Adolf Hitler (Image: Wikipedia)
Stanford housing staff reported a student to the University’s bias-response team for reading Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf.” “A Protected Identity Harm report has been filed after the circulation of a Snapchat screenshot,” reported The Stanford Daily.
The bias-reporting system used was Stanford’s “process to address incidents where a community member experiences harm because of who they are and how they show up in the world.”
“The photo of the student reading the book was posted to another student’s Snapchat story Friday evening, according to a screenshot of the image obtained by The Daily,” The Stanford Daily reported. It did not publish the image. Nor did it provide any further context to explain what might have triggered a complaint against the student.
“Swift action was taken by the leadership in the residential community where both the individuals who posted and the one pictured are members,” wrote campus rabbis Jessica Kirschner and Laurie Tapper. In response, a reporter asked the rabbis if Standard University should also remove the 76 copies of “Mein Kampf” that the university has in its libraries.
“I do not believe we should ban books, or punish the reading of books, even books whose content is as offensive as Mein Kampf,” Kirschner replied. “This is antithetical to the purpose of the university and the spirit of free inquiry. As a residential community as well as a learning community, it is important for students to have space and support to work through how individuals interpret things differently, and the distance that can emerge between intent and impact.”
University officials are “working with the leaders of the residence that the students belong to to address the social media post and its impact on the community,” the Stanford Daily reported, citing college spokeswoman Dee Mostofi. Mostofi and the campus public relations office did not respond to media queries about why the student was deemed to have caused harm, or whether Stanford would get rid of or restrict access to its own copies of the book “Mein Kampf.”
A Jewish student argued that the book should not be banned, despite its offensive content, because of the information it imparts about the twisted thinking of an important historical figure. “Though Mein Kampf carries a hateful, genocidal message packed with poor writing, this should not disqualify the book from being read,” Julia Steinberg said. “In fact, Mein Kampf is worth reading because it exposes the mind of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century, and allows readers to comprehend the kind of thinking that, when given power, leads to violence.”