In Dr. Astrab’s ALLNCC email of December 1st he indicates he is distressed by a recent disturbing email. Well, we too are very distressed by that and much, much more. We are distressed by what is transpiring at this institution. Each week seems to bring another “crisis” justifying draconian cuts, curtailment of our contractually guaranteed right to self-governance and now our liberties as members of an academic institution where free and open discourse must be the rule, not the exception. The question is: where does it all end? And we believe we now know the answer: when shared governance is no more than words on a piece of paper.
And now an un-named, unknown threat sent over the College email is the pretext to suspend our access to the ALLNCC email list. Dr. Astrab’s December 1st email puts forward the argument that “inaccurate” or “critical,” or “misleading” statements have somehow created a climate that “can engender fear for one’s own personal physical safety and for that of one’s family.” Fear of controversy now justifies censorship.
At my Nassau Community College we do not equate strenuous debate with fear. At my Nassau Community College we do not fear the honest exchange of ideas, no matter how strongly we may disagree, and at my Nassau Community College we do not stifle that exchange, even if a single individual may have abused that right.
Yes, threats to one’s person are frightening and must not be tolerated. However, just as alarming are threats to one’s speech and liberty. Indeed, without freedom of thought and expression, all that is left is fear and intimidation. And this, sadly enough, is where we are headed at Nassau Community College.