Letter to the Editor

Censorship must be challenged

Sunday, November 30, 2008

To the editor:

"Sister Mary Ignatius" was first performed on Dec. 14, 1979. Since that performance it has been read and performed in hundreds (if not thousands) of venues from high schools to public theaters and was made into a major motion picture staring Diane Keaton in 2001. This play is a satire.

We do not all agree on all issues, but we all do have the constitutional right to express (or sample) diverse views. When those who have a particular viewpoint or who have administrative or financial power attempt to restrict or restrain the choice of others, we should all be greatly concerned.

Any patron has the right to express any opinion of a play or event using any accepted medium (e.g. letter in a newspaper, direct communication with someone). Those rights are not in question, and, in the case of the satirical play "Sister Mary Ignatius," the expressions of condemnation by individuals were appropriate and may very well not have had the intention of censorship.

The issue of importance is the subsequent response by the administration of Southeast Missouri State University. As discussed in the Faculty Senate and in other public meetings by various administrators, the explicit pressures and apparent intimidation applied by the administration to control the nature of productions organized by the Department of Theatre and Dance constitute censorship. This cannot pass unchallenged.

RICHARD A. SEBBY, Professor, Department of Psychology, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau