Marquette Warrior: Marquette Tribune Chastised For Failure to Support Free Speech

Monday, October 30, 2006

Marquette Tribune Chastised For Failure to Support Free Speech

From the blog of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a post about an editorial in the Marquette Tribune supporting Marquette’s censorship of a Dave Barry quote posted on the door of a graduate student in Philosophy.
What is most disturbing about this editorial is not this [factual] error, though. It is the fact that the editorial treats the avoidance of institutional embarrassment as a higher value than liberty. It is the rare college newspaper that will cheerfully proclaim that speech can be arbitrarily censored because the school “is not a free-speech zone.” One suspects that the Marquette Tribune might feel differently if, instead of removing a Dave Barry quote, Professor South had decided to throw out a stack of issues of the Marquette Tribune. And the idea that free speech is to be confined only to “free-speech zones” is a shocking departure from the ideals of free speech that have served our nation and its universities well for over two hundred years.

There is simply no plausible defense for Marquette’s removing a Dave Barry quote from Stuart Ditsler’s door. The office hallways of most colleges boast doors festooned with quotes, cartoons, political posters, etc. If a Dave Barry quote is the most offensive thing on display at Marquette, it must be a boring place indeed.
What does it say about the culture at the Marquette Tribune that they were unwilling to support free speech in this instance?

Nothing at all flattering. When student journalists turn into authoritarians, free speech on campus is in real trouble.

But we’ve known that for a while.

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