Saturday, March 22, 2014
In support of Lawrence Torcello
Dear President Destler:
I am writing to thank you for supporting the free speech rights of Lawrence Torcello in the face of an organized smear campaign against him, and to urge you to issue an even stronger statement in support of your faculty member.
In particular, I urge you to issue a statement affirming that Professor Torcello's essay is being completely misrepresented by his attackers. He did not in any way call for the imprisonment of individuals who deny the existence of global climate change. His criticism was leveled against those who organize and fund media campaigns promoting ideas about the climate that are harmful and false. Harmful and false statements are already a regulated category of speech, as when the law prevents people from advertising dangerous quack medicine or bans hate speech. Professor Torchello's proposal is thus well within the bounds of normal, reasonable political discourse.
Universities are contractually obligated to protect the academic freedom, including the free speech rights, of their professors. Please honor this obligation to its fullest by publicly showing your complete support of Lawrence Torcello.
J. Robert Loftis
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Lorain County Community College