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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recording Contradicts Brooklyn College Claim Students Ejected For Being Disruptive

Adding to the controversy surrounding their allowing a pro-BDS speaker to speak, it now appears that despite their grand claims about upholding free speech -- Brooklyn College's claim that they kicked out students for being disruptive is untrue:
An audio recording obtained exclusively by The Algemeiner appears to indicate that Brooklyn College representatives misled the public in their account of events that took place at Thursday night’s BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) event aimed at Israel and sponsored by the University’s Political Science Department, where four Jewish students were evicted by security personnel.

On Friday, Brooklyn College explained the incident by accusing the students of disrupting the event in no uncertain terms, with spokesperson Jeremy Thompson telling The Algemeiner, “From the first speaker they began to speak out, they were becoming vocal and disruptive to the members around them and one of the student organizers of the event went to them and said ‘you really need to be quiet you’re disrupting other people around you.’ They then did not comply and a couple of police officers asked them to come out into the lobby.” Thompson also added that school officials in attendance, including Brooklyn College Vice President Milga Morales, confirmed this account.
Here is the audio file acquired by the Algemeiner that indicates that the claim made by Brooklyn College for ejecting the students is untrue.



As the Algemeiner points out:
The audio file makes plain that the school was falsely accusing the students, and/or greatly exaggerating the claims made by SJP members that the students were being disruptive throughout their time at the lecture. The file captures the first speaker, Judith Butler, and terminates at the ejection of the four students. At the 28:14 mark Melanie Goldberg can clearly be heard saying, “I’m not allowed to hold a pamphlet?” This appears to contradict the claim made by Brooklyn College that the students were simply asked to be quiet and did not comply, and one made by an SJP organizer that they were asked to quiet down and stop passing fliers between themselves before they were ejected. At the end of the audio file you can hear Goldberg saying, “This is an oppression of freedom of speech, this is an oppression…” no time before that, despite the fact that according to The Algemeiner’s source the recording device was positioned only two rows in front of the Jewish students and was able to clearly pick up the voice of Judith Butler several rows ahead, does it appear that any disturbance was being caused. In fact, the first time a voice is clearly audible besides that of Butler’s is when Melanie Goldberg asks about the pamphlet, 28 minutes into the event.
Read the whole thing.

There is now going to be an investigation to ascertain what actually did happen and why pro-Israel students were forced to leave.

In the meantime, the Algemeiner reports that the school seems to already be backtracking from its earlier statements -- statements that were supported at the time by anonymous school officials and the school vice president.

Adding to the evident mismanagement of the situation by Brooklyn College, Alan Dershowitz asks Did Brooklyn College's Political Science Department Violate the First Amendment?:
The co-sponsorship by the Brooklyn College political science department of an anti-Israel hate fest, from which pro-Israel students were excluded, may have violated the First Amendment. Had the event been sponsored only by student and outside private groups, their decision to exclude pro-Israel students and to prevent the distribution of anti-BDS leaflets would have been a private matter, that at worst may have violated the rules of the college. But the official co-sponsorship of the event by an academic department may have turned their exclusionary decisions into illegal "state action." (hat tip: LLM )

From beginning to end, while Brooklyn College kept spouting about freedom of speech, it appears they had no idea how that freedom applies in a real situation.

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