
I was appalled by what ensued. Rove's attempt at discussion was interrupted at least a dozen times by hecklers screaming everything from "Liar!" to "Murderer!" At one point in the discussion, someone walked in front of me with a massive sign reading "Arrest Him!"
Now while I completely respect people's opinion and their ability to protest, shouting down Rove only infringes his right to speak-the very right being invoked by the protesters.
As the University had pledged to curb such malicious and slanderous statements, their lack of any response to these protesters was disconcerting at best.
Professor Peter Feaver was quoted yesterday as saying, "There should be ways for people to register their disagreements with him without breaking the law and without infringing on the rights of others... I'm confident that Duke administrators have taken steps so that everyone's free speech... will be preserved."
It is a shame that Professor Feaver was proven wrong last night.
And on the comment thread from Trinity '06 ---
As a recent grad, and a politically active member of my community, I am sad, yet unsurprised at the outcome of the conversation with Mr. Rove last night.
Somehow the tolerance for disruption seems to be oh so much greater if the speaker is on the right of the political spectrum.
Let's hypothesize briefly about the shoe being on the other foot, shall we?
I should think Prof. Diane Nelson should like it not at all if one were to march in to her class while she was teaching (using old videos of Captain Spock, no doubt) and shout "Hippie!", "you're a moonbat!" and "feminism is the Devil!".
This would be rude, unfouded, and highly conterproductive to the educational process. Not to mention, it would undoubtedly be met with strong responses from Ms. Nelson and the University.
Then again, that's simply my hypothesis. In my four years at Duke, I don't think I met anyone disrespectful enough to try such a thing, so I suppose we'll never know how Ms. Nelson would react?
Here's my comment ---
Dear Mr. Simpson:
Thank you for a very thoughtful letter.
It's both a shame and frightening that there are so many at Duke who want to interfere with other people's right to peacefully express opinions.
What I've heard from friends and what I've read in the papers this morning leaves me with the same disturbed feeling I had as I watched some faculty (the Group of 88, for instance) and students condemn the students on the lacrosse team while cheering on Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers' police-state conduct.
If the Leftist, as represented at Duke, ever come to dominate America, they'll put an end to democracy.
Again, thank you for your letter.
John in Carolina
Folks, Here's The Chroncile's editorial on last night's events.
I'll respond to it later today.
While I'm glad TC's editorial had some critical words for the worst of the protestors, I think TC obscured and/or avoided some important issues raised by last nights protests.
Example: The editorial speaks about the need to tolerate "controversial" speakers at Duke. But the issue really isn't about "controversial" speakers.
Duke has no problems with controversial speakers like Harry Belefonte who supports Hugo Chevez and call's America's President the world's greatest terrorist.
The problem Rove presented to Duke is he's a strong supporter of the Bush administration.
There's "a hearty welcome" at Duke for controversial speakers of a certain type but not for others.
I'll say more later today