Today FIRE unveils the second video in our series examining censorship of hot-button issues on college campuses. Our new video, Portraits of Terror, tells the story of artist Joshua Stulman, whose exhibit of the same name was censored at Penn State University in 2006 by two professors who claimed that the art violated Penn State's policy against "hate speech."
What was the focus of the exhibit, you might wonder?
The exhibit "Portraits of Terror," the entirety of which may be seen here, explores the promotion of terrorism and anti-Semitism in the Palestinian territories. Stulman, who is Jewish, focuses on the origins of anti-Israeli terrorism, and in a previous project had focused on the "appropriation" of Nazi imagery by Hamas and Hezbollah. For this, according to a lawsuit later filed by Stulman against Penn State University and the two professors who censored him, he was called into a meeting with his art professor, Robert Yarber, where he was told that he was a racist, that his art was racist, that it promoted Islamophobia, and that he "was calling all Arabs murderers and deliberately misleading uninformed university students to promote the idea that all Arabs are terrorists." Perhaps in order to highlight the fierce political disagreement between Yarber and Stulman, Stulman's complaint goes on to allege that Yarber also said that "Israel is a terrorist state" and that Israel had "no right to exist." Indeed, the Daily Collegian, Penn State's student newspaper, reported at the time that the university had justified canceling the exhibit by claiming that it "did not promote cultural diversity" or "opportunities for democratic dialogue," and that another professor claimed it "did not mesh with the university's educational mission."