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Competing Identities

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009

Ethics Center student workers and fellows have generated a new series of cases that highlight some of the ethical issues college students face in their everyday lives.  This one, written up by junior Rebecca Fox-Bivona, deals with identity, free speech, and living with other viewpoints:

Mary lives in a college dorm and displays a “Yes on Prop 8” poster on her door, showing her support for the California proposition banning gay marriage, which passed in the November 2008 election. James, her neighbor on the floor, finds this poster offensive and demands that Mary take it down. Mary feels that the poster is an expression of her beliefs and identity, and that she shouldn’t have to remove it. Her neighbor feels it is offensive to his identity. Should Mary take the poster down? Should the University require her to take it down? Why?