Letter to the Editor: Faculty Support Free Speech

December 1, 2015

Dominican students have a fundamental right to express their opinions, organize, support causes and protest, a right we want to be on the record supporting vigorously.

The American Association of University Professors (www.aaup.org) has been defending the rights of free inquiry and free speech for 100 years, as well as promoting professional standards and shared academic governance. Recently, we re-established the independent Dominican chapter of the AAUP with these goals in mind.

The Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students (co-authored by the AAUP nearly 50 years ago) is clear on these rights:

“Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They should always be free to support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the institution.”

The statement also is clear on the students’ right of association:

“Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. They should be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests”

Free expression and open discussion are signs of a vibrant learning community. Let us embrace them.

We applaud the students who exercised their rights on Nov. 12 to publicly express their opinions on the racial climate at Dominican. We also want to ensure that they suffer no retaliation for their expression, and would strongly condemn any such action by groups or individuals.

In Caritas and Veritas,

Dominican University Advocacy Chapter, AAUP

John Jenks (president), Communication Arts and Sciences
Mary Pat Fallon (vice president), Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Aaron Zerhusen (secretary), Math
Tracy Caldwell, Psychology
Gil Cook, English
Jodi Cressman, English
David Dolence, Political Science
Roz Hays, History (emeritus)
Elizabeth Landers, French
Jacob Lesniewski, Graduate School of Social Work
Liesl Orenic, History
Christina Perez, Sociology
David Perry, History
Lisa Petrov, Spanish
CarrieLynn Reinhard, Communication
Karen Snow, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Chris Stewart, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Tina Taylor-Ritzler, Psychology
Christopher Stewart, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Anthony Suarez-Abraham, Theology
Tama Weisman, Philosophy