Well, it was only a matter of time before the complaints got to Amy Gutmann. She issued a statement today assuring everyone that she was indeed offended by the suicide bomber costume. The statement reads,
Each year, the president hosts a Halloween party for Penn students. More than 700 students attend. They all crowd around to have their picture taken with me in costume. This year, one student who had a toy gun in hand had his picture taken with me before it was obvious to me that he was dressed as a suicide bomber. He posted the photo on a website and it was picked up on several other websites.The costume is clearly offensive and I was offended by it. As soon as I realized what his costume was, I refused to take any more pictures with him, as he requested. The student had the right to wear the costume just as I, and others, have a right to criticize his wearing of it.
College administrators should eliminate speech codes and defend free speech in all cases. No hypocrisy. No double standards.
Creating a “genocide” exception to free speech only opens the door to more speech restrictions and selective enforcement.
Frederick Douglass argued that freedom of speech was essential in maintaining one’s liberty. In the minds of Douglass and other abolitionists, the free exchange of ideas produced greater political freedom.
Special guest post by Stephen Rohde on the string of controversies regarding free speech and anti-Semitism on college campuses.