On Campus
May 22, 2008, 11:37AM

Pie Throwers Suspended

Apparently upset with assertion that the world is flat, radical pie terrorists assaulted economist (and columnist) Thomas Friedman when he spoke at Brown University last month. Now one of the offenders has been suspended, raising issues about Brown's relative handling of student discipline.

"Seconds into Friedman's Earth Day lecture in Salomon 101, Little and an unknown male accomplice leapt from their front-row seats and threw pie dishes filled with green whipped cream at the author. Only the male's dish made direct contact with Friedman, who blocked it with his hand, but some of the contents of Little's dish also splattered on Friedman's head and clothing.

Little said the University found her April 22 actions against Friedman to be in violation of its standards of student conduct, which stipulate that although "protest is a necessary and acceptable means of expression," it is not acceptable "when it obstructs the basic exchange of ideas." The guidelines specifically prohibit "directly or indirectly preventing a speaker from speaking - even for a brief period of time - (and) seizing control of a public forum for one's own purposes."

"The University does nothing to hold people accountable for the real problems, like sexual assault, that happen everyday," Little said. "To issue such a severe punishment to an act of civil disobedience is an indication of what the University's priorities are."


  • Thomas Friedman, although insufferably pompous and a pedestrian writer, was a guest at Brown and didn't deserve the pie treatment. Nevertheless, and I'd bet Friedman would agree, suspension for an entire semester is ridiculous.

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