Since 1965, students at Syracuse University have been walking by a law-school building that features a sculpture of Moses with horns on his head. Not until this spring did any student group have a problem with this. But then Michael Steinberg saw it and everything changed. Mike is president of the Jewish Law Association on campus. With dispatch, he asked the university to remove the sculpture, saying that at the very least they should put a plaque next to it that would reassure Jews that it was not meant to be offensive.
No sooner had Mike spoken up when Sivan Kaminsky chimed in, arguing that the local chapter of Hillel did not find the sculpture offensive; Sivan is the executive director of the Jewish group’s local chapter.
This left the administration in a pickle. But not for long: school officials quickly came down on the side of Mike and that is why a special plaque will be placed alongside the artwork.
Now just imagine what would have happened had the two conflicting groups been Catholic and were fighting over some alleged anti-Catholic artwork on campus. Is there any doubt which side the administration would have taken? Indeed, would not the objecting group have been branded extremist and overly-sensitive? Would there not be cries of censorship in the air?
Those who think we’re not giving Syracuse officials their due should consider this. Last October, when Pat Buchanan gave a talk at Syracuse, gay activists not only disrupted his talk, they actually burned a Bible outside the chapel where Pat spoke. Yet not a word of protest was heard from the administration’s sensitivity police.
You get the point. If some Jews see anti-Semitism, college officials see anti-Semitism. If some Catholics see anti-Catholicism—even when the incident is a Nazi book-burning event—college officials see freedom of speech. Welcome to college.