Editor, Daily Nexus,

We would like to remind the campus community that now that the academic year is fully underway, and major issues such as the debate surrounding Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week are starting to arise, it is important to pause and remind ourselves the fundamental components of American society and American higher education are freedom of speech and the unimpeded exchange of ideas. As a wide variety of opinions are expressed on our campus, all of us at one time or another will undoubtedly be confronted with statements that run counter to our personal beliefs and convictions. What we see, hear and read may sometimes upset, anger or even offend us. These types of reactions are the price we must pay for being able to freely express our own views – views that may, in fact, anger or offend others. This point-counterpoint forms the bedrock of a free society and a modern university.

There are those who are sometimes tempted to restrict freedom of speech when a particular expression of that freedom threatens to be hurtful or hateful. We are confident, however, that when people are allowed to speak their minds – with civility and respect, we hope – the relative merit of different ideas will become apparent. In other words, the true colors of bad ideas and mean-spirited beliefs will eventually and inevitably be exposed.

We suppose that our confidence in allowing all views to be expressed is essentially a confidence in the ability of people to ultimately identify and embrace truth and reject lies and willful misrepresentation. That process may take a while, but it works – we remain convinced of that. It certainly cannot be achieved by restricting the speech of those with whom we disagree, no matter how disagreeable or odious that speech is.

Protecting free speech is a priority for us. While we may personally find certain views abhorrent, we will steadfastly defend the right of all people to express themselves. We cannot allow individuals or groups on any side of an issue to try to silence those with whom they disagree and, in so doing, undermine one of this society’s most fundamental principles.