It is of great concern to all when free speech is threatened, especially here at Temple, a premier institute of higher learning and historical bastion of free speech and intellectual exchange. Temple University Purpose is a student organization whose sole mission it is to provide a forum for pertinent, sometimes controversial, topics that affect not only student life, but also the broader Philadelphia community, to be heard and debated. It is through this discourse that we, the Temple community, will extract the best possible compromise among differing points of view. Temple is quite successful in attracting a diverse student body with differing ideas on life and liberty. However, TU Purpose feels as though this fundamental right to free speech is betrayed due to character attacks from individuals and student organizations that have a very narrow view of Temple’s mission to support free exchange of ideas and intellectual sovereignty.
On Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, the International Socialist Organization of Temple released a letter of condemnation for TU Purpose’s event on Thursday, Oct. 7 from 7-9:30 p.m. in Room 200C of the Student Center. The TU Socialists expressed how appalled they were at TU Purpose’s spin on the event as “free speech.” Although the content is controversial, it is by every means the ultimate expression and exercise of free speech so rightfully trumpeted by the academic intelligentsia. TU Purpose believes in the First Amendment, but it has not been parading it around to garner support for this event. TU Purpose feels as though our mission is being misconstrued and redefined so that the majority can exercise a monopoly of who can speak and/or when/if they can speak in the first place. The TU Socialists claim that TU Purpose wants to silence all Arabs and Muslims, as well as stop their immigration into the United States. This, again, is the absolute direct opposite of our intentions. TU Purpose is the sole organization that provides an open forum which welcomes any and all points of view, not just one stemming from a common thread stolen from the playbook of the national Progressive agenda. We do not support hate speech, but we do encourage any and all types of individuals to exercise their constitutional right to voice their opinion. Our organization is a unique tool on campus that affords everyone an opportunity to be heard for the sake of educating students on issues that otherwise would only be omitted from most teaching platforms not only on this campus, but nationwide as well.
The TU Socialists refer to our featured speakers as “disgusting hate-mongers.” The Socialists’ blatant subjectivity just screams of an uncontrolled emotion of narrow-mindedness and blind ignorance of TU Purpose’s mission. TU Purpose is an objective organization that represents all viewpoints, ethnicities and creeds. This fact alone is what allows our group to be so unique on campus as we welcome all points of view to garner scholarly debate and productive discourse. We are a very diverse group of students and abhor the notion of promoting discrimination. TU Purpose refuses to kowtow simply because controversial topics debated nationwide does not fit with the assumed agenda set forth by the hierarchy of the Progressive agenda. This institution is supposed to be an institute of higher learning for all … not just the select lucky.
The ignorance-laden TU Socialists’ letter cites convenient points to attempt to strengthen their argument. They fail to address historical elements of Temple, which easily fit into their impassioned note. For example, Bobby Seale (co-founder of the Black Panthers in the ‘60s) had an adjunct-faculty appointment at Temple to teach Black Studies; he was charged with inciting riots, conspiracy, et cetera, and yet he was given an adjunct position here. No one is denouncing Mr. Seale’s qualifications, but we are simply pointing out the notion that Temple never shied from engaging controversial figures to promote debate and exchange of ideas and knowledge.
The TU Socialists’ argument and requests to recruit protesters are absurd. While TU Purpose fully supports everyone’s freedom to protest any event, it finds it sad that this Socialists’ so-called protest is counterproductive in and of itself, and cuts off the legs of impressionable students who attend a university with the aim of improving oneself and his or her community. TU Purpose has put Temple on the map not only nationally but internationally as an institution that, perhaps, is not as unilaterally thought-driven as many think. The International Socialists are doing a disservice to all of Temple and prospective students and supporters by pigeonholing it as a close-minded university where some persons, groups and ideas are more equal than others.
TU Purpose condemns the misleading, malice-driven, unfortunate letter composed by the TU International Socialists. Dr. Jose Harris said it best: “When you sit back and criticize the actions of others, while you do nothing constructive yourself, you are a side-liner.”
Temple International Socialist Organization, do not rob our fellow students of a well-rounded education merely because you disagree with a point of view about which the majority of America wants to learn and understand more. In order to advance progress of oneself and our society, our sole aim throughout life cannot be to consistently disrupt or terrorize dialogue. Dialogue is a precious gift that we are privileged to have, free of retribution, in America. TU Purpose is not going to allow the TU Socialists, or anyone, to waste this privilege for us, our fellow Owls, the Temple administration and the surrounding community.
TU Purpose Executive Board