Davies Addresses TWP Controversy: "Murray State is a Marketplace of Ideas"
Murray State University President Bob Davies is addressing public concern over the presence of a controversial political group on campus last week.
Aug 31st, members of the so-called Traditionalist Workers Party paid for and registered a table in the Curris Center for recruiting efforts. MSU students say they've also seen TWP propaganda since the start of the school year.
While members of the TWP on campus say they aren't a white supremacist group, the Southern Poverty Law Center labels them as a "white nationalist hate group" with a rhetorical link to alt-right, white supremacy organizations. TWP also made headlines earlier this summer when a dispute with anti-facist protestors turned violent outside the California state capitol, resulting in several people being stabbed.
News of the group's presence on campus went viral Friday; Dr. Davies sent a letter to MSU faculty, staff and students Tuesday morning. You can read the letter in full below:
In the letter, Davies says that while he "vehemently and fervently disagree[s] with the platform and ideas presented by the TWP," the university is a "Marketplace of Ideas" where community members should debate differing opinions and be able to "debate civilly and with respect."
Davies also says that the safety of the community is paramount and that while "organizations or speakers clearly have free speech rights, should they advocate and/or begin to incite violence, they will be removed."
Davies says he hopes that this issue raises a community discussion over whether there are limits to First Amendment rights to free speech, academic and personal freedom and whether the current political environment reflects the values of America.
While the TWP was on campus, no reports were made to the Office of Public Safety.