Opening the Door on Free Speech

by Jody Godoy '05

On Monday, November 25, Seven Palms amphitheatre on East Campus filled with students and music in support of the "Door of Discussion," a proposed free-speech forum for the APU community.

If approved, the door will be placed in a permanent location on campus as a student-moderated open forum to discuss issues pertinent to students. Students would be able to post and respond to comments, questions, and ideas directly on the surface of the door.

Organized by the Students for Social Justice Club, the event in Seven Palms included a concert featuring the musical talent of Leaving Salem, Bad Driver Dave, MFL, and Good Day Sir. The event was free, but a donation was taken for the purchase of the actual door. All in attendance were encouraged to sign the petition that would be used to help gain university support.

Blair Thompson '04, one of the event organizers, described the door's purpose and necessity: "What we want it to be is an open conversation between the community of students. There's no political agenda. The goal is just to make us all more informed of the world and of each other. We hope that it turns the student body as a whole into more thoughtful and concerned citizens."

Guest speakers Monica Ganas, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies, and Bill Catling, professor of art, showed strong support for the idea, and sought to convey their sense of the forum's importance to the student community.

Ganas spoke of the need to start discussion on campus, while Catling called students' attention to the responsibility that freedom implies. She called to attention to the fact that in the First Amendment, free speech can't be separated from freedom of religion.

Students for Social Justice meet on Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in front of the Marshburn Library on East Campus. For more information, contact [email protected] or [email protected].