[FrontPage magazine.com - opinion]
Glen Kissel did not recognize the name. Reading through the website of
his employer, the University of Southern Indiana, on March 29th, the
assistant professor of engineering marked that the following Monday
the school was slated to play host to someone named Gary Yourofsky. By
all appearances an animal-rights activist, he was to deliver a lecture
on "Ethical Veganism." According to the school's description,
Yourofsky "asks people to be kind to animals and ultimately, to go
vegan." It seemed innocent enough.
Until Kissel clicked on the Yourofksy's website, adaptt.org, featured
prominently on the school's online bulletin. What he found there
shocked him. No common campaigner for the virtues of tofu of wheat
germ, Yourokfsy, it turned out, was an animal-rights ultra who openly
endorsed violence against humans and forthrightly supported
What arrested his attention was an article Yourofsky had authored in
1997 under the title "Empathy, Education & Violence: A Time for
Everything" and updated in 2005. A brief for the view, prevalent among
the outer fringes of the animal-rights movement, that "violence" was
preferable to "apathy," the article carried the following admission:
"Given the choice of apathy or someone liberating mink, burning down a
research torture-laboratory, or killing a vivisectionist or other
DIRECT murderer of animals, I will choose the aforesaid actions over
apathy any day of the week." Elsewhere in the article, Yourofsky
declared his belief that "since violence is an essential part of
activism, even if an abuser of animals perished during a fire or other
form of direct action, I would unequivocally support that, too."
There is one thing, however, that you will not find on Yourofsky's
website: a repudiation of his past support for violence and
lawbreaking in the service of animal rights. And with good reason.
Even as he has been welcomed into universities nationwide, Yourofsky
remains an unreconstructed supporter of animal-rights extremism as
practiced by the ALF.
Ultimately, the fact that an extremist in the mold of Yourofsky could
be welcomed by a university is a symptom of a deeper problem plaguing
higher education. USI is no exception. Although the administration
defied left-wing voices on campus by canceling the recent event, that
independence is a rarity at the school. On poring over past press
releases and talking to alumni, Glen Kissel found a startling "lack of
intellectual diversity in the kinds of speakers that are brought to
campus." By way of illustration, he notes that the school has hosted
only two conservative speakers in the last 17 years.
Certainly such intellectual disparities are cause for concern. But
perhaps nothing demonstrates the ills of modern academia so well as
the following fact: At thousands of schools across the country, Gary
Yourofsky remains a guest of honor.
Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. His e-mail is