“We placed 2,977 flags on our campus in memorial to the 2,977 American lives lost 15 years ago today. May the world, and ourselves, never forget who we are.” says a student member of Young Americans for Freedom at SMU, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
One Nation Under God. Or so we thought. But not equal. Seems liberal bias has infiltrated yet another private religious university.
An open letter to President R. Gerald Turner claims that the university denied the SMU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom’s request to host the annual 9/11 memorial on Dallas Hall lawn. Instead, the letter claims, the group will have to host the memorial in the Morrison-McGinnis park, along with all other displays in the future, such as Mustangs for Life’s annual anti-abortion cross display.
The article continues that this might be “triggering” for some. What? A cross at a PRIVATE METHODIST UNIVERSITY? Mightn’t the so triggered have thought of that before they enrolled in said private Methodist university? Heaven forbid, a cross.
Wonder what might happen if these pesky conservative alums ceased their donations? Hmmm.
Not to be stood down too easily, the students in Young Americans for Freedom responded to President Turner thusly:
Last week, Young Americans for Freedom submitted a use of grounds request for its annual 9/11 Memorial display, which consists of 2,977 American flags that honor the lives lost that terrible day. The response they received is the reason for this letter.
The response stated that our University has changed its policy on Dallas Hall Lawn displays, which are no longer permitted and are to be conducted in MoMac Park from now on. While we understand that displays are still permitted, this new location is far less prominent than the iconic Dallas Hall Lawn, which thousands of students, faculty and local residents pass by every day and serves as the heart of our campus. This is disappointing considering that the purpose of the many displays that our organizations construct is to generate respectful, diverse dialogue so that our campus will be a center for thoughtful and engaging discussion that inspires and informs the ‘World Changers’ we are all striving to become.
What is even more concerning is the language that was used in the new policy. It read: “The University also respects the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing.” This statement has implications that are very dangerous to our university’s academic environment and echoes similar statements made by universities across the nation. Places like UC Berkeley, Middlebury and Evergreen College have effectively shut down free speech on their campuses. Freedom of speech is one of the most important of the inalienable rights of our nation. It has proven to be a fundamental prerequisite to democracy and freedom throughout history. People absolutely have to have a right to their own opinions, but this does not come with a right to be shielded from opposing ideas, especially in an environment dedicated to the learning, sharing and developing of new ideas.
A flag memorial to honor those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11, or displays promoting the education and discussion of the pro-life, pro-choice movements among SMU students must not be viewed as attacks on others. In choosing to view these displays as such, SMU is deviating from its call as a center of higher learning. Its’ mission is to be a place where ideas are challenged and intellect thrives, not a place to hide or silence alternative points of view. If SMU chooses to limit students’ rights to challenge and discuss the ideas and values that are fueling the creation of World Changers, it is indoctrination, not education, that will be taking place on our campus. We are witnessing the degradation of the mission of higher learning at universities across the country because of policies like this. The question we ask is this: how can students change the world if they
don’t have the opportunity to share and express their closely held values and beliefs?
We, as student leaders of this University and whose student organizations promote messages that have a
right to be seen and heard, urge you to reconsider this restrictive and destructive policy.
Grant Wolf, Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom
Daniel T. Rosa, President of Mustangs for Life
Drew Wicker, President of College Republicans
Heather Hall, President of Turning Point USA
Cecily Cox, Co-President of College Democrats
Matthew Lucci, Co-President of College Democrats
Julia Cantu, President of Feminist Equality Movement
(via: Conservative Post)