Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Give the floor to both viewpoints

April 11, 2013

The Judiciary Committee of the Student Government Association (SGA) decided Wednesday to grant official group status to the pro-life organization Voice for Life (VFL). The Committee’s ruling overturns a March decision by the SGA Senate, which denied VFL’s application for approval as a student group. As an official advocacy and awareness group, VFL now enjoys all Student Activity Commission (SAC) privileges. The group can freely use the Hopkins logo and name, has the opportunity to rent official Hopkins vans and can apply to receive monthly SAC grants and other funds from the University.

In the last editorial on this issue, the editorial board argued that this case was not about free speech. VFL has always had the right to freely voice its opinions on campus and in the Baltimore community, yet this right does not obligate funding from the University.

The board supports one’s right to free speech and expression. We believe in a free marketplace of ideas, in which opposing viewpoints are equally heard and represented.

The marketplace of ideas, however, is grounded in the expectation that no single voice will drown out the voices of others.

Prior to the approval of VFL as an official group, the marketplace of ideas was equal. Neither an official pro-choice group nor an official pro-life group existed on campus. Now that VFL has official recognition, it is up to students that disagree with its aims to manifest their opinions productively.

VFL’s zeal for its cause is to be commended. To continue this activism that further fosters dialogue between differing viewpoints on a contentious single-issue, and to reestablish balance in the marketplace of ideas, the editorial board encourages students passionate about their opposition to organize as VFL has done.

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