This May 26 issue will be our last for the 2016-17 school year, and once again, the Lawrence community has started a heated discussion on free speech that we have yet to fully explore.
Freedom of speech is a concept that I hold dear to my heart, because growing up in Vietnam and Singapore, it was a luxury that I could not afford. If you are wondering why, you can Google arrests of Vietnamese bloggers who simply expressed dissenting political opinions. You can also look up the 18-year-old Singaporean Amos Yee, jailed two years ago by the Singaporean government for a controversial YouTube video; he recently received asylum to the U.S. I have always cherished the opportunity on this campus to engage in meaningful discussions, to be critical and most importantly, to speak unafraid.
Therefore, it has been painful for me to watch the very idea of free speech distorted and abused as a thin veil for hurtful words and actions hurled at students of marginalized identities, without consideration for their safety and dignity. It has also been difficult to watch how discussions, in the name of free speech, went out of control without moderation, both online and in real life.
In a divisive campus climate, my only hope is for The Lawrentian to become a neutral platform to publish opinions and thoughts from the entire Lawrence community and to allow for meaningful discussions about important issues, just as it should be. While Letters to the Editor and Op-ed articles published here do not represent the Editorial Board’s viewpoints, they represent our commitment to providing a moderated discussion space. Although this is the last issue of the year, we are still accepting submissions to publish online, if you would like to join the conversation.