According to The College Fix, a free speech seminar at UCLA on Feb. 1 became an exercise in censorship when a book on “Islamic Totalitarianism” was removed from sight after boisterous student protest.
Students are said to have formed a human shield around the table where the offending book, entitled Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism, rested. After shocked and outraged students demanded the book’s removal, UCLA staff intervened and did just that.
The denial of free speech occurred at an event in support of free speech, sponsored by the UCLA chapters of the Federalist Society and the Ayn Rand Institute — groups that have not been banned thus far at the university.
Though UCLA issued an apology for removing the book, a campus spokesman is downplaying the incident, suggesting no one formed a human shield around the table and that students voiced their objections in a civil tone.
But that’s the university’s side of the story. The book’s author, Elan Journo, who is a director of policy research at the Ayn Rand Institute, told The College Fix that he received a full report on the incident from staff members who were manning the table.
Journo reported that about a dozen UCLA students confronted the staff members to object to the “insulting” language in the book and then proceeded to surround the table so that no one could view the book or even its title.
He said that “based on eyewitness accounts of my colleagues on the scene … when the UCLA rep stepped in, my colleagues who were staffing the table tried to point out the absurdity of ban the book. At that point, the rep picked up the stack of books and demanded that all copies of the book be removed, and that either he would take them or they could be put them under the table.”
The author was so offended by the conduct of the students and the university’s affirmation of their behavior that he submitted an op ed piece to the The Hill, in which he stated:
“Thus: at a panel about freedom of speech and growing threats to it — not least from Islamists — UCLA students and school administrators tried to ban a book that highlights the importance of free speech, the persistent failure to confront Islamic totalitarianism, and that movement’s global assaults on free speech.”