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May 27, 2016


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David Schraub

I think I agree with this, though I'd suggest that it's a closer call than this post indicates -- mostly going to whether or not the request that there only be an official Dartmouth recording is a legitimate one. While I don't want to die on this hill, I'm not convinced -- it seems contrary to the spirit of open academic inquiry that professors be allowed to insist that their general-purpose academic lectures be kept under cloak or that only "official" representatives of the university administration be allowed to record them. While I actually think there is something to Prof. Ahuja's narrative -- though clearly wildly hyperbolic, it is fair to talk about the degrees to which women of color are placed under increased scrutiny and surveillance to micromanage their public contributions -- I think you also get at an important counternarrative wherein this student, who had every reason not to trust the impetus behind or the accessibility of the "official" recording, took it upon himself to create an independent record, only to be stymied by the invocation of private property and state violence. Under this view, his role is more akin to the bystander recording a police encounter, and Puar (who, as you note, is backed by considerable institutional, social, and governmental power in this encounter) takes on the role of the officer who prevents such recordings under the guise of it being, well, "disruptive".

Further, we should be clear that it looks like this student did not wish to "disrupt" Prof. Puar's speech in any way -- he only wished to passively record it. The "disruption" occurred because the university acceded to Prof. Puar's request that no such recordings be permitted (Prof. Martin says they were legally obligated to accede to this request, which I cannot imagine is true -- certainly, it seems like Dartmouth could if it wished require all speakers on campus assent to recordings by members of the Dartmouth community), and the student did not cooperate. As I said, I think he should have cooperated, but this is a far cry from a "normal" disruption which actually seeks to prevent the speaker from speaking.

Steve L.

It depends on your definition of "legitimate," David. Dartmouth can make its own rules about recording speakers on university property, and students cannot violate them simply because they are ill considered. In any case, Puar believes she has been singled out for harassment, and she might have been concerned about how the student's video would be edited.

As you probably know, Harvard edited out the segment of its video in which a law student insulted Tzipi Livni. I think that was the humane decision, basically trying to save the student from the consequences of his own poor judgment. Perhaps Dartmouth had the possibility of something like that in mind.

I agree that Prof. Martin's claim of legal obligation is dubious, and Dartmouth could have adopted an open recording policy, in which case Puar could accepted or declined the invitation to speak. But Dartmouth chose another approach, and it was boorish of the student to act as he did.


". . . queer and feminist scholars, and specifically women of color, face disproportionate intimidation when taking public positions on political matters that we all have a right to freely address.”

This strikes me as backwards descriptively, at least in the academic context, especially the notion that feminist scholars face "disproportionate intimidation" when "taking positions on political matters." On the contrary, those who dare challenge them with as much of a pretense of epistemic authority as feminists so often display essentially set themselves up for the most severe kind of moral bullying there is: "misogynist!"

I've heard people literally say that (especially male) scholars risk tenure if they want to, say, publicly challenge the feminist framing of intimate partner violence, or dissent from feminist explanations for the nature, causes, and severity of the sexual assault problem on college campuses. Talk about algorithmic militarism; what an (ironically ironic) apt phrase!

Help Us

Our nation is sliding. Sorry, but it's true. Vigorous dissent and debate is good IF there is a reasonable good faith basis. The radical feminists and make bashers, and other assorted types bash Israel yet they are strangely quiet on say Saudi law prohibiting women from driving and until recently from voting. In Israel there are Muslim members of Parliament and mosques. Are there synagogues in qatar? No. Santa on saudi sure if santa wants to be in jail or worse. Aren't gays thrown from roofs in gaza? Yes it's a fact. Christians and Jews and women just ain't treated the same. Yet these lunatics only hate white men and Isreal.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

These folks remind me of a Donald Trump with some literary skills. Just because one is intellectually gifted, doesn't mean they are smart.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Help Us:

Israel, the US and a few other nations are held to a higher standard than Gaza, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. Nobody expects these nations to act right. We hold ourselves to much higher values...and the world has been conditioned to expect it.

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