DATE: 9/25/2003 11:00:00 AM
Diversity vs. Free Speech - Southern Methodist University officials shut down an "affirmative action" bake sale, claiming the event was creating a "hostile environment" after complaints from other students. The students were selling baked goods at different prices - more expensive for white students, less so for minorities. The bake sale was intended as a protest against affirmative action.
After the complaints, some shouting matches started, and the event was shut down. Consider the implications of this. The university allowed the feelings of some students to override the first amendment rights of others. The Constitution doesn't protect feelings, but it does protect free speech. When I was on campus, I saw many protests and displays that offended and angered me, but I never complained to the campus authorities about them. Why? Because free speech is more important than my wounded psyche. It's too bad the students who complained seem conditioned not to believe this.
Another issue raised by this was the view of affirmative action, which is a program intended to provide opportunities for minorities who have been discriminated against in the past. One student who was angered by the bake sale had this to say:
"My reaction was disgust because of the ignorance of some SMU students...They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It's not based on race. It's based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization." Okay, so if affirmative action isn't based on race, what is it based on? What is the definition of diversity in this case? True diversity would include ideology, but as far as I know, there are no programs to bring more conservatives to most campuses. Diversity should include religion, background, etc. But as defined by those who make the rules, diversity means one thing: race.