Seventeen University of Virginia faculty members wrote an op-ed in the school’s student newspaper on Tuesday criticizing its editorial board for trying to pressure the administration to ban the former Vice President Mike Pence to speak on Grounds.
the Daily RiderThe editorial board of recently wrote an article claiming that Pence was “dangerous” and threatened the safety of students.
“As an editorial board, we found ourselves wondering what should be protected under the principle of ‘diversity of thought’ and, more importantly, what values we choose to accept on Grounds,” they wrote. writing. “For us, the answer is simple. Hateful rhetoric is violent – and it’s not acceptable.” [Emphasis added].
But some professors still believe that “free speech is a…core value” at Thomas Jefferson University.
“We are not interested in defending or attacking Pence and whatever he may say,” the professors wrote, covering nine different departments. “We are more concerned that The Cavalier Daily believes his speech constitutes ‘violence’ that ‘threatens the well-being and safety of students on Grounds’.”
“This argument of the speech is violence is not only false – no calls for violence will be made on April 12 – but also contradicts the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment”, they continue, “which generally creates space for a wide range of opinions to express as long as the speech in question does not incite violence”.
Faculty members say that Day-to-day the editorial has done a “disservice” to people who are actually victims of physical violence.
“What saddens us about the Cavalier Daily’s editorial mindset is its assumption that editors should enjoy the freedom to say what they want, but not others with whom they don’t. disagree,” they wrote, noting the Day-to-day inherent hypocrisy. “The First Amendment doesn’t just protect those whose opinions editors deem harmless.”
Then, citing the University’s “Statement on Free Speech and Free Inquiry”, the authors write: “Freedom of speech is one of the most powerful tools by which wrongs are righted and institutions are improved or abolished.
“The principles of free inquiry extend to a thorough discussion and critical examination of the past,” the statement continues. “Equally important, they live in the present and extend into the future, in a shared commitment to free speech for all speakers and all opinions.”
Invoking Jefferson, the faculty members conclude that “for here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it”.
In response to the DailyJefferson’s editorial, the Jefferson Independent – a conservative student-run publication at the University – responded with its own, saying the attack on free speech came as no surprise. The Independent editorial said:
University of Virginia students have displayed their childish hostility to all dissenting opinions on countless occasions, from defacing flyers published by certain student groups, to painting certain political messages on Beta Bridge , to dox and harass students on social networks, or to transform the University Judiciary Committee into a body that unfairly punishes peers who do not respect a certain ideological line.
“What should shock the community as a whole, however, is the Daily Rider‘s sanctimonious assertion that its seven-member editorial board holds full authority to define what constitutes free speech and what does not,” he continued.
Quoting another response article by university president Jim Ryan, The Independent wrote: “One of the aims of the school is to enable students to ‘decide for themselves, as contributing members of our democracy, ideas they support and oppose”.
But this attempted speech cancellation is not an isolated incident at the University, according to the Independent, which called Ryan’s article “a publicity stunt to allay very real concerns about freedom on the ground”.
The Independent’s editorial board went on to list several freedom violations, including forced doses of an “experimental vaccine”.
“Having bodily autonomy, or even an open discussion about it, was not something the students were allowed to have or ‘decide for themselves,'” they wrote.
Speaking of the wider implications of why the Daily felt comfortable writing such a fundamentally authoritative piece, the Independent wrote “views such as those presented in the Daily Rider confirm that many AVU students have not been exposed to an environment of differing opinions or a culture of debate.
Pence is scheduled to speak at a Young Americans for Freedom event at Old Cabell Hall, part of Jefferson’s Academical Village, on April 12.
Breccan F. Thiès is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.