Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Outburts at border demonstration hinder public discussion"

A fairly level-headed (if somewhat belated) editorial on the border fence flap from today's Daily Evergreen:
Yelling racist and inflammatory comments accomplishes nothing.

Yet some faculty and students chose to do this Nov. 2 on Glenn Terrell Mall during a demonstration on border security by the College Republicans. They ruined a chance for meaningful discussion and better understanding of different opinions.

Professors abused their status as authority figures on campus by intimidating a College Republicans member running the demonstration. One professor claimed the student conduct code allowed him to demand the student to hand over his student identification card and stop videotaping the event.

The code has no sections to back this statement up.

Professors are leaders of discussion on this campus, and using authority to frighten students out of expressing their viewpoints is unprofessional and unproductive.

Individuals and groups accomplish nothing when they use threats, intimidation or hateful words to express their opinions. Instead of furthering their interests or viewpoints, such tactics shut down conversation and alienate those with whom they disagree.

Community members should use respect and professionalism in even the most heated debates. While The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board is not taking a stance on border security, it does not think the conversation should stop.

Professors and students should respect the College Republicans’ right to demonstrate and take a stand. If they do not, they violate the very ideals this country stands on and that allow people to respectfully and publicly disagree.

This university should be a place where students feel safe to discuss viewpoints, not a place of intimidation and silence.

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