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Letter to the Editor: Keep out of heated arguments with zealots for sake of UNF

Dear Editor,
In an effort to protect academic freedom and foster knowledge, universities generally have come to be known as environments where free speech should be encouraged.

Additionally, as a public university (meaning that it is partially supported with tax dollars provided by the state), UNF is prohibited from obstructing members of the public from visiting our campus to express themselves freely in an open forum, unless they interfere with the university’s academic or administrative endeavors. In this case, that open forum tends to be the Green, where a crowd frequently gathers.

Although our student-audiences do find some of our visitors’ ideas offensive, these individuals have the right to come to our campus and express their opinions.

Unfortunately, sometimes the expression of unpopular opinions leads to a temptation to engage in inflammatory debate.

Then good intentions move from civil debate to a more personal level.

Regardless of our visitors’ comments, I would like to encourage students to behave in a civil fashion.

Let us uphold our UNF Institutional Values and serve as role models on our campus where civility thrives, regardless of our diverse opinions.

To avoid inflammatory candor that jeopardizes the safety and well being of our community, I ask that our students disengage themselves from these heated arguments when they occur, and behave in a manner that demonstrates that we value dignity and respect.

Mauricio Gonzalez
Vice President for Student and International Affairs

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    Lucas JacksonMar 7, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I’m an alumnus (1991) and have fond memories of the UNF Green. With all the growth on campus, I’m glad we still have a Green to be discussing. I would like to support what VP Mauricio Gonzalez says about avoiding inflammatory comments and supporting good will. The responsibility for tolerance lies with the person who has the wider vision. Civility is the key, along with a healthy dose of good humor. A humerous treatment of the ‘controversy’ can be found at http://unfvillagegreen.blogspot.com/. Let’s all remember to be gentle with one another. Peace.