Dear Jonathan Garthwaite:
Thank you for forwarding the letter you recently received from creative writing Professor Wendy Brenner, accusing me of publishing “several factual errors” in a recent editorial that “gravely and explicitly misrepresent” the nature of the conflict between the College Republicans (CRs) and the administration of UNC-Wilmington.
In her letter, Professor Brenner, a member of the Student Organization Committee (SOC) that de-recognized the CRs, first takes issue with the title of my recent editorial-“College Republicans Banned From Campus.” Brenner says that her committee specifically told the CRs that they could still do some things on campus despite being de-recognized. One of her examples was “post flyers on campus.” Another was “even set up a booth at the campus Involvement Carnival.” My goodness, what more could you want! This was despite telling the CRs that they had “lost all (emphasis mine) rights and privileges of a registered student organization” and that their funds had been frozen.
Please note that this communication made no mention of exceptions such as “flyer posting” and “booth setting.” Brenner’s argument reminds me of those made by white racists in the South who argued that blacks should stop complaining about sitting in the back of bus. Those people should just be glad that they get to ride on the bus! Clearly, Brenner thinks that the CRs weren’t denied citizenship. They’re just second-class citizens and that’s not so bad
Brenner also complains about a hypothetical I used in my recent editorial. The hypothetical speculated on the absurd results that could flow from making all portions of the non-discrimination clause binding on all groups with no exceptions. Brenner concluded that this hypothetical contained “factual error” because it ridiculed the idea of making fraternities and sororities admit members of the opposite sex. She notes that the university handbook specifically creates an exception for fraternities and sororities.
I hope that you will take the time to inform the professor of the inherent deficiencies in the argument that a hypothetical was “not factual.” Hypotheticals are, by definition, “not factual.” While you are explaining that to the professor, I’ll write one of her editors to complain that some of her creative writings are “not factual” but “fictional.”