Blaming victim in UMass speech flap

April 18, 2009
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TO BE charitable, Ed Blaguszewski, executive director of news and media relations at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is grossly misinformed ("No real controversy in UMass event," Letters, April 13).

Of my March 11 speech, Blaguszewski wrote: "While Feder was heckled, the police handled the situation in the room without difficulty, which included removing one person. Feder chose to discontinue his speech." What's the phrase liberals love to throw around - blaming the victim?

Demonstrators shouted insults, chanted, and waved banners and signs. Other than physically assaulting me, it's hard to imagine how they could have been more abusive.

Campus police "handled the situation" by essentially doing nothing. Greg Collins, chairman of the UMass Republican Club, pleaded with police to control the crowd.

After 20 minutes, and repeated interruptions, I finally gave up. I didn't choose to discontinue my speech. Trying to speak under those conditions would have been masochistic. (The event was videotaped, and is posted on YouTube.)

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has a long tradition of being a school where the left is allowed to ride roughshod over dissenting views. By its refusal to keep order at conservative lectures, the school has effectively given the student left a veto on free speech.

Don Feder

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