Letter to the Editor: In the Spirit of Free Speech, Let Robin Thicke Perform
by Nathan J. Lichtenstein | published Nov. 17th, 2015
I know that it's kind of weird that I'm writing a letter to my own magazine, but I wanted to express my thoughts on the Robin Thicke petition representative of myself. When I first saw the petition to stop Robin Thicke from coming to campus I signed it. He's a asshole, he doesn't treat women fairly and all that jazz.
Over the last few weeks I've been giving more thought to my stance and I've changed my mind. Just because Robin Thicke's message is wrong doesn't mean that he doesn't have the authority share it. If RIT was a public university, there would be no question that preventing Thicke from performing would be a direct violation of the first amendment.
As a private university, we are not bound to affording our student body the full rights of free speech, but I think it's important that we do. While the argument that we should distance ourselves from Robin Thicke and his message is valid, I think it speaks a lot stronger if we let him perform.
I believe that those who feel strongly against Thicke should protest. It is will within their rights as RIT students. By completely stifling the artist, I think we do more harm than good. We'd essentially be telling RIT that they have the ability to regulate speech on campus, even if in this case it's for an entirely valid reason.
I just don't want the RIT community to hand over its rights to free speech. It's a slippery slope and setting that precedent can have catastrophic results.