Wesleyan Deserves Better Than Scalia
The following Wespeak was collectively authored by a number of involved students, including the following: Virgil Taylor ’15, Ross Levin ’15, Nico Vitti ’12, Paul Blasenheim ’12, Zak Kirwood ’12, Cheryl Walker ’12, Meggie McGuire ’12, Mariama Eversley ’14, Isabelle Gauthier ’14, Josh Krugman ’14, Joseph Cribb ’13, Hannah Rubin ’13, Cesar Chavez ’15, Dan Fischer ’12, and Mica Taliaferro ’12. Though it may be written from a first-person perspective, it should be taken as a collective statement of these signers and the larger collective organizing dissent for Scalia’s arrival.
It is ridiculous for Wesleyan to bring Antonin Scalia to speak at a lecture devoted to freedom of speech. He doesn’t believe that prisoners captured as part of the “War on Terror” have the right to legal representation. He supports physical torture as an interrogation tactic. He is openly committed to diminishing reproductive health rights. I can only wonder whose freedom of expression he is interested in protecting through his work with the Supreme Court. Those who can become unintentionally pregnant, those who are disempowered by colonialist political and military actions, and those who find themselves in conflict with law enforcement officers are not being served. Yet as citizens they have all entrusted the interpretation of their country’s laws to the Supreme Court. Scalia has directly implicated himself in this history. We live in a world of extreme disparities, along lines of race, class, sexuality, ability, and gender that constantly blend into and intersect each other. As a country we deserve to have these structures recognized and contested.
This university deserves a speaker who can open up discourse about bettering the United States and the world, about confronting the status quo with optimism and ingenuity. I assume contracts have already been signed, so I can only hope for better next year. Though I am about to graduate, I urge members of the classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and beyond: remember the power of your voices. Though this lecture is paid for by an alumnus, it is taking place on your campus. You deserve speakers who will inspire and challenge you. To those who have tickets: give him hell. President Roth says he hopes this will be an educational opportunity, so it’s up to you to give Scalia the opportunity to learn something about Wesleyan, and about freedom of expression.