Where Ideas are Contested

Bovard Administration Building

Great American universities have historically been the places where ideas are contested, debates are encouraged, and free speech is held sacred. Last night, the USC community proved that even in challenging times, we can engage in passionate, thoughtful debate while maintaining respect for each other.

This is exactly what we expected when we learned that a controversial speaker was invited to campus. After all, the free expression of ideas is a fundamental pillar of our institution. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to teach, research, publish, and create. We are committed to protecting our diverse, inclusive, and safe environment, and I know that you are, too. What this means is that we listen to all voices, that we embrace the rights and principles that we hold dear, and that we recommit every day to our Principles of Community.

I know that some members of our community remain disappointed, and worse. We must not let this event divide us or leave people feeling vulnerable or silenced. We must come together to support each other and to continue the day-to-day work of healing. We have resources to support you, if needed, and we must look for more avenues to show our care for each other.

We were challenged this week, and we will be again. But it’s in these moments that we truly show who we are as a Trojan Family. I want to thank all of our students for their thoughtful approach to this event and my sincere thanks, too, to the teams at Student Affairs and the Department of Public Safety for all of their work on behalf of our university.

– Michael W. Quick, October 5, 2018