Letter to the Editor: Free speech doesn’t coincide with violence

By Katherine Brown

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you probably already know that our University is a top-tier, highly research-intensive University. We have some of the brightest and most innovative students the world has to offer. We are producing groundbreaking research and insightful results across disciplines. However, we are not immune to uninformed or misleading rhetoric that has sprung up across the country.

I heard that rhetoric come from a student last month, when a student destroyed a registered student organization’s poster. The student said, “It is my first amendment right to destroy your poster.” In that one sentence, I knew the educational system failed somewhere down the line.

There is a debate on campus that some speech should not be allowed. Some say if your speech offends someone so much that the offended person resorts to violence, you are an instigator of violence and thus your speech is not protected. If your speech is incredibly hateful and promoting discrimination against a group or even a singular person, your speech is not protectable and you should be silenced.

We should make this clear: The racists, the morons and the lowest of the low in our society have some rights. The Supreme Court should certainly make a more definitive statement on what ‘fighting words’ are barred, but no one should stoop so low to resort to violence. Just because the police do not want to confront you and energize more illegal activity does not legitimize your initial actions. Whether you agree or disagree with someone on campus, I implore everyone to take a deep breath, be rational activists and be ambassadors for your cause.

Represent your cause with the highest amount of dignity and integrity you can. If you think your cause represents truth, the good and positive change, prove it. Take the challenge.

Katherine is a senior in LAS. 

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