This evening, Bruce Friedrich, a vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was scheduled to debate the ethics of eating animals with members of the Columbia Parliamentary Debate Society. But at the last minute, Columbia shut it down, Friedrich tells NRO. In an e-mail, Friedrich writes:
The debate team worked extremely hard on this event and expected to pack the 400-seat hall. It’s a shame that Columbia canceled it over purported safety concerns. As the debate team explained to them, we’ve done the same event more than 30 times in the past 18 months (including at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, et al.), with no incidents and no concern expressed by any other college or university. Universities celebrate the free exchange of ideas; the bar for violating that mandate should be very high, but at Columbia, sadly, it appears to be as low as a grudge for more than 7 years ago.
According to an advisory, Friedrich earned the university’s ire by disrupting its commencement exercises in 2004, when “he protested animal experimentation on campus.”
UPDATE: Robert Hornsby, a spokesman for the university, writes in an e-mail to NRO: “The University Rules of Conduct apply to all students, faculty, staff and guests on our campus. When individuals who are not members of the University community violate those rules, one of the consequences is loss of the privilege of campus access.”
Read the full PETA advisory below. #more#
PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich has been blocked at the last minute from appearing in a high-profile on-campus debate at Columbia University, planned for this evening.
Bruce was intending to debate the ethics of eating animals (against the campus debate team, which organized and sponsored the event), as he has at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and more than 25 other top schools in the past 18 months (without incident or concerns from administration), but Columbia officials have stated that he is persona non grata on the campus, due to Bruce’s disruption of a Columbia commencement in 2004, when he protested animal experimentation on campus.
Columbia has previously allowed a wide range of controversial speakers on campus-including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-making their concern about Bruce’s scheduled appearance, which had been in the works for months, all the more surprising.