Last Friday, The Vanderbilt Hustler published a column by student Katie Des Prez which questioned FIRE's assessment of the Vanderbilt Community Creed as well as the school's sexual harassment policies. FIRE's own Samantha Harris penned a response for The Torch to explain the chilling effect of Vanderbilt's red-light policies, and called on Vanderbilt to uphold its own promises of free speech on campus.
Kenny Tan, a Vanderbilt freshman and CFN member who organized Adam's recent campus speech, also submitted a letter to the editor of the Hustler this week in response to Des Prez, using quotes from Sam's blog:
Harris offers the example of federal magistrate judge Wayne Brazil. Brazil "ordered San Francisco State University to stop enforcing the California State University system's civility policy because it unconstitutionally impeded the open exchange of ideas." In this case, Brazil stated that "mandating civility could deprive speakers of the tools they most need to connect emotionally with their audience, to move their audience to share their passion" and doing so also prohibits "the kind of communication that it is necessary to use to convey the full emotional power with which a speaker embraces her ideas or the intensity and richness of the feelings that attach her to her cause."
Kenny's letter is a powerful reminder to the Vanderbilt community that its vague and overbroad policies prevent it from having a true marketplace of ideas on campus.