Last Friday’s College Republican-hosted affirmative action bake sale elicited charged responses from students and university faculty alike, including a letter written by Professor James Johnson that was signed by 34 faculty members condemning the event in uncouched terms and demanding censure and punitive action from the university. In return, President Thomas Jackson defended the students’ right to symbolic speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. Indeed, we feel that any punitive action taken by the university against the College Republicans would effectively suppress the free expression of speech.As a newspaper, traditionally a public arena for open debate, it is our duty to strongly support the strict protection of First Amendment rights. Whatever anyone’s position may be on affirmative action or specifically on the bake sale itself, it was the undeniable right of the College Republicans’ to express that opinion. Responses to the event should call for additional debate and discussion, not for silence. We should invite more speech, not demand less.It is not only the obligation of a newspaper but that of a university as well to foster tolerance of diverse viewpoints. If there is one place in which opinions should be able to be freely expressed, it is within the university community. We support Jackson’s defending the action itself without his necessarily endorsing the message it promoted.Issues should be addressed, not buried. Affirmative action is being debated on campuses all over the country and this particular event was not itself unprecedented. In an environment that encourages learning, discussion, and open-mindedness to different beliefs, charged issues should be afforded the free expression and open debate they deserve rather than the unfair silencing of a viewpoint which cannot be ignored. Freedom to speak, especially to speak unpopular ideas, is so fundamental of a freedom, that whenever it is called into question, we must all as a tolerant, open-minded community come to its defense.



Furries on UR campus?

A few months ago, as I did my daily walk to class through the tunnels to escape the February cold,…

An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

Zumba in medicine, the unexpected crossover

Each year at URMC, a new cohort of unsuspecting pediatrics residents get a crash course. “There are no mistakes in Zumba,” Gellin says.