Free Thought…Free Speech…SIU

‘In a column emailed to faculty and staff, SIU President Randy Dunn said universities should be ‘guardians of free speech’ in a time when the country is politically divided and debates rage on over whether inflammatory or polarizing speakers be allowed to give talks on campuses.’   Daily Egyptian

”The best antidote for speech we don’t like, even speech we think is abhorrent, is more speech, not less,’ Dunn said.  ‘Let more voices be heard,’   Daily Egyptian


Indeed, Universities should be guardians of free speech.


Often, we feel compelled to protect and advocate, speech that we agree with.  However, the radical and treasonous speech that our country was founded upon…was not appreciated or protected by England…who we were seeking separation from.

‘On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry sounded one of the most famous calls to arms in American history.  During a meeting of the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond, the 38-year-old-lawyer and politician gave an impassioned plea urging the Old Dominion to form militias to defend itself against the British.  Henry’s brief address-which closed with the incendiary line ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’-swayed the convention in his favor, and his words became a rallying cry during the march to war that was soon to begin.’   History Stories

I have been watching, for the past three nights, Ken Burn’s documentary entitled Vietnam.  It is, as is all of Mr. Burn’s work, fascinating.

I was a youngster and a teenager during the war in Vietnam.  I watched Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News, nightly, show how many Americans had been killed that day…and how many Vietnamese.

I saw the protestors…stating that we should withdraw from Vietnam…I thought that I was going to be drafted…but…the draft was ended shortly before I became of age to register.

Hindsight is 20/20…it turns out… the protestors were correct….fifty thousand Americans died in Vietnam.

Today, we have more need for free speech…perhaps than ever in our history.  There is a great pull and division and a tearing of society between rich and poor and black and white and conservative and liberal….and a struggle for freedom of speech and voice…for those who have no…voice.


Ruth Pommier, was my colleague and friend…during my SIU career.  Ruth spoke for many, in the Civil Service Community, that had not advocate…nor voice.


When Chancellor Argersinger was terminated…I spoke on her behalf…and was told to be silent…by leaders at the top of the University hierarchy.

I refused to be silent…or to deny Mary Jane and my friendship with her and Peter…or to hide…at rally’s that were staged on her behalf.

For a period of, at least, two years, I feared termination…for my simple exercise of my right of free speech.


So, I am now… and always have been…a believer in free speech…and I commend President Dunn for his advocacy of this basic human right.





5 responses

  1. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    I am all for free speech as well. We must give thought to public safety when exercising this right or allowing this right to be expressed around those that want no part in the issue and just want to go about their daily lives. The lines that must be drawn are fine and hard to define… but must be defined to protect people, while still allowing the freedom of expression to everyone on every issue, or none at all. Thank you for the post. -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

    1. Thank you my friend. 😉

  2. Free speech needs to be allowed, and protected, all over this country, but especially on campuses. Unfortunately, it seems that only speech from the left is protected, when someone from the right tries to speak on a campus the left threatens violence and rather than protect the speaker the campus cancels the appearance. This is like in high school when a bully is given free reign, then when the victim finally has enough he is suspended and prosecuted while the bully is protected.

  3. Free speech is important but it means little without free thought, unrestricted access to information, unrestricted exchange of ideas, and an entirely free media. Every civilization, every society, has always imposed limits on these freedoms, and probably always will. Obsessing about freedom of speech is just another way that civilization distracts us from that rather stark fact.

  4. This is so true. We have the right to express our opinions as opinions as long as they are noted to be that and not fabricated ‘facts’. We also have the right for free speech and free belief but we do NOT have the right to shove it down other people’s throats. I saw something the other day that said “Just because you are offended doesn’t mean you are right.” And if we have facts to spread that is great, but we need to make sure they are facts first.

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