New York University: Suppression of Discussion of Mohammed Cartoons


New York University

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Case Overview


In violation of its own policies, New York University (NYU) refused to allow a student group to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammed at a public event. Even though the purpose of the event was to show and discuss the cartoons, an administrator suddenly ordered the students either not to display them or to exclude 150 off-campus guests from attending. The NYU Objectivist Club decided to hold a panel discussion entitled "Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons," at which the cartoons would be displayed. The event, like previous Objectivist Club events, was open to the public. NYU Director of Student Activities Robert Butler informed the group that they had two choices: they must either not display the cartoons, or not allow anyone from off campus to attend the event. NYU President John Sexton refused to back down, despite FIRE's protesting that the university's actions blatantly violated the students' rights to free speech and expression.