Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Francisco Nava Case

Nava is a Princeton undergraduate, very active in conservative causes. He felt that those conservative causes were not getting enough attention, so he staged an attack against himself and sent some nasty e-mails to a conservative professor and some other members of the conservative Anscombe Society at Princeton. The idea was to blame the political opposition for these deeds:

Francisco Nava '09 said his falsification of threatening emails to prominent campus conservatives and subsequent assault on himself stemmed from a belief that his actions would draw attention to the pro-chastity cause, attendees at a Monday-evening meeting said early Tuesday morning. The gathering included Nava, Butler College administrators and fellow Anscombe Society members.

During the meeting, Nava also reportedly said he was the only person responsible for sending threatening emails to himself, three other Anscombe members and noted conservative politics professor Robert George and had no assistance in fabricating the alleged Friday-evening assault on him. Additionally, he described how he inflicted upon himself the injuries he had claimed resulted from the attack.

"He said he pummeled his face; he didn't say what with. He scraped his head against a brick wall [and] broke the bottle ... over his head," Anscombe president Kevin Staley-Joyce '09 said, referring to a glass Orangina bottle with which Nava had initially said his assailants beat him during the attack. "It certainly was enough to merit treatment by doctors," Staley-Joyce added.

Fairly odd behavior, and all this could have been quite embarrassing if the planned publicity had followed as rapidly as Nava probably hoped:

Both Staley-Joyce and Girgis said they believe the Anscombe Society has weathered the incident with its integrity intact. "It is important to note that we refused to capitalize on [this incident] politically," Girgis said. "We were at the very forefront of uncovering the truth once we had any reason to doubt Francisco."

Staley-Joyce cited the "quick thinking and very good judgment" of George as essential in the past few days, pointing to the decisions to turn down media requests and not to publicize the situation until the facts had been ascertained.

"We made sure this is not a repeat of other situations where people started jumping to conclusions before all the facts were in," Staley-Joyce said.

Actually, Britt Hume of the Fox News had a piece on this yesterday, though it was withdrawn rather rapidly. But the gist of it was that Princeton wasn't doing enough to protect conservative students against violence. In the light of these new twists to the story Princeton probably should have done something to restrain Nava earlier.