Earlier this week, Duke University announced that it would allow a weekly three-minute long Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its campus chapel tower. Now they have reversed that decision, proving that Duke University's primary values are intolerance and fear.

In their original announcement of the decision to allow a common little bit of chanting to be broadcast on campus for a few measly minutes per week, Duke said that "This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke's mission." Apparently Duke's mission has changed in the past three days. Yesterday the school baldly reversed itself. "Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students," lied Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. "However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect."

If you take Duke at its word, it is a school now committed to canceling or erasing anything that does not have the effect of "unifying" its campus, which is populated in large part by upper class Southern bros and bro-ettes. By this standard, Duke has little choice but to shut down all extracurricular activities except the frat houses and the basketball games. Anything else, if you think about it—anything that threatens the settled beliefs of Southern racists—could pose a danger of not "unifying" the student body, which now seems to be against Duke's code of conduct.

The university reportedly received an outpouring of "quite vitriolic" emails in response to their original announcement, as well as criticism from fundamentalist Christian leaders like the Rev. Franklin Graham, who accused Duke of promoting Sharia law, and who is a fool, as his ignorant outrage very clearly illustrates.

I live down the street from a mosque that broadcasts the call to prayer daily. You barely even notice it. It's not a big deal, guys. It's certainly no worse than having to endure the sight of Easter hats.

What have we learned from all of this? An honest reading of the facts of this case tell us that: 1) Duke University does not support Christianity and Islam equally; 2) Muslim students at Duke University should feel discriminated against not only by the religious idiots who populate North Carolina, but also by their own University. They should feel discriminated against because they are discriminated against; and most importantly, 3) Duke University will cower and fold in face of intense vitriol and hatred. Hatred and vitriol work. Duke University will not stand up for marginalized groups. Duke University will cower in fear of damage to itself and its own reputation, and will give in to the most ignorant elements of its own community before it will stand up and do something that might require the tiniest bit of backbone or belief in the principles that it so cheaply espouses on paper.

As if anyone needed another reason to dislike Duke University.

[Photo: Flickr]