Just a few minutes before I sat down to write this column, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Wilmington sent the following note:
“Colleagues: The Chancellor and Provost are making a special point at Deans’ Council and Administrative Cabinet of asking us what’s going on in the area of diversity. Whenever there are activities or achievements in your units that support the university's diversity goal, I would appreciate your passing them along to me so I’ll have some good stuff to report at these meetings. Thanks, David.”
Naturally, as a columnist who writes almost exclusively on diversity issues, I’m in a great position to pass along news and information relating to the university’s efforts to fulfill its commitment to diversity. One story that comes to mind involves the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) – a unit that may well epitomize the university’s commitment to diversity in higher education.
Last April, our College Republican (CR) chapter was having a Global Cooling Day, which, among other things, sought to make fun of Al Gore – an innocent activity given the former Vice President’s outstanding sense of humor. It was a fun day despite the fact that a) it was unseasonably cold, and b) some representatives from the WRC had a table set up not far from where our CR table was located.
When one of our CR officers saw some feminists from the WRC putting condoms on cucumbers, he decided to approach them to ask a few questions. Since he was single I feared he would ask the obviously sexually frustrated ladies for a date, perhaps simultaneously. But, I was wrong. He acted like a real gentleman, even though he’s a registered Republican.
In a very nice manner, our CR officer alerted the ladies to the fact that some grade school children (who were visiting UNCW) were standing nearby watching the ladies help the cucumbers prepare to engage in safe sexual intercourse. The ladies responded flippantly saying that the kids had no idea what they were doing at their table and that the kids didn’t have to look at the WRC table anyway.
For a second I thought the student feminists had a point. After all, it could be argued that even they didn’t know what they were doing since everyone knows a cucumber can’t get anyone pregnant or pass on a sexually transmitted disease. But there was one little problem: The children were pointing at the feminists and laughing.
Of course, I’m not criticizing the school children. I point at feminists and laugh every now and then, too. Nor am I criticizing the feminists. After all, they are really demonstrating that the WRC has finally committed itself to a diversity of ideas at UNCW. Let me explain.
When, in 2003, the WRC placed a large sign with the word “p***y” in front of the cafeteria, then-WRC Director Elizabeth Ervin blamed it on a student. I thought that was a clever idea.
When, in 2005, the WRC advertised an event with the word “vagina” flashing on a large sign in front of the school (and right in front of a church), one of the feminist stars of the event pointed out that people could just look the other way if offended. I thought that was a clever idea, too.
Now, in 2007, the WRC is employing both of these ideas in its mission to show people how to properly put on a condom – an activity making them almost as useful as those flight attendants who show people how to adjust an airplane safety belt. First, they make sure that all condom-related activity is handled by the students so they can employ the Elizabethan method of blaming it on the students. Next, they make sure that any detractors are told that anyone who might be offended has the option of simply turning his/her/or its head to avoid further offense.
Of course, the best part of this little diversity story is that a local Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) is now planning to follow the lead of the feminists. They are starting a new CPC student activist group that will petition the WRC website host to include information about them next to information about Planned Parenthood.
This is a good idea because the CPC has long been sending requests to the WRC asking them for representation on the website – requests that, until now, have been ignored by the censorious feminists. But since the students pay mandatory fees that are occasionally spent by the WRC, there can be no more viewpoint discrimination in response to their requests (see Wisconsin v. Southworth, 2000).
For years, the WRC at UNCW had been discriminating against our local CPC. And this discrimination has often been justified by deeming them to be “offensive.” But now the once-censored are preparing to take a new approach by a) blaming any offensive speech on some students, and b) telling the offended to just look the other way.
The more I work here at a liberal university, the more I learn about how to deal with the narrow-minded diversity crowd. And maybe some day I’ll figure out why they ruin so many good cucumbers that could be given to homeless women. I’m told they are just as bored and sexually frustrated as most feminists with tenure.
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