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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    In response to recent controversy:

    Many of you might think that last week was one of my worst ever as Dean of Students because I was overwhelmed by your calls and emails complaining about an offensive cartoon that appeared in the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Actually, it was quite the opposite, as the events of last week allowed me to reflect on how privileged I am to work in an environment that honors and practices free speech principles on a daily basis and has individuals who are committed to our values of diversity and inclusion.

    As I look back on the vibrant debate of the past week, I was struck by the fact that the First Amendment imposes upon all of us certain burdens of tolerance for and understanding of viewpoints with which we don’t always agree.

    Who hasn’t stopped to listen to one of our Mall preachers? And remember when an anti-abortion group put up large posters of unborn fetuses on the Mall? These are examples of free speech, and it likely is not an accident that the Founding Fathers chose to enshrine this principle in our Constitution’s First Amendment. I encourage all members of our community to learn more about free speech and the First Amendment online at firstamendmentcenter.org/category/speech.

    The cartoon in the Wildcat evoked many strong feelings, and I understand that. It was printed in our paper, on our campus. In the past week, I have heard from literally thousands of community members expressing a full range of emotions on the cartoon that ran in the Wildcat. What was clear to me was that our community was upset that the values of diversity, inclusion and social justice were under attack, and they were willing to defend those values. It was this outpouring of concern for both free speech and our values that made last week one of my best as Dean.

    Our response, criticized as timid by some, has actually been reflective of an academic community built on the principle of free speech. On Monday, the leadership of the Wildcat met privately with both Pride Alliance and ASUA leadership to discuss moving forward. On Wednesday, Pride Alliance will host an open community forum at 5 p.m. in the Tucson Room of the Student Union. The focus of this forum will be to share information with the community regarding Monday’s meeting. I urge you to attend this forum as we continue to heal and practice our values of tolerance and understanding.

    Should you not be able to attend the forum, there are still campus resources available to assist you.
    — Dr. Keith Humphrey
    Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
    & Dean of Students

    The University of Arizona Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) representing the 8,633 graduate and professional students of the University of Arizona makes a clear statement against tolerance of homophobia by the Arizona Daily Wildcat, student newspaper at the University of Arizona.

    On October 16, 2012 the Arizona Daily Wildcat published a cartoon depicting a scenario in which violence towards gays leads to humor between a father and son. The GPSC respects the decision of the Daily Wildcat to fire the cartoonist who depicted this cartoon, but wonders about the lack of editorial oversight. It is ironic that this cartoon appeared in the Daily Wildcat at the very end of National Coming Out Week (October 12 – 16).

    GPSC is for the dignified treatment of all students. GPSC supports gay, lesbian, transgender and other students who have to deal with indignities of prejudice and discrimination of any sort. In the case of the cartoon, the GPSC loudly opposes the homophobia depicted.

    The university environment is supposed to be a place of healthy discovery and validation of self, and a respectful environment in which students can express their opinions. As the campus newspaper, the Daily Wildcat has a responsibility to report facts. When attempting to entertain, the Wildcat should never publish content that could be deemed offensive or discriminatory toward University of Arizona students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or friends, family members, or colleagues of these same students.
    — Zachary Brooks,
    GPSC president

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