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"Offensive" symbols in the HPER building

By Scott Tibbs, November 22, 2013

Political correctness is a silly philosophy, especially when it places feelings above reason, logic, facts and history. This is common on university campuses, which is precisely where it should never happen. Such is the case with the most recent complaint about swastikas in the Wildermuth Intramural Center, formerly known as the HPER building.

Ironically, the IDS columnist calling for the removal of the symbols refutes the primary point in the editorial: The Wildermuth pre-dates Nazi Germany and the swastika (which is visually different from the Nazi symbol) was a positive symbol in the Hindu religion. While the sight of the swastika might be a bit jarring, it is inoffensive (or at least should be) once one learns the history of the symbol and why it is there.

That is, after all, the purpose of a university - to educate people about history and culture. A university should not be covering up history because people find it offensive. Instead, a university should be seeking to expand knowledge wherever possible. Students are here in Bloomington for the sole purpose of expanding their knowledge through the classes they take here, so they should be the first to defend the swastikas.

It has been said that the answer to hate speech is more speech, not censorship. That is the case in spades here, because the symbols in Wildermuth are not symbols of hate. The answer to people misunderstanding shat the symbols means is not to hide it, but to educate them about it. The university should never cover up history to protect the fragile feelings of immature "students" who are actively opposing education.