Two University of Missouri (UM) students have been arrested after months of harassing a Jewish student with anti-Semitic comments and notes, but law experts are cautious about the matter because it can have major implications on free speech for all – including Christians.
Eighteen-year-old Erich Eastman and 19-year-old Noah Rogers were each released on a $1,500 bond while a prosecutor examines possible charges.
A leader from a pro-Israel organization, AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman Benjamin asserts that the arrests of the students were an extreme – but justified – reaction.
"On first blush, it seems like a very strong – even perhaps an overreaction – on the part of the administration,” Benjamin ponted out. “But in the context of what's happening and what we need to do to stop it, I think this is just right."
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) President Brad Dacus argues that university officials must be cautious not to slide down a slippery slope of curtailing free speech.
"Universities are supposed to be the open marketplace of ideas, where ideas are supposed to be able to be shared freely,” the seasoned attorney and head of PJI maintained. “While harassment should not be protected, universities have to be careful to make sure they do not overreact and stomp out that open marketplace of ideas."
UM Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced that both Eastman and Rogers could be expelled from the university.