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From the Editor’s Desk | On the Freedom of Expression

As the nation’s campuses immerse themselves in debate, one university has taken a firm stance against “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

In early September, American University’s faculty senate unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to free expression. The full statement is worth reading, but particular lines grabbed my attention:

“For hundreds of years, the pursuit of knowledge has been at the center of university life,” it states. “Unfettered discourse, no matter how controversial, inconvenient, or uncomfortable, is a condition necessary to that pursuit.”

In the last month, I have received some response from readers criticizing The Spectrum’s handling of columns published by contributing writer Matt Frohlich.

I want to once and for all make it clear: Opinions expressed on these pages are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty, staff, university administration or Spectrum management.

This message is stated in every issue.

The Spectrum treats our opinion section as a forum for public discourse. We exercise the least amount of editorial control within the section, as its purpose is very different from others in the publication.

It’s not our job to decide whose opinions are right or wrong or decide who is allowed to say what they think. It’s our job to provide the space for thoughtful opinions to be heard.

We want these pages to be a space where the community shares its stories, engages in necessary and meaningful conversation and exercises its right to free speech.

We understand our responsibility as a publication, and we do not intend to allow contributors to use our space as a means of spreading discrimination and hate. However, we also understand that there is a difference between criticism and hate speech.

If we’ve crossed that line, we want to know. If we’ve published specific factual errors, we want to understand, publish corrections and learn from the mistake.

But if you simply don’t like something you’ve read, you have just as much of a voice in this paper as any columnists does.

Submit a letter to the editor. If you’re at least a part-time student, contact me or our opinion editor Meghan Pegel about becoming a contributing writer.

The purpose of a student newspaper is to give voice to the campus. That does not exclude the voices of a minority.

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