It's funny how freedom of speech works. Sometimes it's a blessing, and other time's it's a curse. I guess it depends on the side you're on.
Lisa Daftari, Rutgers Alum, Iranian-American journalist, and *insert all other titles that may be relevant* was scheduled to come to Rutgers for a "Radicalism on College Campuses" speech. Oh sorry, that's not what that really means. The speech was actually about freedom of speech and Daftari was supposed to be conversing about "how we can use our college campuses as a place for learning, thinking and leadership rather than violence, hatred, and radicalism."
Okay, let's pause. Here's a throwback to when Lisa Daftari said, "When you go to the mosque and you're part of a community, and you want to feel important and relevant, and want to give back to the cause — [ISIS] recruits you." And she's previously made concerning comments in regards to Islamophobia.
And let's not forget to point out that Rutgers University Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) has funded her to come using our tuition money. I'm not quite sure about you, but it worries me that Rutgers University, which constantly boasts about its diversity, sponsored an individual who may threaten the Muslim community on campus.
So freedom of speech allowed for a Rutgers student to start a petition aimed at preventing Daftari from appearing on Rutgers New Brunswick campus.
And freedom of speech allowed for Daftari to tweet the petition with the caption, "BULLIES at Rutgers University threatening to cancel my talk. Ironically the talk is on freedom of speech on campus." (In case you're wondering, I didn't capitalize "bullies," that's just how she wrote it. Check it out.)
And freedom of speech allowed for a group of mainly Muslim students and staff members to sit down with Vice Chancellor Ben Sifuentes to address our concerns. Just to be clear, we have no issue that her point of view is different than ours. Nor do we have an issue with her utilizing her First Amendment Right to freedom of speech. We were merely disappointed that Rutgers paid for her to come.
And freedom of speech allowed for Rutgers University UAA to inform Daftari that her event has been postponed. Daftari assumed that postponement equaled cancellation.
I guess we all interpret things differently.
And freedom of speech allowed for a student to create a counter-petition calling for the event to remain scheduled. Despite Vice Chancellor's email to Daftari providing her with dates in November that she may reschedule her talk, but she denied.
Lisa Daftari states, "To come back after the damage has been done to my reputation and suggest that this was some misunderstanding... lacks the integrity and respect that I would have hoped from my alma mater."
You see, that's the funny thing about freedom of speech. We all use it in the way we see will be of benefit to us. Lisa Daftari, you were coming to talk to us about freedom of speech, but I think we already have a pretty good idea of how that works.