Free Speech Not Hate Speech
As a resident of Tustin California, although not a student, I occasionally use the library facilities at the University of California, Irvine. I enjoy mixing with a youthful and intellectual crowd at the campus. As you know, oftentimes there are presentations and demonstrations of various political points of view on campus, usually near the Barclay Theater Area.
Today was no exception and I, of course, support the rights of all Americans and others to exercise the right to express their point of view and beliefs to the extent that the message is not hateful, threatening, or likely to incite violence against any group or individual.
There was a gentleman on campus today, with a sign which stated essentially that, ‘Sodomites and Lesbos Will Burn in Hell’, this message appeared to be directed towards homosexuals.
There is another well known individual who regularly can be seen on the television news, carrying signs at churches and other facilities where homosexuals and other diversities are embraced by the community. His signs are best known for saying, ‘God Hates Fags’.
As a gay person, this message was not only offensive to me, and I’m sure many others, but, it represents a message of hate and intolerance towards diversity that is contrary to the spirit and philosophy of our cherished institutions of higher learning: a safe place, for all peoples.
Although, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States does promote freedom of expression for all, it is unlikely that the founding fathers intended it to promote the expression of hate and activities which are likely to incite violence.
Because of this, I shall call your attention to the new anti-hate-crime laws, which were recently signed into effect by our California Governor, the honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger.
These new laws were designed in part to thwart and offer an avenue for restraint and punishment of individuals and groups whose messages are primarily the furtherance of hate towards individuals and groups of individuals. For example, the new laws take into consideration that under certain circumstances, that one need not actually commit an act of violence against an individual in order to be regarded as an intimidating and credible threat.
I suspect that the individual mentioned in this letter was perhaps issued a permit by the University to present his hateful message. I suggest that the University may want to reconsider issuing permits for such activities which may be contrary to some relatively new laws in the state of California.
Laws which were written as protection for individuals and groups like myself, who are all too often the target of hateful and violent activities.
I will take this opportunity to thank you in advance for investigating and considering the subject and incident referenced in this letter.
David S. Harvey
Schedule Decided With Students in Mind
I’m writing in response to the commentary on kosher food (page 19 of the April 25 issue) in which Ms. Salter states, ‘We have finals and other events scheduled during our holidays.’
As stated in section 41.10 of University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students, University Neutrality on Religious and Political Matters, ‘As a State instrumentality, the University must remain neutral on religious and political matters.’
In consultation with the Academic Senate, and according to approved calendar guidelines, the Academic and Administrative Calendar Committee recommends academic and administrative calendars to the chancellor.
As you may imagine, it is impossible to avoid all of the special days associated with the religious preferences of our diverse campus community.
However, did you know that UCI administrators consider the dates of holidays that may cause large numbers of absences when the proposal for a future calendar is under discussion?
Every effort is made to avoid starting the fall quarter Orientation Week and the first or second day of classes on these days.
It is regrettable that some students may occasionally experience conflicts between personal activities and their academic schedules.
Please let me know if you would like to meet and learn more about the process by which the university sets its calendar.
Charlene N. Bradley
University Registrar and Director
Filed Under: Opinion