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Letters // Concordia got it right

Title: Letters // Concordia got it right
Date: Friday, 24 April 2009
Publisher: Montreal Gazette
Main source:

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Re: "Scientologists didn't deserve a soapbox" (Letters, April 22).

Norman Ingram suggests that so called "crackpot" groups like the Scientologists should not be accorded publicly funded space like Concordia's atrium. But that is precisely what universities have a mission and an obligation to provide. Academic freedom and free speech have no point if offensive speech and crackpot ideas have no public forum.

Every single university discipline has some ideas or promotes practices that will offend some portion of our population. Every department has a professor who has or will put forth a theory that will prove to be nonsense. Without this freedom, all new knowledge is under threat of censure.

It also exposes truly crackpot ideas to the light of public scrutiny and public mockery. The Scientologists' exhibition offered any teacher the opportunity to show students, in a way better than any classroom discussion could, a whole host of important lessons - in critical thinking , errors of logic, propaganda techniques, etc.

Concordia did the right thing for the right reasons.

David Gobby
Greenfield Park