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On campus, art collides with ‘right not to be offended’

By Greg Lukianoff - Special to the American-Statesman

One of the defining characteristics of art is its ability to affect people in staggeringly different ways. Some might find a painting inspirational; others might find it poignant; still others might find it offensive.

As the Supreme Court explained in 1971 in Cohen vs. California, “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” This is particularly true when an artist attempts to push boundaries. A society dedicated to freedom of expression ought to welcome such work and the potential for thoughtful provocation that it offers.

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