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`Quit Yer Bellyachin'': Kinko's Copies Did Not Violate AALARM's Right to Free Speech


To the Editors of The Crimson:

When members of Defeat Homophobia and other concerned students "counter-protested" the demonstration of the Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) against Kinko's Copies yesterday, we had two main objectives: to show support for the Kinko's employees who refused to aid and abet AALARM in copying its anti-abortion posters because of his ethical beliefs; and to inform passersby of AALARM's anti-gay and anti-women's rights stance, which AALARM's protesters neglected to do.

We do not support institutionalized discrimination against anyone, regardless of what her or his political stance may be. Yet we believe that we must support this worker's choice not to be personally involved in the production of material which he considers morally wrong.

Considering that it is not Kinko's company policy to refuse service to conservatives, that AALARM's originals were not destroyed, and that the members of AALARM were allowed to use the self-service copiers, both the employee and the company are not guilty of infringing upon AALARM's right to free speech.

The employee simply refused to aid AALARM in its pursuit of free speech. This is not tantamount to censorship, as AALARM has charged. Individuals, as an issue of conscience, must not oppose the right of others to freedom of speech, but they need not participate in that speech.

As long as Kinko's maintains a company policy that does not discriminate against any group, we do not see any reason for any sort of boycott or protest. We also encourage Kinko's to continue in its support of its employees' decisions of conscience. Few of us have the guts to put our job on the line for our beliefs; this kind of moral conviction should be applauded, not condemned.

We were also protesting AALARM's hypocrisy in that the group was protesting what it perceived as Kinko's discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual people. We recognize that as a group of mostly white males who identify themselves as straight, AALARM does not have much experience in recognizing institutionalized discrimination. Take it from a group of people who are old hands at being discriminated against--this wasn't it. Thomas B. Watson '91   Chair of an ad hoc committee of Defeat Homophobia

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