At what point does protest start morphing from free speech into censorship? Folks at Boston College have every right to protest the decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the commencement speaker. But don’t students have a right to hear from Rice, too?
I particularly like this, from today’s Boston Globe:
“I am a Democrat and I don’t agree with the war, but I have no problem with her coming here,” said Margaret Reed, a senior political science major. “She is the secretary of state, she is an influential person, a black woman who has risen to power, and there is no reason to protest. I am so frustrated by this.”
The editors of BC’s student newspaper, the Heights, don’t seem particularly exercised about Rice’s upcoming appearance. Here’s an excerpt from an editorial:
There is certainly nothing wrong with questioning Rice’s role as speaker for BC — a respectful and intelligent campaign can at least make BC consider these arguments when selecting future speakers and degree recipients.
Further, convincing arguments can be made that Rice is more qualified than most to give a commencement address….
Politics aside, this is a woman with a lot to say about academics, public service, leadership, and the world.
That strikes me as a mature, measured response — something that seems to be missing on the other side.