TIME FOR THAT STUDENT DISSENT DOUBLE CHECK… this is not some anti
vietnam war protest, this is refusing to remember Pearl Harbor because
some Japanese would be offended?
U Minn Paper -
On Tuesday, November 10, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA)–the
undergraduate student government at the University of Minnesota-Twin
Cities (UMN)– rejected a resolution for a moment of recognition on
future anniversaries of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.Theo
Menon, the student group representative to MSA for the College
Republicans (CRs) at UMN, introduced the resolution; MSA’s forum voted
against it 36-23 (with three abstentions). The proposed resolution
pointed to the university’s lack of any sort of commemoration regarding
the attacks on 9/11. It then called for a campus-wide moment of
recognition on every September 11 from now on.
College Students Say Remembering 9/11 Is Offensive to Muslims
How a proposed moment of silence to honor 9/11 victims became the latest victim of the would-be despots of America’s campuses.
everything-is-offensive brand of campus activism has struck a new low:
Students at the University of Minnesota killed a proposed moment of
silence for 9/11 victims due to concerns—insulting, childish
concerns—that Muslim students would be offended.
Has it truly come
to this? Is feelings-protection now such an overriding goal that
completely unreasonable fears win out, even if they have no basis in
reality? Can we not even have a single moment to recognize legitimate
victims of terrorism without worrying that someone will feel
marginalized on campus?
Theo Menon, a Minnesota Student
Association representative and member of the College Republicans,
realized that the university wasn’t doing anything to memorialize 9/11;
on Oct. 6, he introduced an MSA proposal to do just that. The very short
resolution asked the university to institute a “moment of recognition”
during the mornings of all future September 11ths.
The resolution proved weirdly controversial. According to The Minnesota Republic:
MSA representative and Director of Diversity and Inclusion David Algadi
voiced severe criticism of the resolution. He also made sure to
emphasize 9/11’s status as a national tragedy in his response.
passing of this resolution might make a space that is unsafe for
students on campus even more unsafe,” said Algadi. “Islamophobia and
racism fueled through that are alive and well.”
To be clear, the
resolution did not refer to Islam. It did not impugn Muslim students, or
other Muslims. It did not require anyone to contemplate the fact that
the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were Muslims. It said nothing about
whether Islam itself is to blame for global terrorism. It merely stated
that 9/11 has had a lasting effect on many students, and ought to be
reflected upon for a single moment, once a year.
And yet, in an
email obtained by The Washington Post, Algadi expressed concerns that
efforts to recognize 9/11 are sometimes thinly-veiled expressions of
Believe it or now, Algadi was not alone in his
opinion—a majority of student government representatives sided with him,
voting down the resolution in a 36-23 vote this month. There would be
no moment of silence at UMN on Sept. 11, 2016, if students had their
Showing insufficient mournfulness for the great national
tragedy that was 9/11 is itself deeply offensive to many people,
however, and UNM’s administration was quickly inundated with demands for
a rebuke of the vote. UNM President Eric Kaler announced Wednesday that
he would formalize the moment of silence anyway.
did hear from folks on this,” said Evan Lapiska, a spokesperson for UNM,
according to the Star Tribune. “Dean Johnson and President Kaler wanted
to make sure that the folks were aware that the U is committed to
honoring the victims.”
Kaler’s reversal of the vote is a good
reminder that student government politics are ultimately a pointless
sideshow. That’s probably a good thing. What would these
despots-in-training do if they had any real power?
understand a certain amount of wariness about invoking 9/11. It’s
undeniably true that demagogues peddling authoritarian solutions to the
nation’s problems raise the terrifying specter of another mass terrorist
attack on U.S. to justify their proposed abridgments of our freedoms.
Such thinking got us the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Even today,
politicians are invoking 9/11 as part of their paranoid, nativist
reaction to the idea of letting Syrian refugees into the country.
also true that anti-Muslim bigotry exists, and there are people who
blame all Muslims for the actions of a radical few. We should argue
against these sentiments, and we should work to end the terrible acts of
revenge-violence against innocent Muslim Americans.
But we can do
all those things while still taking a single moment out of our days to
mourn the thousands of victims—Muslims among them—of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks. There’s nothing intrinsically insulting toward Muslims about
that. In fact, it’s the people who presumed Muslims’ feelings would be
hurt by such a moment of reflection who are actually the ones insulting
Of course, it’s not just Muslim students’ whose feelings are
zealously guarded by the new regime of campus censors. Students at
university after university are demanding the right to turn campus
spaces—even public spaces—into “safe” spaces: zones of total emotional
and intellectual coddling. What’s more, these students assert that
administrators are required to enforce these safe spaces, even at the
expense of free speech.
As I recently explained in a video for
Reason TV, students already enjoy the right to physical safety;
universities are required to protect them from violence and threats. But
under this new definition of safety—in which hostile or irritating
viewpoints are just as contemptible as actual violence—literally any
act, or statement, or expression, could be a violation of the safe space
ethos. No one’s rights—least of all liberal student activists’
rights—are safe on campus if administrators (and even the cops) are
given a mandate to protect the community from being offended.
whether or not a campus has a moment of silence to reflect on 9/11 is a
fairly low-stakes conflict—people should be free to remember or
not-remember 9/11 in whatever manner they choose. But killing the moment
out of misplaced concerns about offendedness and safety is just about
the silliest thing students could do.
Can we take a moment to reflect on how petty, infantilizing, and ultimately self-defeating college students’ goals have become?
Btw, is there a ‘safe’ space’ there for Jewish and or Israeli students over the West Bank, or HAMAS?