Won't act against students if Osama bin Laden is commemorated in Princeton: Univ Prez replies to Naidu

Expressing his views on the freedom of speech, President of Princeton University has said that the varsity will not take any disciplinary action if Osama bin Laden is commemorated on campus.

Updated: Mar 17, 2016, 19:52 PM IST
Won't act against students if Osama bin Laden is commemorated in Princeton: Univ Prez replies to Naidu

Washington: Expressing his views on the freedom of speech, President of Princeton University has said that the varsity will not take any disciplinary action if Osama bin Laden is commemorated on campus.

Speaking to Indian Express, Princeton University President Christopher L Eisgruber said, “We would and should tolerate that. It would be very disruptive. People would be very angry about the statement. But we would not discipline somebody for making statements of that nature.”

He further added, “We at Princeton believe that it is a fundamental advantage for a university to be able to tolerate even offensive kinds of speech and to respond to bad arguments when they are made with more speech rather than with disciplinary actions.”

Eigruber's statement has come days after Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu had, in a veiled attack, asked if the US will tolerate Osama bin Laden martyrdom anniversary in any of its university.

“We would permit that (event) and there would be no disciplinary action of any kind against those students. That’s unambiguous. It could be very offensive. I might be called upon depending on what the students said or did. Under some circumstances, I might have to speak out and indicate my disagreement as the President (of Princeton) and say that what the students were expressing was not consistent with the views of the university. I expect in the circumstances you are describing, there would be a number of people who would call on me to take action. I get people writing to me saying you must discipline a speaker. We don’t do it even when the views are very offensive,” Eigruber was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

Addressing the Lok Sabha over debate on JNU row, Naidu had asked "Can they hold Osama bin Laden martyrdom anniversary in any university in America?"

He had made the statement while lashing out several foreign countries giving lessons to India over freedom of speech.