All welcome

Recent trips to campus by religious groups condemning students and protesting abortion have some wondering whether these groups are exploiting their freedom of speech.

Under the U.S. Constitution, however, that does not exist, assuming the speech isn’t obscene or detrimental to national security. In fact, in the Feb. 1, 2001 issue of The Spectator (Free to speak: People can express their views on campus grounds), Vice Chancellor Andrew Soll said people have the right to express their views as long as they are not preventing anyone’s safe and free passage to any of the university’s buildings. If the speakers do get out of line, as some have accused them of calling women derogatory names, it is best to call the police and not try to handle it yourself.

It is this type of policy that makes the university so great. Even if we don’t agree with the views expressed by certain groups, they have the right to speak on this campus. So does everyone else. Groups advocating dissenting opinions from those who spoke in recent weeks can just as easily set up shop on the Campus Mall and say their piece.

Students also have the right to display their disapproval of the speakers by arguing and debating with them, as long as it remains within the confines of the law. This can be a painstaking process, however, as many of the controversial speakers appear to be brainwashed, ranting only the same rehearsed words and not going in depth on their views.

The best option is to ignore them. Not paying attention sends the message that you are unaffected by their purpose. Shouting and throwing things can not only get one arrested, but also reinforce the idea that the speakers are in fact correct and need to preach even more.

The presence of these speakers on this campus means that we will not be subjected only to the views of the majority, but also those who question the status quo.