Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Universitas Magistrorum et Scholarium

After seven years at the University of Miami, I am departing on bitter note. I recently read that a number of UM students have been reprimanded and punished for expressing their political views on campus. Looking back it is hard to summarize a decade of relationships and experiences that have punctuated my undergraduate and medical education. Yet the enduring principle was the universal held belief in “academic freedom” which is the bedrock of the university system. As scholars, we partake in a tradition that fiercely protects the freedom of organization, speech, and assembly within academic institutions. As an undergraduate student I was free to join political associations, free to express my views, and free to gather with other students when my concerns were not heeded. Indeed, as president of Amnesty International, as host to WVUM’s Counterpoint, and as a student leader, this freedom from undue retribution allowed me to seize unfettered the educational, social, cultural and political opportunities around me. I was dismayed when I read that two UM students who partook in this process of learning and discovery have been charged with “vandalism” for announcing an upcoming event in sidewalk chalk. Students for a New Democracy (S.T.A.N.D) has been on a two-year campaign to pressure the university to fulfill promises made around a publicly funded Biotechnology project in the low-income neighborhood of Overtown.  Regardless of a reader’s political persuasion, the charges leveled against students constitute an egregious violation of the spirit of academic and intellectual freedom. One student was unable to register for fall classes after incurring an “academic hold” on his registration and the group S.T.A.N.D faces disbandment from the University. A third student from FIU was threatened with arrest for participating in protests. These students have committed no more of a crime than a 10-year-old who chalks boxes on the sidewalk to play hopscotch. Unfortunately, a small group of administrators has compromised the century-old values of academia to quiet dissent and stymie opposition. These are not the values of my alma mater and these actions only serve to undermine the great institution from which I am graduating.
Trishul Siddharthan is a graduating medical student and will be pursuing a residency in Internal Medicine at Yale University. He graduated cum laude with a degree in Neurobiology (08’) and is the 2007 recipient of the Vice-Presidents Award for Service.

April 17, 2011

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of UM notes on a Monday: ▪ There has been no more popular or successful quarterback at UM ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and stopping opponents on third d ...

The No. 21 University of Miami and FIU have met twice in football. But, oh, what a history they have ...

When University of Miami star safety Jaquan Johnson, thought by many to be the best player on the te ...

University of Miami backup tailback DeeJay Dallas, who had his first career 100-yard rushing game Sa ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Listeners to UM President Julio Frenk’s State of the U reacted positively to the message and the Uni ...

At UM’s inaugural State of the U address, President Julio Frenk detailed the strategies of the Roadm ...

Tropical storm scientists and climate experts at the University of Miami provided insight, observati ...

Joseph Ganitsky, a professor in the Miami Business School, examines the financial crisis facing Arge ...

Miami remained ranked in both major polls Sunday, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top ...

The Miami Hurricanes came to Toledo, Ohio for the biggest home game in the history of Toledo footbal ...

A quartet of University of Miami men's tennis student-athletes concluded the final day of compe ...

The University of Miami women's golf team concluded Sunday with a sixth-place finish at the 35t ...

The University of Miami golf team is in sixth after the first two rounds of play at the 35th annual ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.