Our third intern post comes from Aaron Werner, a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania.
At Penn, A Real Scholarly Debate
This past semester, Norman Finkelstein came to speak on Penn’s campus, and I have never been more proud. Whether or not we believe in what Dr. Finkelstein preaches (and I don’t), we can all agree that the response from the Penn community was exactly the response that a controversial speaker warrants. Everyone had a voice, and no one was shouted down.
A myriad of concerned observers wrote to and were published in the Daily Pennsylvanian. I read the opinions of four graduate students, three undergrads, the Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, two political science professors (including the department chairman), and Professor Alan Dershowitz. One of the most amazing things about this discussion was the respectful tone, intelligent observations, and factual evidence presented in arguments. This is the way a scholarly debate should happen.
After much of the controversy died down, DP Executive Editor Shawn Safvi wrote a column praising his staff and the Penn community for their reactions and debate on the issues. I share in Shawn’s pride and applaud the university community for the free flow of ideas in a situation that could have spiraled into an ugly incident, staining Penn’s reputation.
Aaron Werner will be a junior this fall at the University of Pennsylvania where he is studying history and economics. At Penn, Aaron is a student government officer and president of his fraternity. In addition, Aaron enjoy playing tennis and ultimate frisbee in his free time. After college, Aaron hopes to attend law school.