LETTERS

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February 24, 2009

Editorial Board should not discourage free speech

The Maroon Editorial Board’s plea for students’ use of “Silent Treatment” (2/17/09) versus engaging in a counter-protest against the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) was a terrible use of its pulpit.

The Maroon Editorial Board’s plea for students’ use of “Silent Treatment” (2/17/09) versus engaging in a counter-protest against the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) was a terrible use of its pulpit. The Board demonstrated a lack of respect for the First Amendment, arguing that their right to explain their viewpoint trumps the right of students to assemble.

In calling for students not to counter-protest, the Editorial Board asked us to silence our voices and deny ourselves the opportunity to fight back against an organization promoting hate. The WBC has the right to assemble, peacefully, as well as the freedom to practice its religion. But so do we. If students choose to overlook the protest, they will not muffle WBC’s members or their message. Rather, students will dilute the sound of their own voices.

The Maroon Editorial Board’s call for silence encourages ignorance as a means of action. Ignorance never instills change—and as such, we should promote the counter-protest as an opportunity to teach, to reflect, to offer another set of ideals, and to foster optimism in our futures. Further, the Board should not attempt to silence its peers and should rescind its request for students to dismiss their First Amendment rights.

Amanda Steele

Class of 2009