A Free Education

by Vijayendra Rao | 7/9/01 5:00am

To the Editor:

I write in reference to John Haskell's Op-Ed piece titled "To the Administration" in Thursday's issue. Mr. Haskell cites the loss of social options, the loss of prospective applicants and the loss of alumni donation as results of the College's war on Greeks. What Mr. Haskell left out, but which in my mind is far more detrimental to our institution, is the loss of student freedoms.

In an academic environment, it is necessary that the freedoms of every member of the community are protected and recognized. Without, for example, the freedom of association, students will be unable to form advocacy groups on campus to discuss issues they care about.

The administration has been quite successful in creating a chilling effect on speech on our campus. While the Student Handbook may say that students' rights to speech and expression are safeguarded, it has been made clear through the war on Greeks that in fact the administration is willing to tear down these freedoms for the sake of political correctness. Not only does this make students feel like they cannot express what's on their minds, but it hurts the most important mission of the College -- its educational one. People attend institutions of higher learning so they can be exposed to various points of view, and shop at the marketplace of ideas. If some opinions are rendered more equal than others, the point of a college education becomes questionable.

Just like tenure is given to professors so that they will have no qualms about speaking their minds, so must students be given such a guarantee. And if no such guarantee of student freedoms is given, students must demand one. We are here to learn, and must therefore remind the College of its priorities. The war on Greeks is destroying students freedoms almost daily. Without such freedoms, our education will be rendered meaningless.