Friday, March 11, 2011

Columbia University Blocks PETA VP From Campus Debate on Ethics of Eating Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals writes:

"PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich has been blocked at the last minute from appearing in a high-profile on-campus debate at Columbia University that was planned for this evening.

Friedrich intended to speak on the ethics of eating animals, as he has done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and more than 25 other top schools in the past 18 months (without incident or concerns from school administrators). But Columbia officials have stated that Friedrich is persona non grata on the campus following his disruption of a 2004 commencement ceremony while protesting animal experimentation at the university.

Columbia has previously allowed a wide range of controversial speakers on campus—including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—making the university's concern about Friedrich's scheduled appearance, which had been in the works for months, all the more surprising."

Friedrich commented, " Two days ago, they told us the event--planned for months--was canceled. Yesterday they told us it could happen, but with attendees limited to ~100 who would have to be on an approved guest list that would be checked by the campus' public safety department. About 20 minutes before I was supposed to board my train for NYC, I got a call saying it had been totally canceled.

This is a curious message for an Ivy League school, and Obama's alma mater no less, to send--that a university's grudge from 7 years ago is more important that the free exchange of ideas. I've had this same event at more than 30 schools in the past 18 months (including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, et al.)."

Dangerous terrorist Bruce Friedrich and his wife,
fellow terror mastermind Alka Chandna, also of PETA.

In an email to National Review Online, Columbia spokesman Robert Hornsby stated that “The University Rules of Conduct apply to all students, faculty, staff and guests on our campus. When individuals who are not members of the University community violate those rules, one of the consequences is loss of the privilege of campus access.”

Is the university really still mad about a disruption seven years ago?  Or are they just wary that bringing PETA to Columbia might help people remember that the university still conducts horrific experiments on animals?  Perhaps they're concerned that people will websearch Columbia and PETA and find this video:

If so, their plan backfired, as their cold feet have generated some media interest:

Gothamist: PETA Wonders Why Mahmoud Can Speak At Columbia But They Can't

National Review Online: PETA VP Unwelcome at Columbia



Hot-Button Campus Issue Promises Lively Evening

What:             Despite roadblocks and resistance from university administrators, PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich, a longtime vegan, will spar with members of the Columbia University debate team, the Columbia Parliamentary Debate Society, over the ethics of eating animals. Friedrich will make the case that all Columbia University students should go vegan—or at least vegetarian—because eating meat is inconsistent with the beliefs that they already likely hold about sustainability, world hunger, and animal rights.

The high-profile event has caused quite a stir on campus, especially after Columbia administrators attempted to restrict attendance to just members of the debate team (reportedly out of security concerns), causing a backlash from students.

"This is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Nearly one in four college students is now demanding vegan meals at school, and if anyone can hammer home the arguments in favor of a vegan diet, Bruce can."

A seasoned debater, Friedrich has faced off against representatives of the fur, meat, and animal-experimentation industries for more than a decade. He also won a top spot while competing on the Showtime reality series American Candidate.

The debate—titled "Is Eating Meat Ethical?"—will be hosted by peta2, PETA's youth division. Friedrich has recently participated in similar debates at Harvard University, Yale University, Brigham Young University, and the University of Texas as part of peta2's latest strategy to make animal rights one of the hottest topics on college campuses.

When:             Thursday, March 10, 7 p.m.

Where:           Roone Arledge Cinema in Lerner Hall, Columbia University, New York

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