Let Mohammed El-Kurd Speak At UVM
UVM administration has cancelled this week’s planned guest lecture with Mohammed El-Kurd — one of the most important and influential Palestinian voices in the entire world — against the wishes of both sponsoring departments and the Dean of CAS. We are repulsed by UVM’s decision to censor this event in a blatant betrayal of their supposed commitment to openness and justice.
Even more outrageous than the decision itself is their reasoning. Their excuses hinged on “safety concerns” that they did not have the capacity to accommodate — an obvious lie, as they have more than enough resources to protect the safety of a seated guest lecture with one entrance. Their true motive was revealed in one of their paragraphs:
“[…] Additionally, our safety and security concerns extend beyond the date of the event to secondary impacts to our campus affiliates that are foreseeable. Therefore, the event will not be held on UVM’s campus.”
UVM is directly implying that a Palestinian poet and attendees of his event are a danger to other students. This rhetoric is disgusting and racist. It is indefensible. It sends a clear message to Palestinian students: that you are seen as a threat, that we do not care about your free expression, and that we will make no effort to protect your safety.
Every single person who is outraged by this needs to email the following addresses telling them how you feel, and demanding that they reinstate the event.