An Open Letter to Clemson Students

by | Feb 2, 2015

It is our moral obligation as faculty to defend our students’ basic rights to free speech and expression, whether we support those views or not.

We pledge to all Clemson students-present and future-that we support and will defend your freedom of thought, conscience, inquiry, speech, expression, and communication. It is our moral obligation as faculty to defend our students’ basic rights to free speech and expression, whether we support those views or not.

We would therefore oppose all attempts by Clemson faculty and administrators to silence, suppress, or “prosecute criminally” thought and speech deemed vulgar, controversial, unpopular, insensitive, offensive, inappropriate, subversive, or blasphemous. We would regard any effort by Clemson faculty to censor and punish student thought and speech as especially disgraceful.

All students everywhere have a right to think, learn, and speak in an environment free of faculty or administrative threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and indoctrination.

Know this: Clemson students are legally entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment. Any denial of this right is illegal, unconstitutional, and a betrayal of Clemson’s commitment to providing its students with a marketplace of ideas.

In the name of genuine tolerance and diversity, let there be no thought crimes or thought police at Clemson University. Our campus must be a refuge for free thought and speech, which includes ideas that we do not like or that make us feel uncomfortable. That’s what a true university is and does.

Let all Clemson faculty and students unite to fight error and prejudice with rational arguments, critical investigation, and unfettered debate, which requires upholding the principle of free speech uncompromisingly.

We therefore pledge to you that we shall work tirelessly to fight censorship and to keep alive the spirit of open-minded inquiry at Clemson University.

C. Bradley Thompson
Department of Political Science

C. Alan Grubb
Department of History

Bradley S. Meyer
Department of Physics & Astronomy

C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has also been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London. In recent years, Dr. Thompson has also published essays on a range of topics such as children’s rights, natural law theory, Marxism, Progressive education, and free-market education. He is currently completing a book on “The Ideological Origins of American Constitutionalism.”

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