17 March 2015

Lynch protest goes against what universities stand for


AS an alumnus of the University of Sydney, I am appalled at the behaviour of some students and some staff (“Protesters disown their university values’’, 17/3).
Debate has always been part of university life — even very robust debate. The aggressive imposition of the misguided beliefs on a visiting speaker by an unrepresentative group of ­activists is a development which is to be condemned and action should be taken to prevent such behaviour.It is now time for the university to demonstrate real leadership.The silent acceptance of this development will ensure that outside speakers will be unwilling to subject themselves to harassment and abuse simply to provide interested students the benefit of their experience.Let us see how the university leadership wants itself to be seen.
Robert Schwartz, Dover Heights, NSW

A SHOCKING spectacle emerged on the University of Sydney campus last week, challenging the core ethos of a university.The bonfires and book burning of 1930s Nazi Germany similarly signalled a violent opposition to challenging ideas such as “theoretical physics’’, termed “Jewish physics” by Aryan ideologues.Jake Lynch of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies should understand, better than most, that freedom of expression and the free dissemination of ideas should not be stifled lest great new perspectives and innovations, such as Albert Einstein’s gift to our understanding of the modern world of science, be subsumed.
Adam Rapaport, Bondi Junction, NSW

BY now it is surely clear to note the irony that Jake Lynch is director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies; his actions seem more fitting to his namesake.The question is: what appropriate disciplinary action will the university now take?
Libby Burke, Ashgrove, Qld

NOT even the most casual student of history could fail to see the parallels between the strident anti-Semitism of the self-styled progressive left, and the events in Germany culminating in World War II.It may be true that allowing bigots to have their voice also exposes their views to public scrutiny. Nevertheless, it is astounding that a purportedly reputable institution such as the University of Sydney could allow Jake Lynch to use his position there to ­attempt to lend a degree of legitimacy to his offensive views.
Paul Yates, Beachmere, Qld

THE 2015 Sydney peace prize should go to the elderly Jewish lady who is ­alleged by Jake Lynch to have kicked him in the groin while he was busy assisting demonstrators hell bent on being anti-Semitic during a public seminar on university grounds.
Gerard Barry, Roseville, NSW

IN the traumatic era of the Vietnam War, there was real academic soul-searching into what a university is all about.That is when the concept of Irenics — the study of what makes peace, named for the Greek goddess of peace — came into vogue.A school of Irenics was once proposed for Sydney Uni.What a shrieking self-indictment it is that the eventual outcome is a “centre” whose head is chosen for his peace-killing partisanship, notable for his prominence in the faux subject of ‘peace journalism’, today’s updating of classic ‘agitprop’ as taught in the universities of the Soviet Union.Just as that system’s fabricated truthiness eventually collapsed into its own hollowness, the enterprise of Jake Lynch, a lifelong Marxist, is destined to crumble.What a shame for the real study of what makes peace. And what an indictment of a once-true university that has legitimised such a travesty.
David Scholem, Rose Bay, NSW

I HAVE taken Jewish schoolchildren in school uniform to functions during the day on the Sydney Uni campus and have witnessed their first experiences of anti-Semitism.A university is a place of learning about the wider world. I fear that what is happening on our campuses is resulting in the opposite. I question what the universities are doing to ensure that freedom of speech is being promoted and supported in such a way that the vocal minority are not the only people who feel comfortable in being able to express their opinions.

Auryt Jacobson, Sydney, NSW