Letter to the editor: The Paint the Bridge vandalism

Therefore, unless the images on that panel of the bridge made students or faculty feel threatened or were beckoning violent acts to occur, vandalizing that message without any repercussions is limiting the College Republicans’ freedom of speech.

Letter to the Editor

The controversy regarding the College Republicans student group’s panel on the Washington Avenue bridge is certainly important to talk about as it brings up a big issue with the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is an important value that most Americans hold dear; the freedom to speak whatever may be on their mind, so long as it does not incite violence among others, without being detained is inherently important to what America stands for. Therefore, unless the images on that panel of the bridge made students or faculty feel threatened or were beckoning violent acts to occur, vandalizing that message without any repercussions is limiting the College Republicans’ freedom. In the mission statements of many public universities around the nation will be a statement about a universal search for truth as well as freedom of speech. As noted in the original article on the Paint the Bridge event, it was said by a regent of the University that “conservative students don’t feel that they belong on a campus in a liberal city.” This begs the question as to why the University may not be holding true to one of its core values of free speech. Four years of having their panel on the bridge vandalized may certainly make the group feel as though they are being discriminated against, and their right of free speech infringed upon. Should the images or words painted on the panel be threatening to students, then the panel should be taken care of by the University in a less drastic measure than vandalism; but with the same outcome running on four years now and the lack of a response or any effort whatsoever to uphold the groups liberties, the University ought to take a step back and reevaluate what values it truly holds. 

Connor Turner is a student at the University of Minnesota.

This letter to the editor has been lightly edited for style and clarity.