Rutgers University Issues Apology to Lisa Daftari, Reinvites Her Following Backlash
By Aviv Khavich
Rutgers University has apologized to Lisa Daftari and reinvited her to speak on campus.
In a statement to the Centurion, Rutgers’ Office of Public and Media Relations stated that the University would like to “eliminate any confusion about its invitation for Lisa Daftari to speak on campus.”
Rutgers’ Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui, apologized to Daftari in an email Monday afternoon, reaching out to her with several proposed dates to speak in November. The University added:
The letter insisted that Rutgers was committed to free speech, and that they were “certain that in the course of [Daftari’s] comments and follow-up questions from our students, [her] views will be fully articulated and will generate respectful and vigorous discussion both by those who agree and those who disagree with those views.”
Daftari had been slated to speak on Tuesday, October 16th, as part of the Speaker Series by Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs. As the Centurion reported last Friday, Daftari’s speech was postponed indefinitely by the University following student efforts to have her event cancelled because of “Islamophobia”, including a Change.org petition. According to Jewish Journal, the University explained the reasoning for the initial cancellation was “out of fear that there could have been a security threat and they felt they had to be sensitive toward the students.”
Daftari’s cancellation had been met with significant backlash, including by students. Rutgers senior Andrea Vacchiano started a counter-petition on Change.org to have Daftari’s event reinstated. At the time of writing, the petition had 1,186 signatures. Vacchiano’s club, Young Americans for Liberty, had also indicated plans to host Daftari independently of the University.
Sifuentes-Jáuregui’s email to Daftari is reprinted in full below. The Centurion has reached out to Lisa Daftari for comment.