People holding signs with disparaging remarks toward LGBTQ-identifying people and other groups appeared on campus on Montgomery Avenue near 13th Street last week, and a similar group stood outside Lot K at Lincoln Financial Field as fans arrived for Temple’s football game against Villanova on Sept. 1.
An overwhelming majority of the Temple University community – The Temple News’ editorial board included – disapproves of the hateful messages disseminated by these groups. But banning them from campus would violate their First Amendment rights and set a concerning precedent.
The Temple News values First Amendment protections, not only for our benefit as we print every Tuesday and daily online, but for others. If an opinion is broadcast peacefully and lawfully, it shouldn’t be suppressed, no matter how many people disagree with it. Who’s to say that more traditional groups, like environmental organizers or political campaigns, couldn’t be excluded if these hate groups were?
We hope students who disagree with on-campus protesters take the opportunity to appreciate that our campus environment does not condone hateful speech and find communities where they can express their identities without reservation.
Plus, if you don’t like what they have to say, you can ignore them and keep walking. Or, better yet, you can shout back and non-violently counterprotest. After all, it’s your First Amendment right, too.