Vandalism on the Arts Quad

President David Skorton today issued the following statement on events on the Arts Quad over the past few days involving the theft and vandalism of an installation denouncing the violence in Gaza.

It's often said and it bears repeating, especially on issues deeply felt on all sides: As an institution of higher education, our core priorities include promoting the spread of ideas, fostering robust discussion and civil debate and supporting and upholding the right to free expression. In so doing, the university welcomes such opportunities for engaging and educating our community. Curtailing and thwarting discussion and free expression limits us all.

When legitimate forms of expression in our public spaces are vandalized or desecrated, respect for political and intellectual diversity is damaged and all other forms of expression are put in jeopardy. So, while we support the strong expression of opinion, we condemn the vandalism that recently occurred on the Arts Quad. The legitimate forum for expression provided on the quad and in other campus fora is equally available to all.

This university has and will continue to adhere to the principle that all perspectives and their proponents are welcome on our campus, and allowing the expression of opposing views on topics of deep national and international concern is in keeping with that principle.

I hope you will join me in resisting attempts to limit campus discussion and in promoting civil and rational debate as an opportunity to learn together and develop a more nuanced understanding of the issues and the perspectives of those who bring them forth.

David J. Skorton