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Free Speech Does Not Guarantee Employment

In response to Ali S. Wyne’s Nov. 2, 2007 letter to the editor, “On Intellectual Imprisonment”:

James Watson retired, an (ostensibly) voluntary move. If he had had more conviction he could have stuck with his guns and gone down for his beliefs. Challenging the “privilege of powerful interests” generally requires (at the very least) some persistence and toughness.

Aside from that, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private institution (see http://www.cshl.edu/). It cannot restrict people’s speech (in most cases), but it CAN decide who it will or won’t employ.

James Watson is entitled to his freedom of speech, but the rest of us have the freedom to choose not to engage in private business with him (except where federal, state, or local laws dictate otherwise), since freedom of speech does not include a clause which guarantees employment. Maybe James Watson should apply for a government job.

Joseph E. Cooper ’08