Last week, about 40 protesters occupied Dutton Hall in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
We fully support the students’ right to protest. However, four students who expressed dissenting views were forced to leave the building — one student was physically confronted while the others were screamed at and cussed out.
When our photographer followed those students outside for comments and contact information, protesters turned on him. Suddenly, The Aggie was the enemy, “against” their cause with no right to be present. Multiple protesters demanded to see our photos of the physical confrontation and told us to delete them. We refused, just as journalists are always supposed to refuse to show work before it’s published in order to remain unbiased.
They said we had to leave unless we were on their side — that there was no such thing as being objective journalists, that we were with them or against them. Rather than fight censorship, they wanted to perpetuate it.
We don’t think these actions accurately represent the mass of students who were present, and it’s a shame that a select few are tarnishing the movement’s image on campus. We witnessed many students who came to Dutton just to observe or learn who ended up leaving, disgusted, as soon as the bullying began.
Free speech is crucial. Ideally, our campus would be rife with protests, counter-protests and open dialogue regularly. But if students are scared to speak — scared of other students who resort to intimidation tactics — we have a serious problem.