Authored By Kara Zupkus
October 31, 2019
It seems Rocky Mountain College isn’t interested in only limiting conservative speech, but all free speech.
According to internal emails obtained by Young America’s Foundation, a Young Americans for Freedom chapter was told they could not promote a public pro-life display, with the Dean of Students claiming it would be “incredibly divisive.”
“If we allow a public display, we have effectively eliminated every student’s ability to choose to engage or not engage with that issue,” Dean Brad Nason said in an email to the YAF chapter leader. “The pro-life/pro-choice debate is incredibly divisive and in the College view, a public display is confrontational. We believe the College community has a right to choose to either engage in a program or not.” He also labels the pro-life display a “controversial” topic.
Nason goes on to qualify his claim, proudly stating in an email, “For the record, the President’s Cabinet recently rejected a similar request for an on-campus marketing campaign, that would have included what most would interpret as liberal messaging, around the topics of immigrant rights, climate change, science, and racism. We considered that program unnecessarily and inappropriately confrontational.” Gloating about suppressing the free speech of all students, regardless of ideology, isn’t exactly something to be proud of.
Rocky Mountain College claims to support “a commitment to excellence and openness to all points of view” in its mission statement, and says it is “a community of scholars in which the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the individual are sustained” in its Student Code of Conduct.
However, its restrictions on public campus displays is the antithesis of this claim.
“Our goal with displays on RMC’s campus is to start some type of conversation about issues that are hard to discuss,” said Rayna Laasko, chairman of the RMC Young Americans for Freedom chapter. “These issues are very difficult to discuss. It may make students uncomfortable, but learning isn’t guaranteed to be comfortable.”
How can college students evolve in their views and learn about pertinent topics if their own school, intended to be bastions for the free exchange and debate of ideas, are attempting to protect them from “divisive” topics? It’s time for universities to stop attempting to helicopter parent, and to start taking a stand for free speech in all forms.