In a recent Washington Times commentary (December 7, 2003), I used language suggesting that the tactics of campus diversity proponents sometimes resemble tactics the Nazis used during World War II. A recent letter to the editor by UNC-Wilmington professor Dick Veit (rhymes with spite) lends credence to the analogy.
The UNCW College Republicans (CRs) have recently been involved in a highly publicized conflict with the university administration. The controversy began when the CRs tried to limit their membership to Republicans. The university wanted to force them to admit Democrats. When the CRs refused to capitulate, they had their official group status revoked and had their funds frozen by the university. Shortly thereafter, Professor (of English) Veit wrote the following to the local New York Times affiliate:
Back to the past?
Editor: Let's hear it for UNCW's Young Republicans [sic], fighting for the right to keep out black people and Jews.
Why should their members be forced to associate with Catholics [sic — the CRs' president is Catholic] or Arab Americans if they don't care to? And how much fun can it be to make fun of gays in a room where gay Republicans are present?
If our campus Republicans are uncomfortable being around blind people or students in wheelchairs, what gives UNCW the right to withhold money from student fees?
Fight on, Young Republicans [sic], to return us to the days when segregation was a proud tradition. How dare UNCW discriminate against a club that discriminates.
Most readers probably did not notice that Veit began his letter by confusing the “College Republicans” (a UNCW student group) with the “Young Republicans” (a group of Republicans under age 40, which is not affiliated with the university). But that was the least of his errors.
No one who read Veit’s letter, without prior knowledge of the CR controversy, could have come to the correct conclusion that the CRs simply wanted to limit membership in their Republican club to Republicans. Veit did not mention political affiliation, which is the sole source of the controversy between the CRs and the university. Instead, Veit made the following assertions:
1. The CRs hate blacks
2. The CRs hate Jews
3. The CRs hate Catholics
4. The CRs hate Arabs
5. The CRs hate Gays
6. The CRs hate blind people
7. The CRs hate people in wheelchairs
8. The CRs support segregation