George, thanks so much for posting on the latest diversity tempest at NYU. Reading the NYU president’s simpering response to his “marginalized” Muslim students makes me wish that, for one day at least, I could be president of NYU. If I were, here’s what I would say:
Dear offended students,
In response to your recent expressions of outrage, I have read Professor Tunku Varadarajan’s recent column in Forbes regarding the Fort Hood massacre. I have a few thoughts.
First, let me state unequivocally that Professor Varadarajan is entitled to state his opinion on matters of public importance (and even on matters only of importance to him), and I appreciate his participation in the marketplace of ideas. Our nation and our university are better off when scholars feel free — and are free — to speak, write, and otherwise engage the public in times of national testing.
Second, I am utterly indifferent to your expressions of “pain.” If you believe that you have any right to participate in a robust and diverse democratic society without being challenged, shocked, or even horribly offended, then our educational process has utterly failed you. Democratic discourse can be offensive. It is better to learn this lesson now, when you are young, than to live your life in a state of misguided anger.
Third, to the extent you feel “marginalized,” I am amused. You are students at one of the most prestigious universities in the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world. While there are certainly “marginalized” populations in the world, you are not among them. In fact, you enjoy a level of privilege and access to wealth and power enjoyed by only the tiniest minority of your fellow Americans. Yet you claim to “feel marginalized.” I suggest you need to broaden your perspective.
Finally, I would hope that the “pain” that you feel over a column is nothing compared to the pain and sympathy you feel for the human lives lost at Fort Hood and elsewhere during the course of the murderous jihadist campaign of the last 30 years. The attack at Fort Hood was horrifying, but it pales in comparison to the attacks on September 11, and even these deaths are but drops in the ocean of blood spilled by your co-religionists in the name of the very religion you claim to be peaceful. Perhaps the most proper target of your outrage is not those who criticize murderers but the murderers themselves.
But a university president could never write a letter like that. It’s much too truthful.