Response to ‘WBC Forum’ article

Technews Writer
Sat Sep 28, 2013

To the Editors of Tech News:

We read with interest your article about the rumors concerning the Westboro Church (WBC) debate event [Editor’s Note:  Issue 2, published on September 10.] The article implies that faculty were silent while students debated the pros and cons of such an event.

This could not be further from the truth. Many faculty members voiced very strong objections to this event and were actively working to cancel it. These efforts may have seemed “silent” because we did so in faculty forums, not online student ones. As faculty members in the Humanities at IIT we see part of our mission as fostering a tolerant and inclusive environment and we stand behind those ideals—often at significant personal and professional expense. We did not initially speak to the press because our hope was to ensure IIT’s name did not unnecessarily become tarnished by association with the WBC in press accounts or in online postings, which—as you know—tend to persist indefinitely.

We are writing to publicly affirm our strong support and sympathy for the many students on campus who have been affected by hate speech and intolerance. To those students we would like

to say: We are glad you are here at IIT and we value and respect your contributions to our shared community. We take a hard line against hate speech and its harmful effects on civil discourse and education. And, we have faith that IIT students and graduates will continue to play a role in shaping a more progressive society, based on the humanistic—as well as technical—training that they receive at our University.



Margaret Power

Professor of History

Humanities Department, IIT

Marie Hicks

Assistant Professor of History

Humanities Department, IIT

Appears in
2013 - Fall - Issue 5