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Free speech for all?

To the editor:

The New Ulm Human Rights Commission (HRC) claims that it exists to protect the human rights of all New Ulm citizens. One of the rights that the HRC claims to protect is free speech. Which raises a question: Is the HRC interested in free speech for all New Ulm citizens, or only for certain protected classes?

We ask the question because on Sept. 23 there was a very public incident in which one of the other boards of New Ulm openly suppressed the free speech of at least 50 citizens of New Ulm. On that date, at its monthly public meeting, the ISD 88 School Board denied to citizens in attendance the opportunity to address the board on issues of public concern. The board did this in spite of its own prior announcement that public comment on non-agenda items would be received at its meeting. The incident was reported in The Journal.

What has been the HRC’s response to the school board’s violation of human rights? Did the HRC take up the incident at its meeting on September 27? No. Did the HRC formulate a letter of reprimand to the members of the ISD 88 School Board and have that letter printed in The Journal? No. Did the HRC send an order to the printer for hundreds of lawn signs saying, “Free Speech for All”? No.

No? Why not?

Could it be because the HRC is not the nonpartisan commission that it pretends to be? Could it be that the HRC is only interested in advancing a radical leftist Social Justice agenda that reacts strongly to any slight against “protected classes” but cares not a whit about the constitutional rights of the rest of us?

New Ulm needs to rethink the HRC. The community is not united by a “nonpartisan” commission that functions in a manner that is so obviously partisan. Perhaps we could do without the HRC. Perhaps any truly nonpartisan functions of the HRC could be handled through other city or state offices.

Michael Thom

New Ulm

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