Faculty should not discourage debate

Politically, I am decidedly liberal and have a visceral dislike of the views of Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump, but I have to wonder what the heck the faculty at the University of Chicago is thinking. You may think that I'm going to protest the invitation to Steve Bannon to participate in a debate on immigration, but my disappointment is actually with the faculty who are doing the protesting.

The purpose of colleges and universities is to educate, not just the things with which they agree, but the other side as well. We should be encouraging students to sort the wheat from the chaff, not accept what is given to them and are told what is wheat and what is chaff. It's called critical thinking.

Universities should also be encouraging free speech. To steal perhaps my favorite movie lines of all time from "The American President," "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, and who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' "

Faculty at a prestigious university like the University of Chicago shouldn't be discouraging the debate of issues, they should be encouraging it.

Mary Hunter


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