Issue 89, Spring 2003

  • When the director of the Emma Goldman Papers Project asked permission to send a solicitation letter, officials at the University of California at Berkeley, where the project is housed, took out the red ink. At issue were quotes by Goldman from the early 1900s, one of which urged people “not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them.” Goldman, at the time, spoke in opposition to World War I. The Chancellor, urged by NCAC and others concerned for freedom of expression, reversed the decision.
  • A Manhattanville College basketball player in New York, Toni Smith, is turning her back to the flag during the national anthem. Some applaud her, others heckle; the college administration supports her right to protest.
  • If Texas Congressmember John Carter has his way, college students who download music and other copyrighted material from the Internet may find themselves in jail. He reportedly suggested that jailing students would stop piracy.
  • Paradise, an award-winning play by Glyn O’Malley, which examines the impact of war on Israeli and Palestine youth, will not be produced as scheduled after Muslim leaders in Cincinnati protested. The play is about two girls, a jihad-bomber and her murder victim. The Cincinnati Playhouse had staged a reading for educators and leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities in February.
  • Grand Rapids Community College found itself in a bind when a legislator on the finance committee called to find out if state money was being used in a local theater group production of Corpus Christi at the college. Constituents complained that the play is sacrilegious. Rather than risk the legislator’s ire, The Actors’ Theatre moved the play to the Fountain Street Church; its Reverend Judith Walker Riggs said, “The great figure of Christ…cannot be harmed by a few words spoken by a few actors in Grand Rapids, MI. But some of our own hearts might be encouraged to move away from narrow-mindedness, hatred and violence.” The college maintains its sponsorship of the Actors’ Theatre.
  • Joy Crane in Sioux Falls, S.D. had two pieces of art removed from a government mapping center which regularly hosts exhibits by local artists. Deeming them “inappropriate,” the center removed sculptures of a tiny pregnant male, and the Earth emerging from the birth canal. NCAC is urging the center to develop exhibit policies that protect artistic freedom.
  • The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has issued a comprehensive report on actions the government has taken since 9/11 to limit information available to the media and to the public. The report, entitled Homefront Confidential: How the War on Terrorism Affects Access to Information and the Public’s Right to Know, is the third in a series. It analyzes the impact of the Homeland Security Act and the USA Patriot Act, as well as the President’s order for military tribunals and secret detention hearings and the Attorney General’s directive on the federal Freedom of Information Act. To view the report online, click here.