In Monday, October 16th’s edition of the NDSU Spectrum, you say that a letter, sent to the Spectrum, by the KKK is not protected by the first amendment. While it is certainly The Spectrum’s prerogative to decide what goes into their paper, it’s hard to argue that the KKK falls outside the umbrella of free speech when every court ruling for the past 200 years say that it does. The whole fracas in Charlottesville started from a KKK protest that was being protected by police! It was only after the protest turned into a riot that it stopped being protected by free speech laws. Are you suggesting that a letter to a university newspaper is the legal equivalent of a riot?
Censoring the letter from your paper because it is “discriminatory” makes you look like a hypocrite. Since you claim that, “Universities are inclusive environments where anyone can pursue their academic interest-free of discrimination,” you should include everybody. If you exclude racists, you are no longer an inclusive environment. If you segregate white supremacists, you are not free of discrimination. Include these people in your university; let them be heard. What’s the worst that will happen?
You said on Monday that the KKK letter was hate speech and therefore “endangers the well-being of the public.” I don’t know about the rest of the public, but I would rather read the letter myself and then decide how much my well-being is endangered. I think if NDSU students hear these ideas from the horse’s mouth they will see how repugnant racism really is and will choose to reject it, without The Spectrum stepping in to protect us from the hurtful words in a nasty letter.
Noah F. Smith