Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston. The university has an enrollment of approximately 3,600 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.
Its motto is: Truth even unto its innermost parts.
American academia bites the dust: Brandeis University’s historic mistake
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has just been dishonored by Brandeis University, which withdrew its offer of a Distinguished Professorship because the Muslim Brotherhood in America mounted a successful campaign against the award. Brandeis simply caved to the lynch mob. This is a terrible moment for academic freedom and critical inquiry on the American campus.
Brandeis students nix Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. What a pity.
This year, we have the unfortunate example of a university choosing not to stand for freedom of expression, critical thinking and robust debate and instead folding under pressure. Good going, Brandeis University. You’re setting a terrific example.
The “offending” speaker was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 44, a feminist and outspoken critic of Islam who is affiliated with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After an outcry spearheaded by Muslim students unwilling to share their moment with someone whose views they consider offensive, Ali was disinvited to the May 18 ceremony.
Atheist leader David Silverman drops support for Brandeis University over Ayaan Hirsi Ali controversy
David Silverman, president of American Atheists who graduated from Brandeis in 1988, announced that he is withdrawing his support from Brandeis University and its alumni association because the academic institution rescinded its plans to give an honorary degree to controversial social commentator Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“Today, that pride is gone as Brandeis has caved to religious intolerance masquerading as political correctness and uninvited a valuable voice in the discussion of religion in public life,” wrote Silverman.
Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.
Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.
Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.
Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women’s basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.