Michigan vs. Yale in the Big Game

We recently remarked on the efficacy of a Harvard education toward one's ability to give nuanced and sophisticated commentary on current events. ("Censorship is bad."—Natalie Portman) Now comes one Alexis Surovov, Yale graduate, currently an advisor to the Yale Anglers Journal, and Assistant Director of the Annual Giving Programs at Yale Law School.

Alexis was incensed at the recent effort of Clinton Taylor urging protest of the admission to Yale of one Sayeed Rahmatullah, Taliban official. Specifically, Taylor suggested sending "glamorous, decadent, shameless-hussy-scarlet press-on nails" to the Yale Development Office and President as a reminder of the Taliban's policy of removing the fingernails of women who ventured to wear fingernail polish. (Or, sometimes, apparently not wanting to mess with the details of fingernail removal, taking a whole thumb.)

Alexis e-mailed Mr. Taylor anonymously:

What is wrong with you? Are you retarded? This is the most disgraceful alumni article that I have ever read in my life. You failed to mention that you've never contributed to the Yale Alumni Fund in your life. But to suggest that others follow your negative example is disgusting.
Unfortunately, the e-mail was easily traced back to Alexis, and now Yale has to deal with multiple embarrassments.

In contrast to the venerable realms of the Ivy League, one might expect that the University of Michigan would show even less respect to free expression. Via FIRE's Torch blog, we have the results of that experiment, as recounted by the editor in chief of the student paper, The Michigan Daily.

The problem was a number of editorial cartoons printed in the paper:

The most controversial of these cartoons portrayed a high school classroom full of dark-skinned students and one white student. At the front of the classroom, a black teacher tells the class that they can all expect special preferences when applying to college - except for Bob, the lone white student.
Somewhat predictably:
Student leaders, arguing that the cartoon was "objectively racist," demanded retractions and printed apologies. Later, a committee of the University's faculty senate even argued that it was potentially illegal - that the caricature of "an institutional policy favoring diversity" could, by encouraging a "racially hostile learning environment," violate federal equal-protection laws.
Some student newspapers when confronted with such a situation fold like a sleeping fruitbat. (Many more avoid such situations in the first place by avoiding content likely to cause such a response.) Fortunately, the editor has a spine:
In the interest of free debate, the Daily will continue to print cartoons that may occasionally offend you. That's an inevitable part of being a newspaper, and a campus newspaper especially should be a place where ideas are exchanged freely. It would be much easier for us to simply pull all cartoons that are potentially offensive, but we would be doing the campus a disservice.
Read the whole thing, it's an eloquent defense of free expression on the campus. It's especially recommended to readers at Harvard and Yale.