Choose an Open Mind

Published: February 12, 2009

Fordham College at Lincoln Center is a school with thriving arts and media programs, situated in the heart of New York City. We attend a school that demands creativity and tolerance in one of the world’s creative capitals. So why are some of Lincoln Center’s voices being silenced?

Campus Ministry recently posted flyers around campus urging students to “Choose Life.” The statement is generally associated with anti-abortion activism. Students ripped down the signs because, presumably, they disagreed with the position expressed. But just because you do not agree with a position does not give you the right to silence it.

However, we are told that the university would be reluctant to allow the posting of signs with an opposite message, i.e. “Choose Choice”; we are not certain that they would be allowed at all. It is not surprising that our Jesuit university would choose the position they did in this debate. What is surprising is that our Jesuit university, which values intellectual achievement so highly, would allow one opinion to be promoted while muffling another.

Students may be offended because promoting one side of a debate while undermining the other suggests that the latter is invalid or even does not exist. But it does. The Lincoln Center campus is home to an assemblage of people who excel in a variety of fields; many of them lean to the left. Any attempt to silence their views undermines the work they do at Fordham and implies that because they have come to certain moral conclusions, their views are not welcome in the community they contribute to.

This is not to say that the conservative voices at Lincoln Center do not deserve space. They do. One’s political or ethical leanings do not make one any less hardworking or virtuous than anyone else. But both sides need some representation. So we at the Observer propose a new message: choose variety. Choose diversity of opinions. Choose debate. Choose openness.