While we work on another update, we’ll leave you with another letter to the editor.
Letter to the Editor
Raymond Michel, UCSD 2011
Everyone, I’m certain, knows about the situation by now, even if only marginally. If you’re reading this, then you know the primary cause for concern is simply Free Speech. There are those who believe that this is an infringement on our rights, and others who believe that free speech is the cause of concern. Since I know most of the people reading this will probably be for the former, I want to touch a little bit on the latter.
People are pissed. Rightfully so? You be the judge. But despite the actions taken by both sides (and ensuing actions, whatever they might be), it all comes down to this: There is no government-sanctioned filter on our mouthes, protected by the First Amendment. To the group insulted by the CC and all its affiliated actions, they’re infuriated that free speech allowed for it. And I will be honest, a few of the actions taken by the side of the students have been just as irrational and out of place as many of the actions taken by the insulted. I won’t point out which ones they are, those are for you to decide based upon your values. It’s these irrational actions, however, that are causing more and more strife on the issue. From both sides. There may not be a filter on our mouthes, but there damn well should be some sort of filter on our brains. This is not to say that you need be Politically Correct — not at all. That would be an infringement on free speech. But as people of UCSD, we are renowned for being one of the best colleges/universities in the country. Shouldn’t we prove that by being able to mitigate our words, so that we can better a situation, rather than simply produce a response? As they scream heresy and racism, what good does it do to scream back fascism and anger? Sinking to their level of irrational demands and purely emotional outrage will do nothing but prolong this situation further, and is the reason why our free speech is at stake. Because we abuse it so by letting the lack of a filter on our mouthes be an excuse for a lack of a filter on our brains.
The initial response to the CC was in no way acceptable. The actions made by a number of the parties yelling racism is a solid example of the issues at hand, and is a large cause of outrage for those in support of Free Speech — and understandably so. Irrational outbursts, misconstrued accusations and pre-emptive settlements have caused more and more concern for those who are worried about what is going to happen to their rights. However, these actions will only perpetuate if we continue to feed them on their level. The best way I can describe this is with a childhood classroom. Those who are acting like irrational children, class clowns, they do it for attention. They do it because there’s something they want, and they want it done their way. Do you reason with the kid? Come to some agreement, to get an irrational person to suddenly become rational? No. And if you do, those actions continue. If you sink to their level and become irrational, deject that filter on your brain that makes you the adult — the teacher, the leader — then they have no reason to do anything but continue on with their behavior. They act out because it is the only way they know to get a response. We want to protect Free Speech, and as of right now we still have it as a very valid option of fighting this issue. But this means we need to use those filters on our brains, those parts of us that allow us to be thinkers, engineers, writers, mathematicians, and make a place for ourselves in the world using the intelligence and mental faculty we have. We didn’t come to UCSD so that we could get in a children’s fight and let the “adults” — who are simply pandering to the loudest child — make the decision.
We need to show how we can think, speak, act, and portray our thoughts in a way that lets everyone know we have our rights to Free Speech. That there IS nothing that can be done to take that away from us, and if it is, then we will continue to show them — intelligently and without sinking to an irrational level — that it is not a valid option. I hear talk about revolts, riots… these are nothing but perpetuators of the situation. Mob mentalities, less cognitive thought… this is essentially the reaction that was presented to us in reaction to the Compton Cookout, to the acts of affiliated students, and to all who support Free Speech. This is the continued reaction from a majority of those who are threatening what we hold dear. What good are we to defend ourselves if we use the same crude weapons they are? There are many other ways to show that we mean business, without descending down to their level. We don’t need the approval of the “adults” — we need to show them that we have our decision, and that they have absolutely no say on it. We are a university of intellectuals, leaders and educated peoples. We are the forefront of the new generation, the world to come. It is our decisions that will build our lives. Shouldn’t we do it in a way that shows we could take the higher ground; that we were the ones who cast away useless emotional heresy and irrational outbursts to conquer an issue of rights and liberties?
Alan Kors had a great statement about the situation at hand: “What universities are saying by these codes, special protections and double standards to women, to blacks, to Hispanics, to gay and lesbian students, is: ‘You are too weak to live with freedom. You are too weak to live with the First Amendment.’ If someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.” We are not children. We will not act like children in response to this situation, lest we wish for them to treat us as such. There IS NO government-sanctioned filter on our mouths in any way, protected by the First Amendment. We SHOULD use that lack of a filter wisely, so that we can protect the First Amendment and prevent any infractions upon our rights. Let us not abuse it in our protection and give them a reason to take it away.