WTVM Editorial 3/23/16: Emory, Trump and free speech

WTVM Editorial 3/23/16: Emory, Trump and free speech

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It was refreshing for a change to hear that the editor of the student paper of Emory University in Atlanta made a stand for free speech on campus, after a few dozen students protested after they saw pro-Donald Trump slogans written in chalk around campus.

At first, it seemed this would be just another story about students who felt unsafe and threatened by the expression of an opinion they do not share.

Some students did indeed argue they felt afraid and "unsafe" because of the words in chalk, and they demanded that Emory - which has a minority student enrollment of at least 40 percent - publicly denounce Trump as a candidate.

The university president wisely refused.

The student newspaper, called the Emory Wheel, reported on the student protests and acknowledged some students may have truly experienced painful feelings from seeing the slogans.

It is amazing that mere slogans such as "Trump 2016" - nothing overtly hateful or threatening (and written in easily removable chalk for goodness sakes! - could cause that kind of overreaction among these seemingly otherwise intelligent college students.

But that's the state of free speech on some college campuses these days.

It's a sad commentary on those students who, on the one hand blast a lack of diversity and defend their right of expression but on the other hand, want to shut down any opinions counter to their own.

Thank goodness the editor of the Emory student newspaper urged his peers to consider the true meaning of freedom of speech.

The editor wrote that freedom of speech works both ways and said: "It is not the role of an institution that is devoted to the critical education of its students to tell those students which opinions they are allowed to have."

That may be the smartest opinion expressed on any college campus this year.

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General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

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