There is a saying among Smith College conservatives: The squeaky wheel gets the oil. The gist of this saying is, of course, that the loudest causes get the most attention. This year has been full of squeaky wheels. It is difficult to remember a time when the Smith campus was not consumed by controversy.
Still simmering from June’s Commencement Day catastrophe, Smithies returned to campus only to be greeted by scandal once again. Debates surrounding freedom of speech on campus have brought controversy from the Wilson House parlor to the Morris kitchenette. This issue is divisive, though from the outside, it may not appear that way.
The issue that concerns Smith conservatives most is that students feel too intimidated to speak their minds. At a recent panel hosted by the working group on campus discourse, government professor Marc Lendler said that “ideas should be in no way linked to identity,” and we wholeheartedly agree. For too long, students have been afraid to articulate their opinions due to fear of ridicule or alienation. We urge Smithies to speak loudly and often. One of Smith’s greatest strengths is its incredible capacity for tolerance. However, many Smith students feel that tolerance ends with a dissenting view. Smith women are loud. Let us not be so loud that we drown out the opinions of others. Instead, let us thrive with the understanding that freedom of speech is not a right of convenience.
-Theresa Meyer ’17 and Catherine Lenz ’15, Smith College Republicans