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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

BC: balanced speech or no speech

NEWTON

Boston College is giving its administrators the right to reject student-recruited speakers if their views or opinions conflict with the school's Catholic and Jesuit identity and another speaker to offer the Catholic viewpoint cannot be found.

The policy change in the student guidebook underscores the challenge facing BC as it seeks to maintain a Catholic identity even as it attracts a more diverse student body from across the nation, staff writer Sarah Schweitzer reports in today's City & Region section. The move has angered some faculty and students who say the policy threatens free speech on campus.

The change was made months after the school sought to cancel a panel discussion on abortion that it said failed to include the anti-abortion viewpoint. It will permit the dean of students, in consultation with other administrators, to review student-sponsored speaker presentations.

If the presentation includes a speaker who holds views contrary to Catholic teaching, administrators can require the inclusion of a speaker with an opposing viewpoint. If that is not possible, administrators may cancel an event.

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