Scott Tibbs
Open letter to the Indiana Legislature, 11-06-2003

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Censorship cannot be tolerated

An open letter to the Indiana Legislature:

I was deeply disturbed by reports in the news media that there was a complaint filed with Indiana University regarding a bake sale to protest affirmative action. Thankfully, IU Dean of Students Richard McKaig said that IU gives a "wide berth" to free speech, and most likely no disciplinary action would be taken against these students.

However, even the possibility of such retaliation to free speech is chilling. It is sad that we live in a time where political free speech is met with attempts to censor that speech. The organizers of the "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" initiated an important dialogue on the merits of affirmative action in the university admissions process and in society.

Our nation's founding fathers understood how important free speech is, which is why the First Amendment to the Constitution protects free speech. Free speech is the first method by which the people stand up for their rights against an oppressive government, and is essential to individual liberty.

I believe your role in this matter, as the legislative body of the state of Indiana, is to remind Indiana University that they are an entity funded by taxpayer dollars. Should Indiana University move to discipline students for exercising their First Amendment rights, the Legislature should take a hard look at the funding it gives to the University. Indiana University has in the past violated the First Amendment rights of its students, and a line in the sand must be drawn to protect freedom.

The above letter was sent via electronic mail to all 100 members of the Indiana House of Representatives and all 50 members of the Indiana State Senate.