Letter to the Editor

1004

Tolerate diverse views

It's not often that public representations of opinion crop up on campus that conflict with my personal views about the world.  In my days at DePauw, I have seen a lot of pro-immigration, pro-environment, pro-AIDS awareness and pro-identity groups putting their views on display.

At the end of last week, I was admittedly taken aback to see a presentation of crosses that conflicted with my personal views on abortion. I am pro-choice and the crosses were speaking out against abortion. Over the weekend, you may have come across the sad and powerful image of white crosses lying in the mud outside of the Hub. At my first encounter with the horizontal crosses, I assumed Mother Nature had taken a stance on the abortion issue, a likely possibility considering the crazy weather we have been having. By my third or fourth time walking by, I wondered if the dilapidated crosses could have been an act of vandalism instead.

We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of the Cinco de Mayo incident, when a derogatory Facebook event triggered a significant response from the DePauw community.  The incident was a moment of ignorance and intolerance we don't want to relive, but can continue to learn from. While the Constitution protects the freedom of speech, we live in a community that requires tolerance and respect.  We must remember that our words and actions can hurt.

I am not sure whether or not the crosses laying on the ground this weekend were vandals acting out of reckless disrespect or as a statement on the abortion debate, but if so, it served as a reminder of lessons we occasionally forget. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but no one has a right to tear down the work of others.

When we cannot tolerate the views of someone else, we can make displays of our own or engage in a productive conversation to share our beliefs.  The outdoor blackboard was but 15 feet away from the crosses, so even a dissenter without time for crafts could have shared a message from the other side of the debate. Conversations on controversial issues should not be squashed, but we must be productive and not destructive.

— Chelsey Jonason, senior