For the publisher:
Joey Wolongevicz’s November 5 column âI am told I am going to burn in hell on the Salem campus every weekâ by Joey Wolongevicz was disturbing. The response from the university administration was even more disturbing than the crazy antics and hateful rhetoric of “unwanted visitors.”
The administration claims to teach students to respect First Amendment free speech rights. The interesting thing about rights is that everyone has them. When one person’s right to free speech interferes with another’s right not to be harassed, then it is time to resort to common sense and the law.
Massachusetts state law prohibits disturbing the peace – an offense punishable under MGL Ch. 272, s. 53 (b). State law supersedes municipal law (or the lack of it), so local police are obligated to apply state law. have they not been called? State law also prohibits trespassing (MGL 266/120). Aren’t unwanted guests entering?
The administration of the Salem campus seems to be teaching the wrong lesson. Instead of teaching students how to tolerate abuse, they should be teaching them to be free from it. Instead of protecting bullies, they should teach students how to stand up to them. Instead of pampering the culprits, they should teach students how to apply the law and send them to pack their bags. How about a lesson on how to apply for a restraining order?
What Mr. Wolongevicz’s column describes is a situation that is not good for anyone, even the abusers. Allowing abusers to continue abusing is not good for them either. He’s sending the wrong message.
At the very least, the Salem campus administration should stop trying to teach students to be willing victims. Instead, assert their inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as practical and legal steps to eliminate loud, aggressive and abusive bullies.
Teaching anyone to be abused is in itself a form of abuse. The campus needs a course correction.