It has been confirmed that funds have been secured for a visit from controversial Professor Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry and Beyond Chutzpah. The organizers of the speech said that their funding had come from the Finance Board, but the date and location of the speech had yet to be determined.
Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha '08 said that the decision to finance Finkelstein's speech was made after much consideration. "The F-Board had a good meeting with RSA and Arab-Culture clubs. We asked many questions on why they want to bring him, why him, contents of the program, and, most importantly, how this event will benefit the Brandeis student body academically," he said.
Ha added that "I have also spoken with members of Campaign for Peace committee. Clubs met with the committee members before coming to the F-Board. They discussed how to make this event beneficial."
"For instance, we do not want Brandeis University to turn into a place where professors' purposes are to criticize each other," Ha said. "Rather, we want this place to become a place where anybody can express his or her views as long as they can deliver constructive views that would encourage and develop students' critical thinking skills. Although we are aware of controversies around [Finkelstein], we trust RSA, Arab-Culture, and Campaign for Peace committee for their intention to make this event an academically beneficial one."
Student opinion regarding Finkelstein's visit and the F-Board's funding of the event were mixed.
Tamar Ariel '10 said that "Brandeis prides itself on creating a forum for progressive thought but recently, it's been trying to overcompensate for an image people associate with it and as a result might be compromising valuable debate for speakers who bring media attention. But this is me keeping in the storm that is brewing in me after hearing that F-board is paying for it."
Anna Pancheshnikov '10 said that she felt "a lot of people went to hear Carter, so I think a lot of people are interested and it could be good for the Brandeis community."
Evan Green-Lowe '10 said "as much as Brandeis should be open and willing to permit anyone to speak, it's important to be weary of the line between freely expressing ideas and purposefully riling emotions."
Meanwhile, Sam Zelitch '09 said that "I have no problem as long as it's not hate speech. From my understanding, the F-Board can support any speaker as long as it's not hate speech. As long as it's not hate speech, I would support them paying for anyone to come."