UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau controversially e-mailed the whole campus on Monday, placing blame for the Tucson, Arizona, shooting on the "climate" of speech in Arizona. Birgeneau went so far as to write that "A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy." Criticism of Birgeneau’s e-mail has been making its way across the news wires, and today, Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times picked up FIRE’s reaction to Birgeneau’s e-mail:
A leader of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties group, also criticized the chancellor’s remarks. "The supposition that political expression created a climate that led Loughner to his choice is an idea that seems to have sprung from whole cloth out of the minds of people who likely were upset beforehand about ‘rhetoric’ and ‘hateful’ speech, including, apparently, Chancellor Birgeneau," Adam Kissel wrote.
Stay tuned for analysis of Blume’s article on The Torch later today.