Rutgers president stands up for free speech after controversial ‘Dangerous Faggot’ lecture
Rutgers University president Robert Bachi is calling on his university to stand up for free speech after a student group hosted controversial speaker and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
“While I will not defend the content of every opinion expressed by every member of our academic community, or of speakers who we invite to our campus, I will defend their right to speak freely,” Bachi wrote in a statement Monday. “That freedom is fundamental to our university, our society, and our nation.”
Although Bachi acknowledged that some comments made by guest speakers could be considered offensive or hurtful, he nonetheless defended their right to be freely expressed on college campuses.
“Some of the comments have been offensive to many people and have been inconsistent with the commitment Rutgers has to reasoned discussion and balanced points of view. Such comments do not represent the position of the University, nor should they be construed as having been expressed on behalf of the University,” he wrote. “Having said that, all of the members of our community—our faculty members, students, alumni, and staff—are free to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens, including viewpoints that the University itself or I personally may not share.”
The statement comes just days after a student group at Rutgers hosted Yiannopoulos for a lecture on how the progressive left is destroying college campuses. Students boycotted the event and pleaded with administrators to cancel it, but their outrage failed to deter Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.
Rutgers told Campus Reform the event would carry on as planned and that “the university is committed to preserving open inquiry and discussion and the peaceful expression of differing perspectives.”
Student protesters, however, interrupted Yiannopoulos’ talk with chants of, “This man represents hatred!” and, “Black lives matter!” Several students reportedly smeared themselves with fake blood.
“[Rutgers] should not be inviting anyone like Yiannopoulos because what we stand for is inclusion and diversity,” student Nyuma Waggeh told The Daily Targum. “If a speaker makes someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable, then they should not come to campus.”
But Bachi disagrees and continues to defend the free speech rights of all students and faculty.
“Both academic freedom and our First Amendment rights are at the core of what we do,” he wrote. “Our university policy on speech is clear. All members of our community enjoy the rights of free expression guaranteed by our First Amendment.”
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