As someone who often meets with protestors when speaking on North American campuses, I read with considerable interest the personal testimony by William J. Bryan, III, about his attendance at a lecture last month.
With two tickets and some flyers in hand, I attended a talk by John Esposito on March 2, 2005 at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. I handed out about fifty flyers to the crowd that numbered about two hundred. About five minutes into Esposito's talk, a chunky blond Scott student comes to my seat and asks if I had been giving out flyers?
"Of course," I respond.
"Will you give out anymore?" Scottie asks.
"I'd like to give out more; but, I only have a few left and I'd like to give one to Dr. Esposito." She leaves. About two minutes later a campus policeman arrives. "Please come with me," he orders me. Even though I have a ticket for the Esposito lecture, I was escorted out of the talk.
I then received a "Criminal Trespass Citation" from the Agnes Scott Campus Police Department. I was told that I could have been arrested; but, I behaved in a gentlemanly fashion and was just given the warning; and that – gentleman or not – if ever I set foot on the Campus of Agnes Scott College without the prior written consent of the Campus Police, I would be arrested.
As a result of providing information on John Esposito, I am now officially banned from stepping foot on Agnes Scott College property.
By way of proof, Bryan sent me four attachments: an invitation to the Esposito event, his ticket, a copy of the offending handout, and the Criminal Trespass Citation from Agnes Scott College.
Comments: (1) I am amused by the delicate sensibilities of a leftist, pro-Islamist professor like John Esposito. A single person, quietly handing out leaflets, gets thrown off campus indefinitely? Where is his regard for freedom of speech? Why did Esposito not denounce this practice or, better yet, stop it from happening?
(2) Asaf Romirowsky and Jonathan Calt Harris have already compared Esposito's lecture experiences with mine, but they pointed to a different pattern, that "Speakers on the left are welcomed, conservatives require strict security measures." Now we know that "Speakers on the left get very special security provisions going far beyond those available to conservatives." (April 28, 2005)