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Frat Flap Is Censorship

April 04, 1993

Can you believe these Cal State Northridge teachers and students organizing against and attempting to punish the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity regarding its controversial party flyer that allegedly offended some Mexican-Americans?

One of the functions of a university is to act as a forum for free speech and expression. I remember when I and many thousands of other students protested in support of that idea during the '60s.

When did that role become subverted to protect the sensitivities of special-interest groups?

You can't have it both ways. You either believe in free speech or you don't. It's not a discretionary guarantee to be used like a sword when it doesn't suit a group's self-interests.

As insensitive as the ZBT party flyer may have been, the alternative--censorship and punishment--is much worse.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the guarantees of the First Amendment with very specific exceptions, and communicating negative cultural or ethnic references is not one of them, as evidenced by the failure of most so-called "speech codes" at universities across the country.

What some CSUN students and faculty members are promoting is simply repression masquerading as political correctness, and the results of those kinds of free speech restraints are well documented.

Or don't they teach history at Cal State Northridge?

HARALD JOHNSON

Woodland Hills

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