“Nineteen Eighty-Four” in Twenty-Twenty

A passage from George Orwell’s haunting masterpiece, when an imprisoned Winston Smith runs into an old comrade:

Why did that passage come back to me? Oh, no reason…

UBC has announced that former Board of Governors (BoG) Chair Michael Korenberg has resigned after he came under fire for liking tweets criticizing anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter protests.

The June 20 email from BoG Vice-Chair Sandra Cawley said that Korenberg’s resignation is effective immediately. Cawley will be assuming the role as interim chair.

“The Board of Governors and Mr. Korenberg would like to recognize that this has been deeply hurtful to members of our community and that UBC has zero tolerance for racism and recognizes that real harm is created from both overt and structural racism,” Cawley wrote.

After student group Students Against Bigotry tweeted screenshots of Korenberg’s liked tweets from Republican and American right-wing figures, faculty and community members were quick to criticize him on Twitter.

[…]

Korenberg said in an interview with The Ubyssey on June 19 that he liked the tweets to save them to look at later. He has since unliked all the offending tweets.

In a media statement sent to The Ubyssey on June 20, Korenberg acknowledged that the tweets he liked “supported regressive voices and took aim at thousands of brave individuals who are standing up against racism, discrimination and hatred.”

“While I do not support violence of any kind, I understand how my actions created questions about who I am and what I believe in. To be clear, I support Black Lives Matter and I support the de-racialization of our educational institutions and our country,” he wrote.

“But I accept that, in liking these social media posts, I damaged what I support and that I hurt people. I wholeheartedly apologize to them, particularly to the students, faculty and staff of UBC.”

Imagine how much easier Joe McCarthy’s job would have been, if he could have just found suspected Communists “liking” tweets from @JoeStalin1878.

UBC caves to the mob

Berkeley 1964 vs. Berkeley 2017.

I hadn’t even had time to break all of my New Year’s resolutions before the first big university free-speech controversy of 2020 popped up:

The Post Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo had his speaking event cancelled at UBC after safety concerns due to potential violent protests from antifa groups. Ngo’s scheduled presentation, ironically titled “Understanding Antifa Violence,” was scheduled to take place on January 29 at UBC’s Robson Square in downtown Vancouver.

Conservative legal advocacy group, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has issued a press release and legal demand letter on behalf of student group The Free Speech Club demanding that UBC reinstate the event.

According to the letter, The Free Speech Club, received a phone call on December 20 from Ron Holton, Chief Risk Officer at UBC, stating “[t]he reason for the cancellation is the concern about the safety and security of our campus community.” The JCCF points out that no specific concern was mentioned.

The defining conflict of our time isn’t between left and right. It’s between those who believe speech is speech and violence is violence, and those who believe speech is violence and violence is speech.

Looks like the University of British Columbia has chosen its side.