UConn shares Day's devotion to free speech

The University of Connecticut shares The Day's devotion to protecting free speech, noted in its recent editorial, and the need for all sides to have the opportunity to speak and be heard on issues, “Prepare to challenge speech, not silence it,” (Dec. 6). 

UConn recently announced new event-planning guidelines in the wake of a visit by a controversial speaker who, as many know, was shouted down by audience members who were deeply offended by his rhetoric. We share their disgust for his comments, but do not support or encourage that method of protest to impede his right to speak. 

Your editorial questioned whether the new pre-event review guidelines might be used to block speakers or those whose opinions are unusual or unpopular on campus. On the contrary, the guidelines are meant to ensure that exactly those kinds of invited speakers have the same freedoms as any other guests on our campuses. 

The review process is not based on the content of an event. It is primarily an administrative procedure in which the university would work with event organizers to ensure the appropriate planning for space and security, and to determine the best ways for counter-protests to occur in a way that protects the safety and rights of all involved. 

Public safety and free speech are not conflicting concepts on our campuses or in our society. With these new guidelines, UConn and our student groups have more tools to properly plan and mitigate potential risks in lieu of canceling an event. 

Stephanie Reitz

University of Connecticut spokesperson


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