Administrators at UCLA’s law school allowed student protestors to block an invited author from selling his book about Islamic terrorism at a university seminar about free speech, according to the author.
Elan Journo, the director of policy research at the Ayn Rand Institute, was invited to the university discussion event as part of the Ayn Rand Institute. The institute helped sponsor the Feb. 1, 2017 event entitled, “Is Free Speech Under Attack.”
Journo is co-author of Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond, and was given the green light to sell his book among the booksellers outside the panel discussion.
In an op-ed published by TheHill newspaper, Journo described his book as an investigation into “how certain philosophic ideas undercut America’s response to the jihadist movement, including notably its attacks on freedom of speech.”
But as the book sat at its display table, a group of UCLA students took umbrage over the book and agitated to have it removed. The group of students surrounded the table where the book was displayed and began to insist that it was “offensive.”
In his op-ed, Journo noted that none of the students admitted to having read any part of the book other than its title.
“They felt the book was ‘offensive’ and ‘insulting.’ They had ‘issues’ with the views that I and my co-author, Onkar Ghate, put forward. Our views, it seems, were ‘Islamophobic.’ Based on what? Apparently, for some of them, it was the book’s title,” Journo wrote.
The author said that the students “enforced their own brand of thought control” and surrounded his table to blockade it from interested buyers. Then the demonstrators demanded that school officials ban the book from the forum. “By blocking access to the book, they were essentially trying to ban it,” he wrote.
Shockingly, a staffer of the college agreed with the students and ordered the book banned from the premises.
Journo said, “a rep from UCLA did step in–to abet the student protestors. My book was ‘inflammatory.’ It had to go.”
“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,” Journo said.
Journo concluded that the incident is a sad example of the way today’s students are taught “to put their feelings above facts.”
“Some students demand to be protected from what they merely believe, without evidence, are uncongenial views,” he wrote. “They demand that non-orthodox views be silenced. And such universities as UCLA willingly coddle and appease them.”
The incident, Journo concluded, does not bode well for the future leaders of the nation.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.