A thought occurs to me: would other university administrators take a similar line? I have to admit that the idea that I would ever be forbidden to attend an academic gathering never entered my head, but that is the reality I now face. So far as I know it is unprecedented. But what about other institutions—would they also ban me? I haven’t been to a philosophy talk in the USA in nine years, so I don’t know. If I proposed to attend a colloquium at some other American university, would I be forbidden from attending? The question divides into three parts: would university administrators ban me, would faculty ban me, and would students ban me? Certainly I have not been invited to give a talk at an American university since 2013, but what about my attending someone else’s talk? What precise grounds could be given for such a ban? None that I can think of, but that doesn’t seem to matter. One would think that the position of the University of Miami would generalize, so that other places would have equal grounds for keeping me out—for example, if I was a deemed dangerous. Or would the mere possibility of protest be sufficient to have me banned? I really don’t know—and that says a lot. Perhaps I should do an experiment and mention to (say) NYU that I plan to attend a colloquium of theirs: what would happen? Would administrators step in to threaten me with expulsion? Would the faculty advise me that I am not welcome? Would the students rise up in protest? The terrible truth is that all these things strike me now as eminently possible. What a world we live in. I expect no improvement in 2023.
So far no one has contacted me to say they would have no objection to my attending a colloquium in their department.
I would be fairly astonished if the ban extended beyond the reach of the University of Miami. (Though there is a Miami University in Ohio — no relation.) I suspect it has to do with the (unsettled?) lawsuit.
You suspect wrong: the lawsuit was settled long ago (2016); my codefendants were Edward Erwin and the University of Miami. Also, they were banning me before the lawsuit. I have learned not to be astonished by anything that Americans are prepared to do.
Thanks for clearing that up. Now I am inclined to suspect — yeah, here I go again — it may come down to the fact people can be quite petty and vindictive (e.g. the “Yep” comment in your previous blog post) — and those with kingly power, behave in kingly ways. The fact you’re also an atheist, doesn’t work to your advantage. One suggestion — since, as the saying goes, “You catch more bees with honey, than you do with vinegar” — next holiday season, consider mailing the Philosophy Department and President’s Office each a big delicious box of chocolates, with a card expressed with such eloquence, that it would make Shakespeare blush. It certainly couldn’t hurt. And it’s a win-win situation no matter what, since, after all, isn’t it better to give, than to receive?
(Clarification: Sorry, I sloppily worded that. I didn’t mean to suggest the “Yep” was petty or vindictive, I merely meant to point out that’s one example of something that might whet the appetite *for* vindictiveness on the part of those people in power there who are holding all the cards, so to speak.)
It’s hard to reason with evil.
I’m not permitted to express my opinion of the people responsible, so I will say no more.
I like the irony of the idea at least.
“It’s hard to reason with evil.” Sometimes even harder to reason with the allegedly good. I’ve been hob-knobbing around the inter-net these past few days and I dare say that things might finally be turning your way. Hope so, anyway.
The greatest evil is often done by people convinced they are doing good (I know this is a platitude). I have seen no sign of what you suggest.