Duke University’s Voltaire Press has agreed to publish a book examining the Danish cartoon controversy. Unlike Yale University, Duke has not demanded its press censor the resulting book.
The Yale administration had interceded with the press to force the censorship. To support its censorship, Yale consulted with such luminaries as former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and columnist Fareed Zakaria, both of whom supported adherence to perceived Islamist demands. Yale president Richard Levin has sent a letter that said the Yale Corporation, the university’s governing body, supported the decision to censor. PBS’s Margaret Warner serves on the Corporation, and has not spoken up to defend free speech and academic inquiry. Levin’s letter implies Warner endorses Yale’s censorship.
Yale University’s lack of committment to serious academic study is a pity. It indicates a university in decline. It is as disappointing to see the number of luminaries, statesmen. and journalists serving Yale who refuse to realize what a slippery slope their acquiescence to censorship is.