Debate, not censorship

By The Beacon | November 11, 2010 9:00pm

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The Portland Mercury, which along with the Willamette Week was deemed "inappropriate for a Catholic university" and is no longer being provided to students on campus. (//zenvironments1.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html)

By Jeff Gauthier, Guest Commentary

The administration's decision to terminate delivery of all alternative newspapers to the campus is unfortunate in several respects.

In the first place, it reinforces the disconnect between the campus and the city (i.e., the "UP bubble"), as alternative media is an indispensable source for information and commentary on the Portland politics, music, and the arts.

Secondly the decision displays no respect whatever for our students' own critical capacities. I have used what I perceived to be problematic coverage from these papers (and the equally if differently problematic New York Times as well) as "teaching moments" in some classes. An executive decision to shield the campus from unspecified "inappropriate" material does nothing to promote the critical awareness that ought to be at the heart of a university's purpose.

Lastly, it is unfortunate that the administration chose to deal with the (still unspecified) problems with an executive decision, rather than initiating a campus discussion on the issues. The mission of any university is better served by open and informed debate than by censorship.

Jeff Gauthier, associate professor of philosophy


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