Friday, April 20, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 137



Staff Editorial


Tom Carpenter                      Ed De La Garza                       Crystal J. Doucette 
Romina Kim                           Jim Parsons


Better late than never

Even if it was a little late, Wednesday's Freer Speech Coalition speak-out was a sign that UH students are actually interested enough in a topic to express their opinions about it.

The event on Satellite Hill was held to voice opposition to the tactics used in bringing a Justice for All abortion exhibit to campus last month. The exhibit, which featured huge photographs of aborted fetuses and information on the abortion process, drew its share of protesters when it was set up in Butler Plaza.

It's interesting that the discussion over the exhibit did not focus on whether abortion is right or wrong as much as whether the display itself was appropriate. The Free Speech Coalition, which worked with Justice for All to bring the display to UH, obviously believed it had the right to sponsor an exhibit that showed the realities of abortion. Those who opposed the exhibit believed there were better ways to get the point across.

What it boils down to is an exercise of freedom of speech. Are exhibits like that appropriate for college campuses? Yes. Granted, they may be offensive, but considering the design and content of the exhibit, that is clearly the goal. But people who don't believe it was proper have the right to express their views as well -- as one speaker at Wednesday's rally said, speaking in front of the Satellite doesn't have the same impact a two-story-high series of color photos does, but it is effective in its own way.

These are the types of discussions that go on daily at colleges across the nation, and we wish there were more of them here -- particularly about things that concern students directly. For example, only a handful of students have shown up for forums held to offer information on student fee increases in the past few years. Why? These increases -- some of which are quite large -- will affect all of us. It would seem students would want to know as much as possible about an issue that takes a bite out of their pocketbooks.

By the same token, students rarely show up at the Student Government Association meetings, where policy is set that ostensibly affects the entire student population. Yes, a group of students did regularly attend the meetings this semester, but it was no coincidence that the one time President James Robertson Jr. wasn't there, the audience wasn't, either.

The simple fact is that students cannot complain about things happening on campus if they don't take the initiative to make their voices heard.

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