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Condemn Dinesh D'Souza

This petition had 238 supporters

Dear President Leonard,

On April 7th, Dinesh D’Souza will be speaking on campus as part of the Acker Lecture series. In advance of this lecture, we, the undersigned students, faculty members, and alumni, condemn Dinesh D’Souza.

Due to Mr. D’Souza’s extensive history of controversial statements and instances of insensitivity, we believe that he will only debase the vital dialogue within our community that is necessary for learning. Mr. D’Souza’s use of hateful rhetoric will also demean and degrade vital shareholders within our community.

 Mr. D’Souza’s past transgressions include publicly shaming closeted members of the LGBTQ community as a student at Dartmouth College in The Dartmouth Review, claiming that “cultural liberals” were responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and identifying “black rage” as a pressing problem in America. These are just a few examples of the most extreme and polarizing statements made by Mr. D’Souza in a career tinged with hatred.

While Mr. D’Souza’s freedom of speech is constitutionally protected, the campus community also has the right, and in our view the obligation, to object to and condemn the hateful rhetoric that Mr. D’Souza routinely engages in.

 Furthermore, we are gravely concerned about Mr. D’Souza’s criminal record. In 2014, Mr. D’Souza pleaded guilty for violating campaign finance law and for making false statements during the criminal investigation. We believe that such a record of criminality reflects poorly upon Mr. D’Souza’s integrity and ethics, in stark contrast to the students of Birmingham-Southern College, who have made a lifelong oath to abide by the highest standards of ethical conduct. 

 We understand and value the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas within our campus community. We support a robust and vigorous debate about issues of concern to our community. We welcome conscientious speakers who come bearing good will toward our community to engage in this exchange of ideas, even if their perspective is different from our own, as a vital aspect of a liberal arts education.

Finally, we, the undersigned student organizations and faculty members, question the process by which Mr. D’Souza was selected to speak on our campus and demand greater student and faculty inclusion in the process of selecting speakers in the future. We hope that greater emphasis will be placed upon ideological fairness and the format of open forum debate when guest speakers are selected in the future.

 We are committed to engaging in constructive and meaningful dialogue with the administration about this matter. We are open to negotiating with the administration regarding all facets of the event including restructuring the Acker Lecture to allow students more time to ask questions.

We bring these objections and concerns to the administration with a sincere desire to positively impact our community. We hope that you will take our objections and concerns into consideration.

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