Academic and free-speech groups join criticism of Yale U. Press over cartoons in book

September 16, 2009

Criticism continues to rain down on Yale University and Yale University Press for their decision to remove all images of the Prophet Muhammad from a forthcoming scholarly book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen.

Now the National Coalition Against Censorship and a group of academic and free-speech organizations have sent a letter of protest to Yale’s president, Richard C. Levin, and the Yale Corporation. "This misguided action established a dangerous precedent that threatens academic and intellectual freedom around the world," the coalition wrote. It said that the university’s action "compromises the principle and practice of academic freedom, undermines the independence of the press, damages the university’s credibility, and diminishes its reputation for scholarship."

Yale has said it pulled the images because of fears they would trigger violence.

The letter was signed by Joan E. Bertin, the coalition’s executive director, on behalf of 11 other groups. They include the American Association of University Professors, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the College Art Association, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the Middle East Studies Association.

Schools: Yale University Cases: Yale University: Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons at Yale University Press