Monday, March 02, 2009

Caged elite

Colorado Daily:
Students for True Academic Freedom — one of three University of Colorado student groups co-sponsoring Thursday's Ward Churchill rally — will unveil a "free speech cage" on campus Tuesday in advance of ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers' visit.

The demonstration is slated to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dalton Trumbo Fountain outside the University Memorial Center.

Members of Students for True Academic Freedom said they will read excerpts from Churchill’s controversial post-9/ll essay, "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," and will unveil a large "free speech cage" in which passersby may exercise their right of free speech.

"The cage is a symbol representing the limits of free speech at CU," said Aaron Smith, event coordinator for Students for True Academic Freedom. "It is intended to make a visual impact, so students see that free speech is being unfairly limited on this campus." . . .
Beyond (at least for the moment) the power of snark.

Update: And Caged Heat.

Update II: The Colorado Daily has more on the Freedom Cage:
“The cage is a pretty good attention-getter,” said Nam Fernandez, of Students for True Academic Freedom. “The general reaction when people see it is they want to know more. I’ve already talked to two or three people that have become very interested in attending the trial and learning more about his case.”

One such student was freshman Darian Salehy, who stopped to watch and listen between classes before engaging in dialogue with Fernandez.

“I’m into politics; that’s why I stopped to listen,” Salehy said. “The ‘Free Speech Cage’ set-up got my attention. If there is no free speech, then people can’t share ideas and there will never be change.
A logician, too.
“There should not be any outside control or interruption of the education process.”

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the students' rally does not provide an accurate portrayal of the university's reasons for firing Churchill in 2007.

“It’s not free speech that’s in a cage — it’s plagiarism and academic misconduct,” Hilliard said, insisting that Churchill was fired only after an investigation by 25 tenured faculty members found instances of “willful and repeated academic misconduct” in Churchill’s work. . . .

Update III: Heidi notes in comments that the Daily Gamera's story (from the CD, or vice-versa) has a poll on the Ayers/Churchill/TBA event and a (three-pic) photo gallery of the Free Speech Cage. Pathetic.

As for the poll, right now 71% of those voting on the question, "Will you go see ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers defend Ward Churchill at CU?" answer "No. Bill Ayers is a terrorist and Ward Churchill's a fraud," while 23% say, "Yes. I believe Bill Ayers is an important voice for academic freedom." Margin of error is plus or minus 100%.

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