Not-so-free speech

Not-so-free speech

I applaud the commentary, “Campuses no longer bastions of free speech” (Wednesday), for cutting across political party lines and spotlighting a truism that is starting to pervade our college campuses — the lack of free speech for all. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities do not appear to be the bastions of unfettered ideas that they once were. When mob-rule mentality — shouting down speakers — is substituted for an interchange of different points of view, everybody loses.

The saying, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” seems to be getting kicked to the wayside for trendy protests and shout-downs fueled by social media. It is sad to see the slow death of academic debate because of political correctness.

— Jeff Davis, Media,

Standing up for democracy

Not only has the harsh climate and divisive discourse created by President Trump and his followers made regular people respond quickly to horrible incidents of hate, such as the overturning of gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, but it has also made people get more involved in their government (“Thanks to the president for awakening goodness,” Tuesday).

On Monday night, I attended a town hall meeting for my representative in Congress, Donald Norcross, and N.J. State Rep. Pamela Lampitt, hosted by the mayor of Maple Shade. The high school auditorium was at least three-quarters full, and there were more questions than there was time. These citizens asked good, thoughtful questions about health care, infrastructure, the possibility of war, jobs and wages, and other pressing issues.

While people are frustrated, they are also attending meetings, participating in marches, and contacting their representatives. In other words, they’re doing the work we need to do to maintain our democracy.

— Julie Vick, Haddonfield,

Leave race out of teacher hires

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.’s praise of the Relay Graduate School of Education hit a sour note (“SRC partners with Relay school,” Monday). His claim that Relay will attract more teachers who look like their minority students is blatantly racist.

Turn the statement around. If a white school superintendent said those words, we would hear outrage. Teachers, as well as everyone else, should be judged solely on his or her ability and commitment to do the task at hand, not his or her race.

During 35 years while I taught at Murrell Dobbins Vocational High School in North Philadelphia, I met and taught beside far too many excellent, dedicated, and compassionate white teachers to idly sit by and seek refuge in silence.

The country is already under assault by a president who only wants people in this country who look like us; we don’t need more of this stupidity.

— Elwood M. Corbin, Marlton

Amphitheater a terrible idea

The harebrained idea to build an amphitheater at the Eakins Oval is not practical for the neighbors who live around the Art Museum (“Eakins Oval amphitheater is the answer for events,” Wednesday). They do not need or want more interruptions in their daily routine. That street is heavily used and would drown out any music and choke out any concertgoers with exhaust fumes. Then you have the problem of parking for 3,000 to 4,000 spectators. Give the neighbors a break.

— Frank Gaydos, Philadelphia,

Victim deserved expert care

I saw the video of the Philadelphia Police officers who hit a woman with their car, picked her up by the hands and feet, and loaded her like a sack of potatoes into the backseat (“Police seek ID of woman critically hurt by cruiser,” Thursday). That’s exactly what not to do. That handling could have caused further damage, such as a broken spine, cracked ribs, internal bleeding, or a collapsed lung. They should have waited for an ambulance.

— Philip Lustig, Downingtown

Thank and join volunteers

Every day, hundreds of appreciative citizens thank our veterans for their military service by volunteering their time and talents at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Our volunteers come from varied backgrounds, but they have one thing in common — the passion to use their unique skills toward improving veterans’ lives.

Last year, more than 700 volunteers provided 55,100 hours of service at the center and donated more than $102,000. Their service ranges from driving veterans to appointments and assisting with activities holding a veteran’s hand at his or her bedside.

As director of the center, I am humbled and inspired by the generosity of our community.

National Volunteer Week is Sunday through next Saturday. It is a time to recognize and thank volunteers and to call everyone else to serve those who served us first.

Carla Sivek, Coatesville