Officials at the
On June 24, Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas wrote to Robinson as follows: I have received the report of the Charges Committee regarding charges brought against you. The Committee did not find probable cause to undertake disciplinary action in this matter. I have accepted the findings of the Charges Committee. Accordingly, this matter is now terminated. However, Robinson is demanding an apology and an investigation of the investigation, so the affair may drag on for a while.
There are allegation of irregularities in the original investigation that may indeed warrant further inquiry. There is a claim that the Academic Senates ad hoc committee cleared Robinson on May 15; the six-week delay in communicating this fact to Robinson is unexplained. More seriously, it is claimed that a member of the Academic Senate Charges Committee violated rules of confidentiality by discussing the case with UCSB Hillels rabbi.
Such questions may keep the affair alive for a bit longer, but at the risk of losing sight of the important lessons to be drawn.
First, academic freedom, as a subset of freedom of speech, is a primary, fundamental value in a properly functioning liberal democracy. The investigation of Robinson can be seen in one of two ways: a) an attempt to shut down speech we (whoever we is) dont like, or b) an attempt to protect Robinsons students right to be free from intimidation. If it was a), the investigation was improper. If it was b), the university apparently determined that there was no improper intimidation. Given the fact that theres no evidence of intimidation beyond the email itself, the university probably got it right.
Second, while Robinson has the right to his opinion, comparing
Third, some friends of
The Palestinians have been amazingly successful propagandists, for two reasons.
They aggressively portray themselves as victims of the Jews, rather than suffering the natural consequences of the choices their leaders have made, notwithstanding the abundant evidence to the contrary. After all,
They play to the tendency of the illiberal Left to defend self-proclaimed victims, as though oppression could itself confer virtue on one side of a dispute. Its as if a child in a market were shrieking, biting and kicking his mother because he wanted some candyand bystanders took his side just because he was the smaller person.
Some friends of
It would be better if pro-Israel youth were taught that universities are places of robust, unbuttoned free speech, and their job is to step up to the plate and supply the missing side of the debate. In a free society, no adult has a right to have his feeling unruffled or his convictions unchallenged. Friends of
As an ethical and practical proposition, people like Robinson cant be silenced; they must be answered. Fortitude is required, because the task of defending