Scott Tibbs
Printed in the Indiana Daily Student
November 18, 2003

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Why censor opposing ideas?
To the Editor:

If you hold a position that is right, why would you attempt to have speech in opposition to that position censored?

Two recent cases at Indiana University raise this question. On November 5, the Committee for Freedom held an "affirmative action bake sale" in which they sold cookies for differing prices based on race. The students did this to illustrate their objection to racial preferences in university admissions. While the concept was simple, it helped start a thoughtful discussion on the merits of affirmative action, which is healthy. One IU student filed a complaint with the university, seeking to have the bake sale stopped before it started. Thankfully, the university did not agree.

In September, a controversy arose over statements about homosexuality on an IU professor's personal home page. Opponents of free speech argued that the page should be removed from university servers, despite the fact that all manner of controversial political and social views have been presented on IU servers. One such critic was City Council candidate Mark Brostoff, who lost my vote when he publicly endorsed censorship.

If Rasmusen's words were so wrong, why attempt to censor him? Do some of his critics not trust that on the battlefield of ideas, the best argument will win? Some extremists suggested Professor Rasmusen should face professional consequences for expressing his opinions.

The university environment should be one where the free exchange of ideas is allowed to flourish. Indiana University, a tax-supported entity, must never yield to demands for censorship.