Students do not need to be sheltered from reality
Letter to the Editor
Earlier this week, students found mock eviction notices under their doors stating their dorm rooms were scheduled for demolition. This was part of a campaign by Students for Justice in Palestine to spread awareness about Palestinian affairs. Naturally, the move was met with opposition. Critics were quite passionate about their disapproval, using harsh language such as “hate speech” and “propaganda” to describe the mock notices. However, these criticisms were never substantiated. One is left to wonder what is so hateful about SJP’s fliers.
One note that can be made about the fliers is that they are very simple. The beginning is an attention-grabber, which tells the reader that he or she is being evicted. Next, there is a clarification that the notice is only a parody of actual events going on in Palestine. Finally, the flier concludes by inviting the reader to SJP. That’s about it. So where does the hate come in exactly? And why such a harsh backlash?
Well, the Israel/Palestine conflict is a subject of furious polarizing debate. The critics of the fliers only seem to be speaking out against them because they are on the opposite side of this debate from SJP. Aside from this bias, there does not appear to be any reason to condemn the mock notices. The information provided on them is accurate and uncontested. It only takes a five-minute Google search to confirm that home demolition does in fact go on in Palestine. So why are facts offensive? Regardless of where you stand on the Israel/Palestine conflict, facts are facts. To describe the truth as “hate speech” is simply dishonest.
Another complaint was that the fliers make students feel uncomfortable, and students should be protected from this kind of speech. I consider this argument to be a patronizing insult to the maturity and integrity of college students. We don’t go to college so we can sit in a bubble where our views can never be challenged. We are here to be exposed to new ideas and new perspectives. In the real world, there is a tremendous diversity of opinions and beliefs out there, and not everyone is going to agree. Gaining a greater exposure to this world of new ideas is not only an integral part of education — it is part of becoming an adult. If we allow ourselves to become so oversensitive that certain facts must be hidden from us, then we will have compromised our education and our integrity.
Right now, there is all this controversy going on just because someone decided to inform students about a reality that goes on in the world. Yes, Israel does demolish Palestinian homes. That is indisputable. What critics of SJP’s campaign need to do is to clearly explain why Rutgers students ought to be sheltered from this fact.
John Lisowski is a School of Arts and Sciences fifth-year senior majoring in chemistry.