“A Churlish Protest.” “Rude and Disrespectful.” “A Self-Righteous Exhibition.”
If the responses (Inbox, Sept. 11, and comments at PAW Online) to the overwhelmingly silent and peaceful protest at Baccalaureate (“Clashing Views,” July 10) have made one thing clear, it’s that no form of protest, no signaling of dissatisfaction, no staking of a moral claim, is acceptable. If we disrupt the event, that’s shutting down free speech. If we walk out: a refusal to engage. If we merely turn our backs — making no noise, and not disrupting the speaker’s ability to speak in any way — it’s “churlish” and self-righteous.
It seems that when alumni tell students not to protest a certain way, what they really mean is don’t protest at all. What they mean is don’t think for yourself, don’t let a little thing like moral conviction outweigh a duty to shut up and sit still. To those such as Jack Zimmerman ’48 and Mike Devine ’62: Let us know when you think of an appropriate way to protest. I won’t hold my breath.