A Multi-faith Community

by Ronald Edsforth | 10/28/05 5:00am

To the Editor:

I wonder how those people who have objected to last week's protest against the College's support for the policy debate on the use of torture and assassination ("Supporting Free Speech When it Matters Most," Oct. 24) would respond if Dartmouth paid for travel, meals and lodging plus substantial honoraria for speakers taking part in the following policy debates:

1) in an examination of the war on crime, "Abort All Black Babies: Justified Means or Self-Defeating Excess?"

2) while considering how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Kill the Jews: Justified Means or Self-Defeating Excess?"

3) or finally in reference to the videotaped actions of American psy-ops troops in Afghanistan recently broadcast on Australian television, "Desecrate Muslim Bodies: Justified Means or Self-Defeating Excess?"

It would not be hard to find spokespeople for the "Justifiable Means" position in any of these possible debates, but do we want Dartmouth to provide them with a public platform and pay them to speak on campus? People should be free to discuss any of these suggestions as well as torture and assassination on their own time and their own dime. But Dartmouth should not foot the bill for such discussions. That there should be some minimal moral standards governing what kinds of public advocacy Dartmouth College supports with its programming funds does not seem to me to be a radical suggestion. This, not the suppression of free speech, was the underlying point of the protest last week.

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