To the editor: At last, a voice of levity from UC Berkeley's Chancellor, Carol T. Christ. ("UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ: 'Free speech has itself become controversial,'" Sept. 14)
We have witnessed continued travesty against "free speech" in our public forums, our taxpayer-funded universities and on the streets of our cities. The thought that one side is correct and therefore the other must be silenced is astounding in our democratic society. Isn't it a dangerous concept to try to eliminate something that you don't agree with (however violent the means) in order to control the masses with your own way of thinking?
As a journalist, I was taught that it is the individual right of a citizen to "discern" the truth. The only way that can happen is to present opposing ideas and have a debate over them. That is how the intellect functions, not by knocking someone over the head while peering through a cowardly black mask.
Congratulations to Christ for defending free speech. She is eloquent, and considering the institution, I am left pleasantly speechless.
Catherine Stanley Krumplitsch, Palm Desert
To the editor: I read multiple newspapers and magazines, and until I read The Times' articles on the controversy over conservative speakers at UC Berkeley, I had no real idea who right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was. ("UC Berkeley faculty call for campus boycott of Milo Yiannopoulos during 'Free Speech Week,'" Sept. 14)
So, congratulations to Yiannopoulos; he has apparently achieved his goal. He accepts a speaking engagement at UC Berkeley, and suddenly he's in The Times.
I have a suggestion for the protesting faculty at Berkeley: Ignore him. What would the auditorium look like if nobody showed up for his speech? What would the campus look like if the student body and the faculty simply ignored his appearance?
Instead of protesting him, give him all the attention he deserves and spend the day with your students. Doing anything else gives him exactly what he wants.
Thomas Sexton, Huntington Beach
To the editor: I am a graduate of UCLA with a center left ideology, and I appreciate the educational excellence of the University of California system. However, I refuse to contribute one nickel to my alumni association as long as there are UC faculty and administrators who seek to "protect" students.
May I humbly remind these cloud dwellers that throughout history men and women of those students' age group have sacrificed their bodies — even their lives — for the right of Americans to hear all opinions. So worrying about an adult student's "mental safety" and the "anxiety of particularly vulnerable populations" is ridiculous.
The calls by those 200 UC Berkeley faculty to shut down classes and activities in response to possible violence by left-wing thugs against a conservative's political speech makes me wish I could boycott sending my tax money to the UC system.
Ron Landesman, Los Angeles