Moving Wright to Dallas stifles opportunity

In the face of controversy, TCU is shying away.

The university has distanced itself from the Brite Divinity School‘s efforts to bring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to TCU, voting to move the event involving the controversial pastor off campus.

Many of the comments by Barack Obama’s Chicago pastor are certainly offensive, but should be tolerated for an optional event on a college campus. TCU and Brite have both made it clear already they don’t endorse his comments anyway.

But the university has deprived students of this opportunity to hear Wright, citing safety concerns but offering little information for their concern.

A university should encourage discussion of the important issues he raises, not shy away from them, and students should have the opportunity to hear Wright’s views. Also, Wright’s association with Obama is rapidly becoming an issue in the presidential election.

Now students will have to drive 41 miles to Paul Quinn College where he’s scheduled to speak Saturday. That’s because the small liberal arts college in south Dallas was willing to stick its neck out when TCU wasn’t.

TCU has been reluctant to release any information about the “security issues” cited in moving the event. Students deserve to know what those concerns are if they’re being deprived of the opportunity to see a national figure on campus.

In the face of controversy, the university should encourage discussion, not shy away from it. The chancellor said last week that “TCU supports the right of free speech even when the opinions expressed are controversial,” but the recent decision doesn’t seem to show that.