At 3 p.m. yesterday, the Harvard Office of Career Services hosted a counterterrorism career panel that included representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and two non-partisan security think tanks. Joining the panelists were two distinct groups of Harvard students: one genuinely interested in potential careers in counter-terrorism, and another group consisting of rude, self-proclaimed morally superior, intellectually indoctrinated protestors.
Let me be perfectly clear, while a tasteful protest marched on outside the Science Center, I am referring to the disruptive protestors sitting at the event. The propagandists' techniques of disruption varied: their base tactics ranged from coughing incessantly to the point where none of the panelists could be heard, interrupting presentations to ask ludicrous questions such as "Isn't it true you train your employees to torture," staging a mock deportation of an ethnic minority protestor midway through the discussion, clapping obnoxiously to halt the dialogue, and ridiculing students who posed legitimate questions to the panelists. A protestor sitting three rows behind me physically made himself vomit.
The chatter after the event, among the legitimate audience, consisted of a single strain: sheer disgust. Liberal and conservative students alike were mortified and disgusted by the behavior of the protestors who were not only disruptive to the panelists but were disrespectful to their fellow Harvard students. Less than an hour after the panel, Russell P. Leino ’05, posted an e-mail to the Cabot House open-list stating that “I always thought the point of a protest was to offer an alternative idea to the one being presented, not drown out ideas one disagrees with in a sea of noise.” Vomiting and wearing black shrouds referencing Abu Ghraib are not effective means of encouraging positive social change and awareness.
This is more evidence of a trend toward academic leftists trying to shut down speech they don't like -- an astonishing hypocrisy given how many of them believe the Bush administration is suppressing dissent, and a dangerous development that threatens open debate on campus. Also, how far gone are we as a society when students at Harvard, the nation's most elite university, need to be reminded that vomiting isn't an "effective means of encouraging positive social change and awareness?"