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March 26, 2010
Vol. 51 No. 18

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Letters to the Editor

Student Revisits Speaker Controversy

In spring of 2008, the SU Republicans brought Joseph C. Phillips, a radio commentator and columnist, to speak on affirmative action. Phillips argued that minorities such as African-Americans, women and others do not need help in obtaining jobs, better pay, and so on-basically saying that they are, in fact, equal to white males, not below them. Not surprisingly, having a guest lecturer give an opinion that is not frequently favored on a college campus caused some outrage amongst those who disagreed with Phillips.

The SU Republicans asked the Office of Multicultural Affairs (since renamed to be the Center for Diversity and Social Justice) if they would like to co-sponsor the event. They declined and, instead, scrambled to find a different speaker to counter Phillips' argument. They sought out the SU Democrats as their student organization to sponsor with them because they needed a student organization to sponsor a guest speaker.

They had their speaker-a lawyer- give his presentation two hours before Phillips, in the same room. This was a blatant rouse to discredit Phillips under the guise that "having opposing opinions on campus was better," (a statement issued to the then president of the SU Republicans.)

This semester, through a partnership with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, the SU Democrats are bringing in the decorated West Point graduate Lt. Daniel Choi to lecture on the Army's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a policy that was passed by a Democratic president with a Democratic Congress. Choi was discharged from the Army National Guard after outing himself as gay on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."

I think bringing Choi in to speak is wonderful. People should be better informed about current events that affect not only the men and women who have sworn to protect their country, but their friends and family as well. I am angry, however, that two years ago, a speaker was-in a ghastly display of immaturity on the part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs- brought in strictly to bring attention away from a view that they did not agree with. And yet, there is no opposing speaker this year-only Choi.

If their intention was to educate people and make people raise questions, one would think that both views would be heard--at least that was what we were all told two years ago. But that is not the case this semester. Is that really fair--having an administrative office try to draw attention away from a student group while claiming it to be "better to have opposing views?" Then to turn around and go against the very precedent they set by only having one view this year?

I and other members of the SU Republicans will be in attendance at Lt. Daniel Choi's lecture and we will be listening very closely and giving him our respect because, contrary to what some people may think, Republicans are not a bunch of homophobic racist hate mongers. And-- while I can't speak for the members of the SU Democrats or anyone else involved in bringing Choi in to speak--I and many others look forward to hearing a different take on this controversial military policy. I love hearing as many sides of an argument as possible. Apparently not all groups on campus do, though.
--Greg Cwik '12


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