Sunday, May 07, 2006

More College Censorship?

Some have been grouping the closing down of this Brooklyn College MFA exhibition with the recent cases of censorship at Penn State and Brandeis. The Times ran two stories on it this weekend, and the former head of the ACLU was quoted as calling it "quintessential censorship." I'm no expert in constitutional law, but this one strikes me as different from the others. In the Penn State and Brandeis cases, the issue was whether the works could be exhibited at all given their political content. Here, the issue seems to be where they will be seen: the parks commission concluded that, because of its sexual (rather than political) content, the exhibition was not appropriate for the War Memorial site, but the college immediately stepped in and pledged to move it to an on-campus location. It's not clear to me why that couldn't be defended as a reasonable "time, place, and manner" regulation.