Affirming Our Values

February 22, 2017
Two students having a conversation in a living room of a dorm.

Dear Wellesley community,
At Wellesley, we are deeply committed to free speech as a core value of a liberal arts education. Rather than avoid or ignore conversations that challenge our firmly held beliefs and opinions, we must seek out and take part in difficult topics of all kinds. It is through engaging in meaningful conversation and debate, including—perhaps especially—exchanging with those whose views differ from our own, that we discover more about the world and we learn to think critically.
Recently, posters announcing events hosted by the Newhouse Center and the Freedom Project were defaced or torn down across campus. At this time, we do not know who is responsible for these incidents. For our students, such actions would be viewed as a violation of the Honor Code. For other members of the community, the acts are equally as serious in nature.
At Wellesley, we believe in the critically important role of free speech and in the open, respectful exchange of ideas. In this way, we not only build relationships with each other and strengthen our community, but we may expand—or simply affirm—our ideas about the world and about ourselves.
In today’s world, it is more important than ever to uphold our values and be civil in all our interactions.

Paula A. Johnson