I was distressed to read about the recent events concerning the Chik-Fil-A restaurant located in Coffman Union. No one has the right to egg an establishment just because the owner of that business may have opinions that differ from the mainstream. True students of the liberal tradition who tolerate and respect the opinions of others have no problem accepting the existence of difference, of true diversity.
In my studies here at the University of Minnesota I have read countless books centered on the ideas of existentialism, evolution, atheism, agnosticism, dialectical materialism, feminism, the liminal state and other fantastical flourishes of the mind to which I do not agree. Yet, I read the books, some assigned, some not. I learned to appreciate the other view. The world isn’t the Manichean good and bad, white and black that some think it is. Life comes in all shapes and sizes; it is a bit more complex than the simplistic group-think displayed in the Chik-Fil-A action.
My hope today is that the bureaucrats here at the University will find the backbone and the courage to respect what a great university really should be: a place which encourages students, staff and faculty to not only explore and discover who they really are and also provides a safe place where the fruits of that introspection and discovery can thrive in peaceful co-existence with competing visions. I offer a toast to the respect of openness and real inclusivity, accepting and tolerating humanity in all its varied flora and fauna.
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