The University has censured at least three students for their disruption of an Oct. 4, 2006 protest by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, one of the implicated students confirmed Tuesday. The disclosure, which came one day after it was revealed that three students had received lesser disciplinary warnings, signifies the harshest known punishment for any of the protest participants to date.
The incident in question, as Torch readers may know, was a disruptive protest that erupted at a College Republicans-sponsored speech by Gilchrist, a vocal opponent of illegal immigration. In disciplining the protestors, it seems that Columbia has rejected the ‘heckler’s veto’ and stood up for the principle that even controversial speech should be allowed to proceed unimpeded on its campus. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era for freedom of expression at Columbia, where other freedom-related controversies are still ongoing? We at FIRE certainly hope so.