Diversity Dialogue: Freedom of Expression Versus Freedom from Oppression

November 03, 2009

Diversity DialogueExplorations and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) teamed up to present two interactive discussions about the line between expression and oppression.

The discussion started with the setting of ground rules and then a panel discussion began during which student representatives from OMA responded to a question about whether symbols, which are considered offensive should be permitted to be displayed on campus.

The opinions on the matter were varied. Some representatives said that individuals have the right, but they should be responsible and sensible enough not to display the symbols. Some said no, because such symbols are a form of oppression that makes them ask themselves, “am I wanted here?” 

The recent vandalism of several Rollins Plan posters with such charged symbols became a focal point.  One of the strongest opinions expressed was that unless an act or speech facilitates two-way discussion it is not acceptable in the academic community.
In the end, the consensus was that Rollins should strive to become a community where everyone can be at home and feel comfortable speaking their minds about social issues, and equally as comfortable in everyday life and formal meetings.
Please note: The above responses are those solely of the people who offered their opinions. The Office of Multicultural Affairs would also like to make it clear that it does not want to ban words on campus.

-Jennifer Ritter (Class of 2013)

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