Letters to the Editor

Letter: Academic issue

October 1, 2013


To the editor:

I find it fascinating to see the School of Journalism and the anthropology department support David Guth claiming freedom of speech and academic freedom. This makes me wonder if they really understand these concepts. 

The First Amendment does not shelter someone from all consequences of speech. If I don’t like what this paper publishes, I have the right not to buy it. Spokesmen are fired for their comments. A legislator has the right not to support Kansas University funding given Professor Guth’s Tweet. And a university should have the right to protect its reputation. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but speech has consequences.

What about academic freedom? Should academic freedom really extend to areas that have nothing to do academics? OK, I’m sure someone somewhere teaches something about gun control. but Professor Guth does not. So how is this an academic freedom issue? Perhaps the anthropology department wants academic freedom to also apply to parking tickets. 

This was simply hate-filled drivel. I was personally offended by the “GD” reference.  Speech does have consequences; especially inflammatory speech. A journalism professor should know better. Professors should not be able to hide their mistakes behind noble ideas such as academic freedom when the issue has nothing to do with academics.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

" A legislator has the right not to support Kansas University funding given Professor Guth’s "


voevoda 4 years, 6 months ago

If Prof. Guth's statement lies in an area that has absolutely nothing to do with what he studies and teaches professionally at the university, as Mr. Santee states with such assurance, then the university has no legitimate interest whatsoever in what he says as a private citizen on his own time. So by advancing this line of argument, Mr. Santee is actually refuting his own contention that the university can and should take action against Prof. Guth.

Fossick 4 years, 6 months ago

"Speech does have consequences"

Of course it does. I personally think Guth is a jerk, a hyper-emotional moonbat who truly wishes maximum heartbreak on his political opponents. He really believes the NRA is responsible for every mentally ill veteran who goes berserk. As a dues-paying member of the NRA, I pity his self-deceit, even as I smirk at his simpleton antics. His ignorance does not offend me. It makes me laugh and reminds me why I pay my $25 every year.

But his expression of his opinion does not give carte blanche to politicians to use his words for their own gain. Nor should it give fainting-couch conservatives, pretending to be offended, a chance to morally preen before the microphones. Nor does it demand a state-funded college to weigh in on the "issue." There is no issue: there is merely an opinion that does not concern the college any more than it concerns his church, his country club, or his health spa.

The guy proved himself a drama queen, but his opinion is between himself and the Twitstains who value it. It has no more to do with his job than if he had opined about rutabagas or the New York Yankees. His NRA-registered students should mock him, maybe even wearing empty holsters to class, and other Twitter users should pour derision and mockery upon him 10' deep. Let him drown beneath the scorn of those who understand better than he, which is just about everyone.

But just because words have consequences, that does not mean that politicians need to take it upon themselves to provide those consequences. Let them deal with the things they were elected to deal with.

Those things do not, and should never, include monitoring the opinions of state employees.

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