Letter: Does MSU discourage diversity of thought?
By international relations senior Chris Pawsat
In the late 1960s, my mother’s family boarded a flight from Cuba to the United States to escape its brutally oppressive communist government. To this day, Cubans continue to flee to the United States of America for its promise of freedom and safety. Cuban-Americans know all too well how fast basic human rights and freedoms can disappear if citizens lose the freedom of expression.
It is important that this country and our publicly funded universities remain true to our founding principles: a melting pot of ideas where everyone is safe to express themselves freely, tolerant of opposite views, exploring alternative positions and continuously questioning the status quo.
Recent selective outrage by MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and other MSU officials has raised concerns about the university’s commitment to a diversity of thought.
President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily halted immigration and prompted vigorous outrage by university officials, students and professors. Executive orders are powerful actions, deserving scrutiny from Congress and the people. Yet, that is not my concern.
My concern is the complete and absolute silence by the university when roughly one month earlier former President Barack Obama permanently repealed the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, an action that could cause the suffering of many Cuban refugees. No longer will Cubans be protected by Lady Liberty when their feet hit the shores of America. They will be forced back to Cuba, where they might face the wrath of a brutal communist government.
So why the selective outrage by Simon and the faculty? Why so vocal regarding President Trump’s temporary halt, but not a peep about former President Obama’s permanent repeal of “wet foot, dry foot”?
I do not believe it is because President Simon and her administration hate Cubans. I believe it is because the university is blinded by its own personal ideology and agenda. Such rigid thinking can be a slippery slope, a slope I am afraid MSU has already started down: that is, the censoring of thought and speech and the use of selective outrage as a propaganda tool to indoctrinate students to a single political point of view.
MSU is at a crossroads. It can either lead or follow. Will it follow many other universities and remain a festering environment for one-sided propaganda or will it return to the bastion of free speech and ideas that were the pride of American universities? President Simon, I hope you will find the courage to lead.