President Lee Pelton talked to WGBH’s Kirk Carapezza yesterday about balancing free speech with values of diversity and inclusion, and how Emerson is preparing for Saturday’s “free speech rally” on Boston Common, which is scheduled to include speakers who associate with white nationalism.
Emerson is no stranger to white nationalist groups; in December, American Vanguard, a group involved with last weekend’s bloody protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, put up recruitment flyers on campus. And in March, faculty and students received emails referring to “white genocide.”
“[White supremacist groups] see an essential conflict between our expressed diversity values and our expressed freedom of speech values, and they see this as a weakness in colleges and universities that can be exploited,” Pelton said.
Emerson is working closely with Boston Police to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff on Saturday, Pelton said.