Opinions should not be suppressed

To the Editor:

In reaction to the front-page piece in the News on Monday, (“Hate Sign Removed From Durfee Hall,” 10/30) it seems to me as though we are headed down a slippery slope toward the erosion of civil liberties on campus. The freshman counselors’ action represents the modern incarnation of speech restriction on college campuses, wherein the speech suppressed is that deemed to be “offensive” or “hateful.”

What amazes me is how compliant both the administration and students are with the restriction of non-majority speech. This includes the master of Morse, who is a professor of psychology, no less. His contention in that “it’s inappropriate to have that kind of hate language going on” astonished me.

The last time I checked, appropriateness was subjective, whereas the First Amendment and its successive interpretations guaranteed an objective right to free speech.

In times like this, it is useful to have a reminder that civil rights cut both ways, sometimes against those in the majority, and sometimes against those in the minority. The fact that most of us consider the banner to be hateful does not give freshman counselors the right to enter students’ rooms and remove their property. The unpopularity of an opinion is not just cause for its suppression.

David Davidson ’02

October 31, 2001

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