bin Laden–so yesterday’s news!
Only New Yorkers could care about this, so the rest of you don’t have to read it. Tony Kushner, award-winning playwright, etc., was voted unworthy by CUNY to receive an honorary degree because his views on Israel were said to be unacceptable to one of the board members. The rest of the board voted to table his nomination thus killing it. Another flap in the Big Apple?
Jim Dwyer, indefatigable NYTimes columnist called up Jeffrey Wiesenfeld the complainant in the case who revealed that he is a political hack who didn’t really expect the board to vote with him–probably another bunch of hacks.
Outrage has ensued and everyone who is anyone is returning their honorary degrees to CUNY.
Stephen Walt has weighed in raising the metaphysical level of the controversy to international proportions.
Thank goodness everything has returned to normal–at least in NYC.
UPDATE: Let’s have a re-do: “Under mounting pressure, the City University of New York board of trustees moved on Friday to reverse its decision earlier this week to withhold an honorary degree from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner because of one trustee’s concerns about Mr. Kushner’s views regarding Israel.”
May 9 Update: More redo by Clyde Haberman …”Then there is a fundamental question that Mr. Schmidt and his colleagues have yet to answer: If free expression is such a “bedrock” principle, how come it didn’t occur to any of them to make that point while Mr. Wiesenfeld was holding forth on Mr. Kushner — with statements, by the way, that the playwright has called utter distortions of his views on Israel?” BUT is it a bedrock principle of universities? There’s a good question.
Au contraire: Stanley Fish says it may have been a dumb decision but it was not a violation of acadmeic freedom.