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Morning Spew

CUNY Is Run by Cowards

You'd think a literal university could see through the Post's faux outrage.

9:47 AM EDT on May 31, 2023

A couple strolls in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

(Benny Polatseck / Mayoral Photography Office)

Is it controversial to call the NYPD "fascist"? Is it offensive to criticize the state of Israel for oppressing Palestinians? It depends upon your company. 

If, say, you're at a charity cocktail hour hosted by a real estate firm that just hired a far-right provocateur who loves fascism, and that cocktail hour is supposed to benefit the NYPD, and NYPD leadership is in attendance, then yes.

But what if you're a law school student at a public law school that has strong leftist traditions and a mission to serve people pushed to the margins of society, to fight against systemic injustice, and your peers asked you to speak at graduation? Would it be at all surprising that you'd call out some of the most powerful institutions who perpetuate that injustice? 

No one batted an eye when CUNY Law student Fatima Mousa Mohammed gave her commencement speech on May 12—we were all busy marveling at the boos the crowd rained down on Mayor Eric Adams.

Now, more than two weeks later, the New York Post has ginned up a bogus (and utterly predictable) controversy about a commencement speech given to lefty lawyers, and CUNY leadership has taken the bait and swallowed the hook. 

On May 29, the Post ran a story about the speech that didn't have many full quotes from the address in context but did feature a random photo of NYPD officers crying. In response to that story, a CUNY spokesperson pointed out that the class itself elected the speaker: "As with all such commencement remarks, they reflect the voices of those individuals." 

Then a sitting member of Congress and the mayor of New York City amplified this faux outrage against a law student, and surprise—Mohammed started getting racist threats on social media.

At least a quarter of the Post's business model is shrieking about "cancel culture" and "woke mobs" and "free speech on campuses'' (another quarter is the sober task of documenting the daily affairs of a sexy golfer, plus fearmongering about crime), so you would think that a group of trustees who run a literal university might be able to see through the Post's game here. But no.

Yesterday, CUNY's leadership released a statement calling Mohammed's address "hate speech" and "unacceptable"—essentially disowning one of their students. The chair of the CUNY board is former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, who ran for mayor in 2013. It's a shame for the Post that Thompson didn't win—if the board's capitulation is any indication, the paper would have the run of this town in 24 hours! "CUNY brass FINALLY condemns student's 'hate speech' address against Israel, NYPD, military," the tabloid triumphantly proclaimed. But the Post isn't stopping now, and why would they? They've already moved on to trying to get the CUNY Law dean fired, and replacing the trustees.

Those who are depressed by this spineless behavior by our ruling class may take heart in the fact that CUNY Law students themselves are standing by Mohammed.

"If CUNY Law wants to show it cares for its Jewish students," a statement signed by 20 CUNY student organizations reads, "it can do so by showing it cares for Fatima."

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