Letter to the Editor

In response to “An Open Letter to President Snyder”

Stephen Kerby

One of the prime motives of the Radical Student Union (RSU) here at Case Western Reserve University  is discussion, which is accomplished by bringing up perspectives seldom discussed in venerable institutions on a large scale. In that vein, RSU accomplished its goal; your response to RSU’s screening of a recent film on the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a start to a discussion that CWRU should do everything in its power to promote.

When debating contentious issues such as the conflict in Israel or Occupied Palestine (depends on who you ask), biased viewpoints are not necessarily a bad place to start. As long as the underlying precepts of sanity and logic are respected, biased viewpoints can be examined and tempered. We should call spades spades, though; the RSU film had an agenda—a bias. I am in agreement with your analysis up to this point.

I diverge completely from you, however, when your response continues on to the ideals of discussion in general. You say that such a film “is unacceptable to be presented by a student organization at our university, without even providing information from another perspective.” It is not RSU’s mission to provide that alternative; it is yours. Is it the responsibility of Spartans for Hillary to point out all the great things about Donald Trump’s agenda? I’m glad you took up your pen and wrote your open letter, which I’m sure President Barbara R. Snyder considered at length. If the films and the chalking and the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement and the existence of RSU overall is that repulsive to you, take action yourself. Get your chalk and get a film to show. Keep the discussion going; don’t clamp down on it because it’s not always your side that’s doing the talking.

I try to admit to my biases, and that is my greatest one. The free expression of ideas, the discussion thereof and a lively public forum are all central to liberal democracy. And although I might disagree with your opinion, I will defend to the death your right, as Voltaire wrote, to speak it. It is your right and responsibility to build on that right and to use it to mold the world to your will.