EDITORIAL: Controversial speakers good for USF

Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, will be speaking at USF on Tuesday, Jan. 17 as part of the University Lecture Series (ULS) where she will discuss race-relations in America and how her activism speared a national movement. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has evoked strong emotions on both sides of the issue and some at USF may be less than enthused at Garza’s presence on campus. After all, USF has had multiple speakers in the past that led to protests and boycotts from students, including Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right tech editor of Breitbart News and Laci Green, a YouTuber who focuses on rape-culture. 

What some students fail to realize is that college is notorious for exposing those enrolled to viewpoints different from their own. No one is forcing you to go listen to a highly acclaimed, significantly published, social activist who has created a movement that has invoked a dissection of the systemic racism throughout our nation. 

Just because her opinion differs from yours, does not mean it is wrong. Nor does it mean it is right. You’ll never know unless you adopt an open mind and hear what she has to say. 

The event is free and offers students an insight on an issue that is inarguably taking our nation by storm. So go. Or don’t. But don’t start boycotting and attempting to get the university to infringe upon free speech to coddle your chiseled-in-stone ideas. 

USF, and any university for that matter, flourishes when it is an ocean of converging thoughts and ideas. Students have to be able to defend their stances when faced with an opposing one. Through that defense and rebuttal, your stance is strengthened, or you learn you may be wrong, in which case you adopt a new view of an issue. 

Either way, the students flourish. When the intellectual atmosphere of a university is constantly growing and changing, the degree the students leave with will be so much more enriching than what they learn in the classroom. 

USF should not shy away from inviting speakers simply because they may cover controversial content. It’s beneficial to the students and despite the discomfort it may cause, it is beneficial to the university as a whole.