Principled Statement by the Harvard Crimson

June 10, 2006

In News


It would not be an overstatement to say that without free speech and an unfettered exchange of ideas, a true University could not exist. All ideas, no matter how unpleasant to some, deserve to be voiced and judged on their merits. This year, several instances of curtailed speech raised our ire. Last November, DePaul University professor Norman G. Finkelstein’s speech at Harvard Law School
was frequently interrupted by a vocal minority of protesters, who shouted taunts and attempted to drown out his words. A similarly worrying episode occurred in the spring, when some students tore pro-life posters depicting a talking fetus named Elena.

While we make no judgments on the content of Finkelstein’s speech or the “Elena” posters, it is important to defend the right of individuals on a university campus to speak without fear of malicious attacks, censorship, or unconstructive interruptions. This University is not well served when some try to silence debate. Rather, it is through substantial debate that new and different ideas can be expressed, and the community can learn as a whole.