An editorial in the school newspaper at Wesleyan University has caused an uproar.
Some students have started a petition to shut down the paper after the article raised questions about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and whether it is productive.
On Wednesday, staff at the paper, called The Argus, apologized.
The writer asked whether extremists are inciting violence and if the movement can achieve anything positive.
The backlash caused 147 students to sign a petition saying the paper neglects to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color.
"As an African American student I am not too happy about it - but at the same time I understand there is also freedom of speech, but there is a fine line. You have to know the culture of the school,” said Wesleyan junior A.J. Wilson.
The university’s president said in a statement “As members of a university community, we always have the right to respond with our own opinions, but there is no right not to be offended. We certainly have no right to harass people because we don’t like their views." Censorship diminishes true diversity of thinking; vigorous debate enlivens and instructs.”
The school paper said in a statement “we apologize for our carelessness in fact-checking. The op-ed cites inaccurate statistics and twists facts."
The paper also stated “the piece was published without a counter-argument in favor of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement alongside it. We’ve made it our mission to examine these flaws closely and do our best to rectify them.”
Graduate student John Hossain said he supports free speech, but as for ‘Black Lives Matter’ he said there may be problems.
"Any controversial movement can incite violence, but that's not an excuse not to go into a movement and speak your voice on it --- because at that point what does anything change,” Hossain said.
The editorial and petition have prompted Wesleyan to have a town hall style meeting on Sunday.
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