Seems like it’s been ages since we’ve heard of crazed left-wing university students throwing pies at speakers, so I’m almost nostalgic about this:
Brown University is condemning the actions of two people — at least one of whom is a student — who threw a pie-like substance Tuesday night at Thomas Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times who was speaking on the campus. Friedman took a few minutes to clean himself up, but continued his talk. Michael Chapman, vice president for public affairs and university relations, issued a statement in which he said: “Freedom of speech is prized on a university campus. While Brown students are encouraged to express their opinions on any subject and in a variety of forums, the university does not tolerate such assaults against a speaker or disrupting the right of others to hear a speaker’s perspectives.” The statement said that one of those involved was apprehended and identified as a student. “The university will review this incident through its non-academic disciplinary system to determine the appropriate response.”
This is the same Thomas Friedman, by the way, who wrote The World is Flat, the seminal work for much of today’s edublogging. More:
The Providence Journal reported that the incident involved paper plates with shamrock-colored whipped cream. After they were thrown at Friedman, one of those protesting threw in the air leaflets that criticized Friedman, saying: “Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face because of his sickeningly cheery applause for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand.”
These morons have just enough intellect and courage to hit somebody in the face with a pie and then run away, trailing badly-written quasi-philosophical leaflets in their wake; but not enough to actually write real books and give public lectures about the issues. Here’s hoping Brown acts with some toughness on this.