Angela Davis, March 30, UMass Fine Arts Center
As both the town's token conservative and proud UMass/Amherst graduate I'm comfortable saying I support my alma mater bringing in Angela Davis as a speaker to finish off Black History Month with a bang (although a month late).
Even as a fiscal conservative, I do not have a problem with her $16,000 appearance fee. After all Angela Davis is a historically significant figure, albeit a niche time period: The counter culture, anti-war, when-hippies-were-in-full-bloom chapter in American history.
The best advice for aspiring writers is to "write what you know," so what better way to learn about that interesting time period than to hear it first hand from a noted participant?
I suppose if she had been convicted for the murder of four individuals I might think differently. Although, our justice system is built on the premise that if you do your time -- aka "pay your debt to society" -- then you have earned a fresh start.
Even if you did make the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.
A University is supposed to be an open market for the free exchange of ideas -- even those we find repugnant. Popular speech doesn't need protection.
It's the voices from the margin that require the First Amendment to prevent their soap box from being pulled out from under them.
Although at UMass, it seems the more conservative speakers are the ones who get bullied and shouted down.