The Chancellor?s Suggestion Box, Part One

Posted: Sep 30, 2004 12:00 AM

Dear Chancellor:

I am writing in response to a recent press release, posted on, which may be one of the worst pieces of political propaganda I have ever seen, even judged by university standards. The press release began by announcing that the UNCW Leadership Lecture Series recently launched its new season with a talk by Andrew Sullivan, former editor-in-chief of The New Republic. The press release then characterized Sullivan as a ?conservative.?

Make no mistake about it; the university did not just hire its first Republican speaker in Leadership Lecture Series history despite the fact that he is ?conservative.? He was hired only because he is a gay liberal who dissents from the Republican Party on this important issue. If, hypothetically, your administration was comprised solely of Republicans (as opposed to Democrats like yourself) and had hired only Republican speakers for years, a speech by ?liberal? Zell Miller would not count as a step in the direction of ideological diversity. It would just make the Democrats mad. I suspect that you understand this.

The university press release then stated that Sullivan?s speech ?presented the arguments against and for same-sex marriage.? I read this portion of the press release about five minutes after a gay student complained to me about how one-sided (i.e., liberal and pro gay marriage) he found Sullivan?s speech to be. He was also shocked that the school paid Sullivan $10,000 to merely parrot the March 23rd ?forum? on gay marriage. In case you don?t remember that ?forum,? it is the one where the ?diversity? office hosted six pro gay marriage speakers. They all shared the same un-diverse opinions in front of a mostly gay audience. I am not sure how much money that ?forum? cost the taxpayers. I am not sure that I want to know.

After stating that Sullivan presented ?both sides? of the issue, the person drafting the university press release only detailed Sullivan?s arguments against his opponents. For example, it included Sullivan?s assertion that ?marriage is not in any way an issue related to religion.? Does he really believe that the issue of gay marriage is unrelated to religion? Would he suggest that sodomy is unrelated to AIDS? Would he suggest that sexual orientation is unrelated to life expectancy? Does he really represent ?both sides? of the issue of gay marriage?

But, of course, when a university covers a debate using only one speaker who represents the views of the administration, unchecked stupidity is bound to occur. It all reminds me of the university?s ?Great Affirmative Action Debate? of 1999 featuring a single speaker. She was black, female, and pro-affirmative action. Was that really a debate? I guess it all depends on what the definition of ?debate? is.

The university?s press release said that Sullivan focused the end of his lecture on the ?pursuit of happiness? clause in the Constitution. Wouldn?t it have been better to spend $10,000 on a speaker who knew that there is no such clause in the Constitution? Most high school students know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Shouldn?t a highly paid liberal gay activist know the difference, too? After all, he does claim a constitutional right to sodomy and gay marriage, doesn?t he?

The university press release said that the turnout for the event was good. I trust that you had more than the 100 people who attended George Mitchell?s recent $40,000 (one hour) critique of Bush?s policies in Iraq. That was a real bargain for the taxpayers.

Finally, the university press release stated that ?The Leadership Lecture Series strives to create dialogue about issues at the forefront of current society. By inviting a speaker, the university does not endorse any particular position.?

If the university does not endorse a position on gay issues, then why did the Chancellor?s Office twice deny my request to put references on the ?diversity? office?s website to books opposing homosexuality from a religious perspective? They already had sixteen references supporting homosexuality from a religious perspective. Does your administration sponsor a particular form of religion; namely, pro-gay religion?

And why did the ?forum? on gay marriage present only one view? And why do we hire gay preachers to preach on campus in favor of gay rights? And why is another gay speaker coming to campus on ?coming out? day? And why did ?parent?s weekend? feature the Indigo Girls? And why has the university purchased magazines featuring gays engaging in sodomy? And who placed them in the lobby of the university union last April?

The end of this preposterous and propagandistic press release states that ?the next event in the (Leadership Lecture) series is ?Battle for God,? a talk Monday, Oct. 25 to be given by former nun and best-selling author Karen Armstrong.? Is that speech supposed to be about fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam? Is this just another attempt to oppose religious fundamentalism and promote moral relativism? Will Armstrong try to tell us that we have to fear fundamentalist Christians just as much as fundamentalist Muslims? Will she talk about gay marriage, again? And, finally, is Karen Armstrong another ?conservative? speaker, in your opinion?

So, here are my suggestions, Chancellor. Please choose whichever one is easiest:

1. Just admit that the university sponsors one view on gay marriage and actively suppresses all others, or

2. Show that the administration truly understands free speech by actually presenting an idea that the liberal administration does not embrace, or

3. Hire a public relations specialist who can do a better job of denying the fact that the administration violates the Unites States Constitution (not the Declaration of Independence) in its unwillingness to seriously consider suggestion 2.