I am a freshman at USM and I understand that the school regards itself as a safe space for minorities and people who face challenges. USM’s reputation for being a school that promotes equality and encourages the pursuit of knowledge and that cares about all of its students has been called into question due to the announcement that Rep. Lawrence Lockman will be speaking at USM.
A school hosting a speaker may seem innocuous but it does represent a political stance on the part of the USM administration. Rep. Lockman has an established history of offensive, narrow-minded hate-filled speech. While USM’s administration may not have directly invited him, the University is giving him a stage to spread his toxic beliefs. I received an email about the “angst and anger” people have expressed about this person coming to our campus, but it doesn’t excuse the actions of the USM.
This is not freedom of expression; this is allowing a bigot into a campus that is supposed to be safe for all, including women and minorities that have been the direct targets of Rep. Lockman’s vitriolic speech. Giving hate a stage is not an acceptable action for an otherwise “accepting” institution. I am glad that student protest is planned and I hope that the President of USM realizes the message that he is sending the USM community by allowing Rep. Lockman to speak on campus.