SPEAKING FREELY


Posted by Professor Domnica Radulescu


Brian,

I have followed and listened to your recent statements and communications with a level of dismay equal to that of my colleagues who have eloquently responded to you thus far. I feel morally obliged to respond as well.

In several of your communications you have equated the positions of victims of Nazi Tribunals and of dictatorial political regimes to that of irresponsible students being duly punished for indulging in crass discourse and slander that amounts to a form of sexual harassment and that has profoundly traumatized a good number of our students and left many faculty feeling threatened to work on this campus.

How can you with a clean conscience, confuse the right to free speech which in many parts of the world such as where I come from, have been won at the price of loss of human life and massive human suffering with the “right” of members of this academic community to use slander, and hate discourse of the most disturbing kind to hurt other members of this community? Is our campus somehow different from other campuses where such “rights” are not granted to the community and where slander is also considered a legal matter? Has our campus somehow “earned” this “right” as a result of centuries of Southern gentlemanly education and a tradition of honor?

Don't you also know that such language as the one used in the Bracket and the List, more often than not, is connected to, accompanies or leads to actual acts of sexual violence and to other forms of violence against women, gays and various marginalized groups? Don't you also know of the sobering statistics of one in four and more recently of one in three, and that our campus and our community are unfortunately replete with victims of sexual violence and rape and that such language rekindles their traumas? Don't you also know that while already intimidated by a compulsively masculinist culture as the one perpetuated on our campus, so many women who are victims of sexual violence feel scared to report such crimes and walk around our campus hurting and crumbling psychologically? And don’t you understand that the example of a respected faculty member clamorously misusing the concept of freedom of speech to defend the “right” of people to use discourse that amounts to a form of sexual harassment may actually take away their last shreds of hope that justice could be possible on this idyllic and "honorable" campus?

Domnica


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