A pol­icy back­ing civil dis­course

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “UC’s PC po­lice,” Opin­ion, June 23

Univer­si­ties should sup­port free ex­pres­sion. On this we agree with UCLA law pro­fes­sor Eu­gene Volokh.

We dis­agree with his con­tention that Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia ad­min­is­tra­tors have failed to pro­tect free­dom of dis­cus­sion. While UC pol­icy sup­ports open in­tel­lec­tual de­bate, it also sup­ports civil dis­course, in­clud­ing the avoid­ance of ex­pres­sions that in­tim­i­date or abuse; the lat­ter fa­cil­i­tates the for­mer.

Hon­est ex­pres­sion and civil dis­course are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive; where they co­ex­ist, so­ci­ety ben­e­fits. UC pol­icy best serves us when it sus­tains our con­sti­tu­tional right to free speech and cham­pi­ons the UC mis­sion of di­ver­sity, eq­uity and in­clu­sion.

Free­dom of speech is pre­cious. Ex­cept for rare in­stances, such as shout­ing “fire!” in a crowded theater, we do not wish to cen­sor speech on cam­pus. But do we wish to pro­mote aca­demic dis­course that il­lu­mi­nates rather than ig­nites? We do.

David López- Carr

Go­leta, Calif.

Emily Rox­wor­thy

San Diego López- Carr is a pro­fes­sor of ge­og­ra­phy at UC Santa Bar­bara; Rox­wor­thy is a pro­fes­sor of theater at UC San Diego.

Dur­ing my four years as a stu­dent at UCLA, we had speak­ers rang­ing from Alabama Gov. Ge­orge Wal­lace to com­mu­nists An­gela Davis and Dorothy Healy. At my grad­u­a­tion in 1964, the speaker was the shah of Iran, which prompted a near riot.

These peo­ple all of­fended many by speak­ing on cam­pus, but their pres­ence also opened the door to dis­cus­sion and de­bate of the is­sues of the day, both in­side and out­side the col­lege class­room.

What’s hap­pen­ing to the “mar­ket­place of ideas” that the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem was once rightly known as?

Alan Miller

San­ti­ago, Chile

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