FIRE, the organization founded to defend free speech on college campuses, reports: Duke Keeps Pro-Life Group Out of Women’s Center During ‘Week for Life’. It seems that some free speech is freer than other free speech:
Duke University’s Women’s Center has canceled an event about motherhood because the sponsor was engaging in pro-life expression elsewhere on campus. A Women’s Center representative told Duke Students for Life (DSFL) that “we have a problem” and an ideological “conflict” with the event, which was supposedly canceled to protect Duke women from encountering the event during the group’s “traumatizing” pro-life “Week for Life.” The group’s president has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
“Duke appears to have an unwritten but officially enforced stance regarding abortion that has resulted in pro-life groups being shut out of the Women’s Center,” said FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley. “This treatment is a deeply hypocritical violation of the Women’s Center’s promise that it ‘welcomes discordant viewpoints from varied experiences.’”
Indeed. The women’s center mission statement says:
The Women’s Center strives to inculcate feminist attributes and goals in every aspect of its programs and administration. To say that our work is “feminist” is to acknowledge that gender is a central lens through which we conduct inquiry and develop practices and policies—critically considering what it means to be sexed, raced, and historically and culturally situated and proposing alternatives to traditionally male models of leadership, thought and practice. We ascribe to a broadly defined, fluctuating and inclusive feminist ideology that welcomes discordant viewpoints from varied experiences.
Fluctuating? Fluctuating??? In other words, it’s one thing one week and another thing next week. Leaving aside the obvious jokes about a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, they’ve officially crossed over into Alice-in-Wonderland territory. “Inclusive” means…well, it fluctuates. And so does “discordant viewpoint”. It means what they say it means today, and it also means what they say it means tomorrow. They’re just not necessarily the same thing.
UPDATE: Duke recinded this decision earlier today:
DURHAM, N.C., March 30, 2010—Duke University has reversed a decision by its Women’s Center that prohibited the Duke Students for Life (DSFL) student group from holding a discussion on student motherhood at a Women’s Center venue during the group’s “Week for Life” event. The group’s president turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. Only hours after FIRE exposed Duke’s decision to public scrutiny yesterday, Women’s Center Director Ada Gregory wrote to the group to say that “mistakes were certainly made that should not have occurred” and that she had “taken steps to ensure that such an incident will not happen again.”
Bad press spooked them?
Tags: Duke University