Malicious ideology, like fungus, grows best in dark, secluded places. The spores of hate are best extinguished by the light of scrutiny.

Malicious ideology, like fungus, grows best in dark, secluded places. The spores of hate are best extinguished by the light of scrutiny.

Forbidding campus hate speech simply allows hateful ideas to fester in the dark places in people’s souls.

Many, sometimes even most, in the NIU community are justifiably offended when remarks target their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, values or political ideology.

Unfortunately, minority groups are the typical targets of hate speech. Understandably, some members of minority groups are often the most vocal advocates of speech codes.

NIU has remained relatively firm in its commitment to free speech thus far. However, the winds are blowing and the boat is rocking. Other universities in the U.S. are already caving in to hate speech advocates.

The dedication of the King Memorial Commons speaks well of NIU’s commitment to free speech. We hope that commitment is much more than lip service.

The most difficult aspect of censoring certain types of speech is finding a trustworthy, unbiased judge, jury and executioner to condemn and sentence these ideological criminals.

The mere thought of allowing any student or administrative leader to wield this kind of power breeds a potential for a frightening, Orwellian atmosphere on college campuses.

In an environment committed to education in more than an academic sense the best point of view should be allowed to win out on its own.

Despite NIU’s commitments, there are those at the university who would limit campus speech under the guise of multicultural – another top priority on campus.

There is no greater irony than campus speech codes as a bi-product of multicultural. Limiting free expression is multiculturalism’s greatest enemy.

Without this free expression, students are never exposed to opposing points of view and leave the cozy nest of the politically correct university with a distorted sense of reality.

In an institution of higher learning young adults should not be shielded from the racist, sexist or other ridiculous speech if they are truly preparing for the real world.

While it flourishes on college campuses, political correctness is far from the legal doctrine of the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court has significantly affirmed this country’s commitment to free speech on a number of occasions.

The Court understood the rights of the victims of hate speech but saw the need for free speech as an overriding concern. In 1979, the Court ruled in favor of one of the most obvious purveyors of hate speech – the Nazi party.

The Nazi’s targeted the quiet suburb of Skokie, Ill. with a march specifically designed to offend its large Jewish population. Despite the city’s attempt to protect the sentiments of its residents by halting the march, the Court ruled against the city’s injunctions and in favor of an overriding concern – the right to free expression. Protectors of the march freely expressed their sentiments to the Nazis as well.

Those who become the object of scorn in hate speech have every right to be hurt and angry, but inducing speech codes would leave an indelible injury.

If campus leaders and popular sovereignty are setting the standards, it will often be the minority groups who will experience much more than a moment’s discomfort. They’ll be the most likely candidates to suffer the consequences of a political gag order.

By standing firm on the First Amendment and fighting the temptations of soft solutions to tough problems with campus speech codes, a university is not defending hate. It is defending the right to be heard.

If campus speech is left free, no one will need to bear the responsibility none should bear – determining a speech agenda for an enlightened campus environment.

Let the racists and sexists of the world have their moment in the sun on college campuses so their beliefs can wither under the heat of real education. There will be fewer moments in the future.