I am distressed by the news reported in Wednesday's Chronicle that a Duke student and her family in China have been subjected to attacks as a result of the student's participation at a rally last week at Duke. Physical intimidation is the antithesis of reason, and there can be no justification for such attacks.
The deepest principle involved in the discussions at Duke about the current conflict between China and Tibet is not the principle of free speech, as important as that is. It's the principle of education through dialogue. Universities, in particular, must give wide latitude to free speech and free debate because the pursuit of truth through the encounter of divergent points of view is the very stuff of education.
This community must stand united in its affirmation of the principles of open and unfettered debate. I am pleased that the leaders of the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association and others at Duke have strongly condemned the attacks against our student.