SPEAKING FREELY


Posted by Regina Mills ('09)


Prof. Richardson's insistence that punishing speech is a "slippery slope" only protects the majority groups and all-too-common bullies on this campus. I no longer read the Trident because of its lack of journalistic integrity, ethics, and content but I know that I am one of the few. Things seem to be back to normal and if that is so, that would be most disappointing. These are some general comments that I have about the aspects of this situation that have most upset me: 
 
1) I am appalled about the misinformation and slandering of the SFHB, a resource that many are not even aware of. Professor Richardson's misinformed comments are sure to have made it even more difficult for victims of sexual misconduct to turn to someone for justice. Having talked to SFHB members and looked at its Constitution, I wonder how he could possibly have attributed so many sketchy and untrustworthy aspects to this body. Does he wonder why there are many years in which the SFHB receives no complaints at all? These hearings are certainly no more secretive and unjust than an EC or SJC hearing. In fact, a confidential hearing is the only way in which the accuser and an accused can have a feeling that they are safe from social retribution or a undeservedly tarnished reputation.    
 
2) The Bracket and The List have in some sense faded away and our community's desire not to discuss the two very different treatments of the authors of both of these "works" demonstrates to me our university's dangerously misogynist culture. That such appalling vandalism occurred only to the female author of the List and not the male co-authors or The Bracket authors speaks loudly about our very different and unequal treatment towards men and women.
 
I am very happy that members of our community have opened up this forum to speak about these abominable actions by W&L students and faculty. Some may be afraid to speak out because faculty who have supported the right to offensive and harmful speech by the Bracket authors (but not The List authors interestingly enough) have a degree and thus, must be right while we who disagree are wrong. This, however, is not the case. I hope that many other members of the W&L community state their opinions. Often, I am disappointed by our apathetic students... we have to question the tradition of sexism, homophobia, and overarching silence of this community. I want something more than that for this university. I want to come back and be proud to be a W&L alumna, knowing that the shattering of the tradition of silence began with us.
 

Back to Speaking Freely home