As Sana Khan reported in this week’s issue of TSL, several recent incidents of vandalism took place at Pitzer College and Scripps College that targeted students of color. In TSL’s Opinions section this week, staff columnists J. Camilo Vilaseca and William Schumacher both made excellent points about the importance of distinguishing between speech that contributes to productive discourse and speech that incites bigotry or makes targeted individuals feel unsafe.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has directly resulted in public displays of bigotry and discrimination not seen in a generation. Such hate has made its way into the Claremont Bubble. Now more than ever, we, as students, should stand by our peers who have been used as scapegoats by the Republican frontrunner.
Indeed, we agree with Camilo that vandalizing murals or students’ whiteboards is not a good starting point for intellectual discourse. If you have a political view that you wish to express, you should not hide behind anonymity. During discourse, you should support your views with nuanced, thoughtful arguments. Public platforms, including publications like TSL, are great ways to open a line of communication among the student body to move forward productively. In other words, if you have a view that you want to share with the Claremont community, we encourage you to submit a guest op-ed or letter to the editor for us to consider for publication. But no matter where you choose to engage in dialogue, it is important that you do so with respect.
Free speech and freedom of the press are invaluable tools for productive, political discourse. Defamations, on the other hand, achieve the opposite.