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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
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Students have right to free speech at UA

Aram S. Katz's Tuesday letter urged the administration to take the illegal and dangerous action of censoring free speech. I am continually amazed at the willingness of even informed individuals to sacrifice their free speech rights in an effort to suppress speech they disagree with.

The affirmative action bake sale and the Israel wall protest were both examples of constitutionally-protected free speech, which the University of Arizona, as a public university, cannot legally suppress. Southern Methodist University is a private university, so they have far greater latitude in dictating what is and is not permissible speech on campus; it is doubtful a similar action by the UA could withstand a legal challenge. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free speech advocacy group, has succeeded in countering administration attempts at censoring affirmative action bake sales at University of Colorado at Boulder, University of California at Irvine, and William and Mary. It is satire and protected speech.

Consider the consequences of what Aram is urging. What if anti-war protests are considered offensive to military families? Should we forbid anti-war protests to be on campus? What if animal rights activists offend students whose culture has a legacy of hunting? Should we exclude the World Wildlife Fund from our campus?

Free speech can be ugly, but you have no right to trample another citizen's First Amendment rights because you are offended. Inviting Moore to campus may have offended some of the UA College Republicans, but they took the appropriate response of inviting a speaker with an opposing viewpoint.

If you were offended by the anti-Israel protests, why not sponsor a panel discussion on alarming increases in anti-Semitism or even screen the film "Relentless?" The response to offensive speech is more speech not censorship.

Sam Schofield
applied mathematics graduate student

Editor shows maturity in comic cancellation

The staff of the UA Oasis Program for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence and of Campus Health Service applaud and thank Caitlin Hall, Wildcat editor in chief, for her professionalism regarding reader concerns about the "Parry Monster and Z-Train" comic.

By asking Mr. Parry to explain and/or defend his comic to readers, Caitlin balanced her role as an advocate for an open forum with the need for sensitivity regarding the seriousness of sexual assault. Also impressive is the fact that Ms. Hall made the decision to investigate the situation without any prompting from staff at the Oasis Program.

As the Violence Prevention Educator for the Oasis Program, Tina Tarin, served on the Media Board hiring committee when Ms. Hall was interviewed for the position of editor in chief. The Oasis Program was impressed with her maturity and ethical stance regarding media attention involving sensitive issues like sexual assault.

We are pleased that the recent measures correspond with Ms. Hall's previously expressed concerns. Ms. Hall's actions illustrate the ethics and integrity of a truly inspirational leader and embody the professionalism that we expect from journalistic media. Thank you, Caitlin.

Michelle Dorsey, Ph.D., psychologist, Oasis Program
Tina Tarin, M.Ed., Violence Prevention Specialist, Oasis Program

Applause for Al Pieda

In your Monday issue you reported on the two men who threw pies at Ann Coulter, Phillip Edgar Smith and Zachary Wolfe. These men claim to be part of a group known as Al Pieda, a radical group that goes around and throws pies at prominent public figures they deem in need of a pieing.

Let me be the first to commend these two brave, young men. By throwing "The Pie Heard 'Round the World," they have done more for American political discourse than anyone in the past thirty years. Watch out arrogant celebrities and tyrannical politicians. It's judgment day and Al Pieda are the judge, the jury and the executioner. If you think you can invade our campus and spew that same old extremist bile, I suggest you be prepared to duck, because a lemon meringue is coming and it's headed straight for your fat, pompous face. Maybe some other schools will let you get away with your usual partisan claptrap. But not the Wildcats; if we don't like what you have to say, you're getting pied and you're getting pied good. Pie throwers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your crusts!

David Schultz
political science and philosophy junior



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