Protecting Free Speech Easier Said Than Done

    Dear Editor,

    I am writing in response to Hadley Mendoza’s Feb. 11 opinion
    piece titled “To Protect Freedom, Students Must Read Fine Print.” I would like
    to begin by acknowledging the feedback put forth about our proposal. The idea
    that broad language leaves too much room for administrative decisions is a
    valid one, and something we have discussed throughout this process. We
    appreciate ideas; no policy should ever be accepted without critical
    examination. This story is an excellent space in which to begin a larger
    dialogue about what our community thinks this policy should contain. This said,
    some clarifications should be made.

    Let it be clear that we are not “content,” and we are not
    finished. The proposal, instead of a perfect picture of our desired final
    product, serves as a compilation of principles that we will not allow to be interfered
    with. It is not a final draft, and we did not present it as such. We made it
    public this early because we want as much feedback as possible throughout the
    policy-writing process, unlike the administrators who proposed revisions last
    June.

    Tara Ramanathan, Benjamin Balthasar and I are all fiercely
    committed to upholding the constitutional rights of our campus community. The
    University Centers Advisory Board Price Center Policy is unsettling to us, as
    are many policies at UCSD. While our policy proposal contains controversial
    issues that should be addressed, I would hate to have those confused with the
    flaws of the Price Center Policy. In addition, we have addressed and integrated
    discussions of the Student Conduct Code and other relevant policies into this
    process by communication with the Student Regulation Revision Committee. What
    we want is one free-speech policy that will protect everyone, instead of having
    things split up into so many different documents.

    We cannot ignore the fact that free speech is complex and
    not easily dealt with. It seems simple at first: Protect everything possible.
    How to best accomplish this is a different story. While broad language leaves
    too much room for abuse, an “airtight policy” that Mendoza
    proposes might easily be construed as a restrictive one as well. This is an
    issue that we continuously struggle with, and one that is in no way resolved;
    the line between specificity and restraint is a hard line to draw. Again, we
    welcome ideas, criticism and feedback. I invite anyone who would like to get
    more involved to contact me directly at [email protected]. Let
    this be the beginning of a productive and empowering conversation that leads to
    a policy that we all agree on.

    — Carol-Irene Southworth

    A.S. Representative to the Committee to Review PPM-510

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