Two posts at Volokh Conspiracy, one by Eugene and the other by Dale Carpenter, raise some questions that could stand some answers. Eugene’s post offers some school-wide emails from NYU Law School student groups about an “issue” that arose with the Halloween party.
The Mental Health Law and Justice Association writes this open letter in order to express grave concern and outrage at the triggering, disrespectful, and harmful suicide imagery displayed at Fall Ball.
During last night’s Fall Ball, which was organized by NYU Law’s Office of Student Affairs, there were video projections on the windows inside of Greenberg Lounge of silhouetted people engaging in what we can only imagine were intended to be “spooky” activities. One of the images projected displayed a man dying by suicide. Because MHLJA follows the recommendations of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to not discuss suicide methods and firmly believes in publishing content that is safe for all members of our community, we will not provide any more details about the projection. However, members of our organization do have photographs of the images, should your administration need corroboration.
Evidence! Nice to see that they learned something, but “harmful suicide imagery”? Not only is this more than law students can handle, but sufficiently more that they need to blast out their complaint to the whole school? And yet, that wasn’t the end of it, as the buddy system is apparently in use at NYU law school.
The Latino Law Students Association (LaLSA) would like to join our friends in the Mental Health Law and Justice Association (MHLJA) in condemning the distasteful and triggering suicide imagery that was displayed at NYU’s Fall Ball. Like MHLJA, we believe that “our campus should be a safe space for all members of our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Violence and the difficult mental health challenges of people are not a joke, a gimmick, or a spectacle.”
Not that it impacts the substance, but I would be remiss not to add:
As a community, Latinxs* continue to experience significant rates of suicide and chronic depression.
*Because LaLSA is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive space for all members of our community, we use the term Latinx, pronounced “La-teen-ex”, as a gender-neutral alternative to the usual gendered designation of Latino/a and [email protected]
That’s going to warm judges’ hearts with your dedication to “fostering a safe and inclusive space.” What grown-up doesn’t think every child shouldn’t get to butcher the language for hxs (see what I did there?) feelz?
But what Dale describes isn’t as facially laughable.
On Tuesday afternoon an Israeli academic was shouted down by two dozen protesters as he tried to begin a lecture before about 100 students and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The lecturer was Moshe Halbertal, a professor at NYU Law School and a professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew University.
The protests were apparently organized by a group calling itself the “Anti-War Committee,” which bragged on its Twitter feed about having disrupted the lecture and complained that the protesters’ “free speech” rights were violated when a few were arrested.
The protesters are confused as to their “free speech” rights to shout down another person’s speech, as opposed to holding their own lecture attended by no one or protesting outside, so that the lecture could happen as well. Speak all you want, but preventing another person from speaking isn’t your free speech. It’s just censorship.
And these two posts at VC raise the questions. Are these outliers, in one instance the ridiculously fragile teacups who seek out things to be offended about whenever possible? Are these narcissistic zealots, who have their issue and think it’s so critical, even when it’s puny, that their world must hear about it?
Is it acceptable to students, most students, many students, a few students, that they are being subjected to this inane tripe? Is this acceptable to most law students? Are you happy having a lecturer silenced? Would you rather your Halloween party serve only plain vanilla ice cream so no one will ever be offended again?
From my seat, this would appear to either be a joke, a few special snowflakes inflicting their deeply-held passionate feelings on everyone else, or a condemnation of how students have gone off the deep-end.
And the backside is that if the majority of students want to be able to hear a lecture by someone with whom an identitarian group disagrees, do you let them ruin it for you? If you enjoy a Halloween party, or any party for that matter, do you tell the victimhood flavor of the day to shut up? Can you, or will you be branded a hater and shunned by the overly sensitive?
Where do students stand? If this is not the majority sense of students, why is it tolerated? At what point do students say “enough” to their fellow students?