posted on: Thursday September 21, 2017
by Sarah Kelley ’18 & Hannah Paxton ’19
Opinion Co-Editor & Asst. Opinion Editor
“The motto…of Providence College is Veritas, truth, and the College’s deepest mission is to teach its students to love and live in the truth,” said President of Providence College, Father Brian Shanley, O.P., in a message about the College’s mission statement. When over 1,000 copies of The Cowl were taken from the stands last Friday, this pursuit of the truth was directly and unrighteously violated.
While the whereabouts of the papers and the reason for their absence are still obscure, we do know that they were missing by Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after they were distributed. The Department of Public Safety has been reviewing tapes, but no definitive suspect has been identified. The confiscation of The Cowl is subject to speculation, as anyone for any reason could have been responsible.
Regardless of who is accountable, to take away The Cowl is to limit the pursuit of truth of our campus and community. The Cowl is one of the largest, if not the largest, platform for PC students and their concerns to be heard. Everything that is published is written with the thought of the College’s mission of Veritas in mind. We strive to honestly inform students, professors, and faculty alike despite whatever differences in perspective there may be.
Freedom of speech is a constitutional right, one that should especially be upheld in a community that fosters the search for Veritas. Aside from divergence in opinion, The Cowl works tirelessly every week to have their voices and the truth be heard on behalf of their fellow students. No matter the motive behind this action, the fundamental right of expression has been disrespected.
Yet even with the significant support we have received from administration, from the Department of Public Safety, and from the faculty, the fact still remains that within the last few days, we have not received sufficient leads to close this case.
We cannot allow the numerous voices that our newspaper represents to be silenced through this violation of free speech. These are the voices of all those affected by the termination of the DACA program, the voices of those enlivened and outraged by our current presidential administration, and the voices of those students and faculty who believe an oversized flame may not be the best way for our college to be spending its money, just to name a few.
This oppressive action cannot deter The Cowl, let alone an institution of higher learning such as Providence College, from our pursuit of Veritas and from protecting our constitutional right to free speech. For these reasons, a greater, more timely, and consolidated response and plan of action is essential if we are to prioritize the values of truth and free speech that we hold as not only a college but also as a country founded on the belief in certain liberties, which of recent, have not been upheld.
The dead ends we encountered over the weekend regarding the investigation of the stolen newspaper is disappointing. This is an issue of campus and national significance that must be swiftly and properly addressed.