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November 04, 2020


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LawProf John Banzhaf


Zoom Censoring University Meetings, and Scholars Can’t Even Discuss It;
Policy – in U.S., Not Just in China – Condemned by Major Academic Bodies

Zoom is apparently going beyond what other tech giants are accused of - censoring news and comments which they find objectionable - by not permitting campus scholars and academic organizations to hold meetings on some topics the company is concerned about, even including meetings to discuss such censorship.

Zoom reportedly cancelled a meeting about Palestine organized by San Francisco State University, and then cancelled two meetings that were then called about the cancellation, organized by University of Hawaii and NYU.

In other words, argues one professor, we cannot even discuss Zoom's censorship policies on Zoom. The AAUP chapter at NYU wryly noted that it is “an act of sick comedy to censor an event about censorship.”

This form of censorship is especially disturbing now when so many academic conferences, symposiums, and other important meetings must be held on line, rather than in person as in the past.

Indeed, many if not most college classes are now being taught on Zoom, so cancellation of events based upon what is planned to be discussed can have a devastating effect on free speech and academic freedom.

Scholars and their organizations - for example, the Association for Asian Studies, the Middle East Studies Association, Council of University of California Faculty Association, and the National Coalition Against Censorship - have all protested bitterly.

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