Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu had recently asked in the Parliament if the United States would allow a campus meeting in any of its universities to mark 'Osama bin Laden martyrdom anniversary'. The minister was indirectly referring to a comment made by US Ambassador Richard Verma on freedom of speech "being the hallmark of democracy both in India and the US.”
It now appears that Venkaiah Naidu has got his question answered from the President of Princeton University Christopher L. Eisgruber who said the varsity "would and should tolerate such an event."
According to media reports, Eisgruber said, “We at Princeton believe that it is a fundamental advantage for a university to be able to tolerate even offensive kinds of speech and to respond to bad arguments when they are made with more speech rather than with disciplinary actions.”
He said no disciplinary action would be initiated against students organising such an event and added that his opinion on such a programme would be sought depending on what the students did or said.
Eisgruber said he would possibly express his disagreement with such an event and may point out that the programme is not consistent with the views of the varsity.
“We think that the university, as we conceive at Princeton, is founded on the idea that overall you are better off letting offensive ideas be stated even when they are very offensive. And responding to them and letting truth come out of the discussion rather than stepping in and censoring speech in one way or another,” he was quoted as saying to the Indian Express.