The Faculty Consultative Committee at the University of Minnesota has voted to release for community review the draft of a resolution to protect speech at the University.
In light of recent protests on campus — specifically those against a talk by conservative, anti-feminist speakers Milo Yiannopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers — the resolution was drafted to ensure free speech for all. However, this also means protecting what some may deem offensive or hateful speech.
To approve or disapprove this resolution will require the University community to make a choice once and for all about which values a public, land-grant institution should prioritize. Is it more important to allow others to speak their minds no matter what or to create safe spaces? This debate is simmering across many college campuses nationwide, and now the University must confront it directly.
We applaud the Faculty Consultative Committee for seeking community input on the resolution rather than independently finalizing it. In a debate of this magnitude, it is important to involve all subgroups of the University population.
Most groups and colleges at the University have reacted positively to the document, although some have expressed concern that it does not do enough to uphold the University’s responsibility to preserve an inclusive climate.
But is it really the University’s job to protect some by silencing others? That’s what institutions such as the Academic Affairs and Provost office and the Student Senate and people like President Eric Kaler will have to decide when they respond to the document.