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
Put simply, Veit’s commentary makes no contribution to the debate over whether student groups have a right to limit membership to those who share their beliefs. Instead, Veit has simply made a fool of himself publicly in an effort to divide the Republican Party. But, in a sense, Veit has succeeded in the dividing the local party into two distinct camps.
The first camp, called the Ditsy Dicks, thinks that professor Veit is so intellectually challenged that he actually believes that the desire to discriminate on the basis of political affiliation translates into racism, homophobia, anti-wheelchairism, and all the other “isms” Veit enumerates.
However, a second camp, called the Tricky Dicks, believes that Veit knows that there is no such connection but, instead, knowingly misrepresented the motives of college students in an effort to destroy their reputations.
These two camps are presently at war in the local Republican Party. And now, for the first time, I am forced to use my position as a columnist to resolve this controversy before it destroys the local GOP.
Towards that end, I am asking the Ditsy Dicks and the Tricky Dicks to set aside their differences and commit to a democratic (as opposed to Democratic) resolution of this controversy. Specifically, I am calling for a special election to end this controversy once and for all. I am asking the people reading this editorial to cast a vote by e-mailing the following address between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 17th, 2003: email@example.com
In order to vote, readers should simply send an email with either “Ditsy Dick” or “Tricky Dick” written in the subject line. In other words, readers will simply decide which camp has offered the best explanation for Dick Veit’s behavior. No further elaboration is necessary. The camp with the most votes wins, and we can finally put this controversy behind us starting on December 18th.
When readers cast their vote, they should consider the amount of time and money parents invest in their children’s education. For many families, funding a college education will be the second biggest investment they make, aside from buying a home. Is it really morally acceptable for these people to have to work so hard to send their kids to college so that professors can falsely accuse them of racism and anti-Semitism, with the full protection of tenure?
Regardless of the results of the election, there is one issue upon which Ditsy Dicks and Tricky Dicks can all agree. Dick Veit owes the CRs and their hardworking parents a public apology.
Mike Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) is chairman of the Young Republicans and faculty advisor to the College Republicans. He recently heard a rumor that the university was considering a resolution to force Phi Beta Kappa to admit dummies. He promises to keep readers posted on any further developments.