Somebody did something, but we can’t say who

Brandeis issued a revoltingly passive-aggressive cowardly evasive statement about its chickenshit surrender to theocrats.

Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement.

Weasels. Say it! “We rescinded our honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali scheduled for this year’s commencement.” Say “we,” dammit! Don’t say her “name has been withdrawn” as if it had been a miracle. There’s an agent or agents here; word your statement accordingly. “President Frederick Lawrence talked to Ayaan Hirsi Ali today and told her we’re withdrawing her name as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement.” Own it, say it, use subjects instead of the agentless passive voice.

She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.  For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.

Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.

That’s it, that’s the rest of it. Note the total lack of an apology to Hirsi Ali for offering her something and then taking it back. Note the craven smarmy ass-covering blather. Notice, and spit.





  1. Claire Ramsey says

    “the spirit of free expression”???

    And these people constitute an actual university.


  2. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Spot on and well said, Ophelia Benson.

    we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.

    Like what I wonder?

    Criticising misogyny and the worst aspects of a particularly nasty religious ideology? Standing up for women and human rights against misogynistic violent scumbags?

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    ‘Offended’ Muslims actually riot, burn and kill. Everyone seems willing to allow this intimidation and NO ONE seems willing to admit that their decisions are affected by it.

    It is that secondary cowardice that is worse.

    Unable to ignore past statements? Then why did they do exactly that, until the professional ‘offence takers’ kicked in?


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