Finally, some support for the first amendment on campus.

FIRE reports.

Purdue’s Dean Supports Free Speech Without Ifs, Ands, or Buts

As dedicated Torch readers know, I’ve been known to engage in a rant or two about university presidents who wax poetic about the value of free speech and then go on to carve out all sorts of exceptions for unpopular speech—which is precisely what the First Amendment is designed to protect. (University of Iowa and Brandeis University, I’m looking at you.)

I therefore read the recent “letter to the community” from Purdue University’s Dean of Students, Katherine L. Sermersheim, with particular pleasure. Appearing in The Exponent as an op-ed piece, the letter comments on the campus appearance of a preacher whose message many students found offensive.

The letter is well worth quoting at length:

The overall message communicated by this individual was viewed as very offensive and inappropriate by members of our community who heard it or came into contact with him. While the beliefs reportedly expressed by this individual are clearly inconsistent with the values and ideals of Purdue University, embracing free speech – of all kinds – is the very essence of a free society and marketplace of ideas.

Purdue University, while in no way condoning the behavior of yesterday’s visitor or the content of his message, does celebrate the opportunity for learning and values-clarification that is accorded us when such expressive activity (however offensive) occurs in our midst.