According to a Western Michigan University senior, Pat Buchanan wasn't the only conservative assaulted on campus last Thursday. Matt Hall, who organized the Buchanan speech, alleges that a woman's studies professor pushed him from behind and boxed him out after he attempted to retrieve a torn-down poster from the professor's classroom hours before the lecture.
The dousing of Pat Buchanan with salad dressing one week ago today was prefaced with WMU's advisor to student organizations denouncing the event in his newspaper column, professors using class time to label Buchanan a "racist," a faculty-directed effort that resulted in the removal of more than 2,500 fliers promoting the event, and a professor allegedly assaulting the student organizer of the lecture. While a non-WMU student attacked Buchanan, the College Republicans who hosted the commentator believe WMU faculty and administrators created a climate that encouraged the assault.
The professor-student conflict took place in the early afternoon last Thursday. "I saw three girls going around tearing down the Pat Buchanan signs," explained WMU student Jeff Tirrell. "As I went to wait outside my class I saw that they were taking the torn-down fliers into a classroom and handing them to a professor." Tirrell alerted College Republican Chairman Matt Hall that a professor was assigning her students to rip down posters promoting the Buchanan event. Hall then confronted the professor, Edith Fisher, in a classroom in Dunbar Hall.
Seeing his $30 glossy poster promoting the Buchanan speech impaled on the pole holding a Mexican flag, Hall attempted to retrieve his club's property. According to Hall, Fisher shoved him from behind and then elbowed him aside when he tried to take his sign. "No, this is official university property and it's been confiscated," Dr. Fisher allegedly told him. Fisher hasn't responded to emails sent Monday requesting her side of the story.
Several witnesses note that Fisher then crumpled up the large promotional poster and threw it in the trash. At this point, Hall noticed scores of his fliers in the garbage bag. Fisher, several witnesses claim, started screaming at Hall. "I was kind of shocked," Hall explained to me. The incident occured during Fisher's class, Introduction to Women's Studies, with the professor informing Hall: "You're intruding on my class, please leave."
That night, twenty-four-year old community college student Samuel Mesick rushed the podium and dumped a large cup of ranch dressing on Pat Buchanan as he spoke. "The campus police were unable to stop the assault on Buchanan," witness Jason Miller told me, "but responded very rapidly to protect the assailant." In fact, the mohawked assailant screamed for the police when a burly College Republican apprehended him. As for Buchanan, "He was pissed," according to Miller, who wondered if the sixty-six-year old pundit was going to take a swing at the man who disrupted the event. Remarking that he didn't even like ranch dressing, Buchanan stopped the question and answer period and returned to his hotel. The event ended prematurely and Mesick was released on $100 bond.
"This was institutionally acceptable," WMU student Matt Hall believes. "Professors telling their students to tear down fliers. Professors telling students that Pat Buchanan is a racist and a bigot. A professor physically attacking me, a student. An administrator, the advisor to registered student organizations, denouncing the Buchanan speech in his newspaper column. This sort of thing adds up and creates an institutional atmosphere where it becomes acceptable to treat people like scum."
A leftist student's assault on Patrick Buchanan at Western Michigan University generated nationwide attention. Allegations of a leftist professor's assault on a conservative student didn't make headlines. It should have.
Thank you, Mr. Flynn, for continuing to highlight events such as this. The atmosphere that Mr. Hall describes is probably the same one that all conservative students must deal with. I keep my mouth shut because I know from personal experience that if I disagree with the professor I will get a significantly lower grade.
This kind of behavior from our nation's universities is 100% horrifically unsurprising. I rarely agree with Mr. Buchanan, but I am appaled, though sadly not shocked, that people could be so mindless as to resort to physical violence on an issue of political debate.
I don't even have to throw salad dressing on my coworkers in order for somebody to pronounce that I have created a "hostile atmosphere". Were I to throw salad dressing on my coworkers because I disagree with them, I think they've got a good case against me. There can be little doubt that the professors have "fostered" your classic "hostile atmosphere".
The question only remains does it not count only because it's in an institution that liberals already control and not in one where the people with the power were snippy enough not to include them in the power structure?
On the subject of campus silliness, Michelle's got something on her site about campus "watchdogs". Does anybody think that conservatives could try anything like this and not cause 24pt headlines referring to Krystalnacht?
It's no big deal really. Apparently somebody flunked logic class and couldn't figure out that if the job fair contained non-miliarty recruiters it was already providing an alternative to a military career.
It's not fair, but it's probably never going to be fair either. We can at least laugh at these liberals getting all bent over not understanding that an alternative was already provided. But I guess the real issue was whether it was provided with their voice.
It is unreasonable not to ask the liberal's advice on everything: should the military or Pat Buchanan be allowed on campuses? They think not. That's what's important. And as long as you comply, their voice has been heard.
On the subject of tossing salad. Oops, I meant tossing salad dressing. Sorry for the Freudian slip. Emanuel Lewis and I are disgusted at that students behavior!
Comic genius, truly a diamond in the rough has been found.
I have sent the following msg to Dr. William Wiener (email@example.com), dean of the WMU grad school:
Dear Dr. Wiener:
As a recent transplant from Michigan, and as an ordinary citizen of the US, I am appalled at the actions attributed to your employee Dr. Edith Fisher. (http://tinyurl.com/3vk8h). It borders on the unbelievable that a professor would lead her students in such a blatant assault on free speech.
You *must* take action one way or the other: If this story is false, you have a responsibility to protect the reputation of WMU; if it is true, this Fisher person has no place on the faculty of any academic institution (with the possible exception of the University of Colorado, where she can join Ward Churchill).
I look forward to hearing of your response. I expect that you will be hearing from FIRE (http://www.thefire.org/) as well.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration of this matter.
As a WMU student and member of the College Republicans, I am glad the story of the student assault is finally getting some attention! The administration is not responding to any of our concerns regarding the events of March 31, 2005.
I find it interesting that Professor Edith Fisher not only attacked Mr. Hall, but this Thursday (April 7, 2005) was one of the speakers at "Take Back the Night" an event at WMU to alert people of the dangers of sexual assault. http://www.westernherald.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/04/07/425474435fe49
Professor Fisher also spoke to members of the Greek community this week, giving them advise on how to prevent sexual assaults at WMU. I find it rather disturbing that a member of the WMU faculty who has been accused of assaulting a student is now giving speeches about precenting sexual assaults. What is this world coming to...
Does Western Michigan University actually think they are going to recruit Conservative students in the future?
If you want to contact WMU, the best people to contact about this event are:
President Bailey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Beam: email@example.com
Vice President Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director SALP,Pat Daniel: email@example.com
Hopefully this helps
The rest of the story:
Pat Buchanan had been invited to WMU intentionally on Caesar Chavez day, and his speech was promoted with flyers announcing "Viva Buchanan", "the former Chavez Day",..."risk on our borders with Mexico", and "America First Day". There was also a poster showing two men holding hands displaying a "just married" sign. These flyers appeared to many to be racist and homophobic, and were posted mainly in campus buildings housing classes in Sociology, Africana Studies, Women's studies and other Arts and Sciences classes, and in the building housing the offices of Africana Studies and Women's studies faculty. I don't think Buchanan knew how his speech was being promoted, and these posters clearly set him up for the incident with the salad dressing perpetrated by an anarchist from the local community college.
I welcomed Mr. Buchanan's speech, and was ashamed (for him and for WMU) that he was splattered with dressing. Dr. Bailey, our University President, was sent copies of the Campus Republicans' posters beforehand, and acted to try to calm the situation.
Many if not most of the flyers were illegally posted by taping them to painted walls, not to the bulletin boards provided for that purpose. WMU authorizes its employees to remove unauthorized and illegally posted signs, and many employees did just that. The "$30" Buchanan poster was not University authorized, and was posted illegally.
Matt Hall invaded an ongoing class in Women's Studies that had been in session for 15 minutes, along with at least one other man. They failed to leave when told to do so by the instructor, but were instead taking pictures with cell phones. There were at least 25 students in the class, who not only witnessed the event and saw that no pushing occurred, but had their education disrupted. That is very serious matter for a university.
Mr. Hall filed a complaint with the campus police, but it was immediately dismissed. However, he told the local press only that he had filed charges. He spread his side of the story to anyone who would listen, including the national press, and is now attempting to make a case with the Western Student Association.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fisher took her case to the University Ombudsman (as prescribed), and has filed five charges of academic misconduct with the office of the Dean of Students, where they are being investigated. We await the outcome. In the meantime, Dr. Fisher has been harrassed by persons unknown and vilified in conservative weblogs and on talk radio.
Mr. Flynn indeed contacted Dr. Fisher, but said only that he was a "writer", and asked leading questions of her. Since Dr. Fisher had no idea who he was, she did not answer his email. Evidently Matt Hall had contacted Mr. Flynn and given him Dr Fisher's name. Not all Campus Republicans approve of Hall's tactics, and I believe that he has violated his organization's charter to pursue the conservative agenda by "honorable means". We'll have to wait for the University and for the Western Student Association to pursue their prescribed inquiries, but outcomes should be forthcoming within a week. I'm sorry that conservative students have to confront a what they feel is a hostile environment. Mr Hall created a hostile environment for Mr. Buchanan's speech and for our university as a whole.
Dr. Bob: Why don't you denounce your colleague's use of class time to assign students to rip down posters promoting the Buchanan lecture? You teach at a public university and yet you speak of "unauthorized" posters. You blame conservatives for the treatment Buchanan received, in effect excusing the assailant and professors who wasted students time by directing them to disrespect the free speech rights of others. I don't think I could invent a parody of political correctness as damning as your post.
BTW: Here are the questions I asked Dr. Fisher. You strangely characterized them as "leading," but anyone can see that they were straightforward and gave Fisher the opportunity to clear up any ambiguity or inaccuracy.
1. What's your reaction to the salad-dressing assault on Buchanan while he spoke?
2. Several students claim they witnessed you in a classroom in Dunbar Hall directing students to tear down fliers promoting the Buchanan lecture. Did you do this? What made you so passionate about the lecture? Was this your class that partook in this activist project, or just a random group of students?
3. Did you know the community college student who assaulted Pat Buchanan? What was your relationship with him, if any?
4. Matt Hall, the organizer of the event, claims that when he attempted to retrieve a torn-down poster promoting his event from your classroom, you got physical with him, pushing him from behind and boxing him out to prevent him from getting the poster. What's the truth about this incident?
Dr. Bob: If Dr. Fisher did nothing wrong, and the claims of several eyewitnesses who saw her students rounding up Buchanan fliers during class time is incorrect, why won't she answer these questions?
Dr. Bob: you must have no shame.
As a prof myself, I feel quite a bit of responsibility to foster students' civility and respect of all persons. Perhaps one CR behaved provocatively (in a way that young conservatives have learned from leftists in and out of the academy for the last 40 years). But do you really want to defend the way that Dr. Fisher and her students treated him and his group's event?
I should add that your ramblings above make me believe his story.
I think it's important to note that Mr. Hall and his "group" made a violent threat against take back the night at WMU this last thursday. I think it is important to know that this individual who is apparently so appauled that he's been assaulted is treatening violence against others who rally to end it. Mr. Hall raped the students in the class he invaded of their educational experience, he raped students of their right to travel the hallways without feeling intimidated (posting unauthorized signs) and now he apparently supports sexual rapists as well. Anyone who treatens to end or against something that is anti sexual assault is clearly supportive of assault. Mr. Hall should be ashamed, as should anyone standing behind this man!
I happen to know this women's studies teacher well so just to clarify on some myths:
1. Dr. Fisher NEVER gave her students an assignment to tear down Buchanan's fliers.
2. Matt Hall's charges were dismissed. The police told him that nothing illegal occured based on his statement and yet he still claims that Dr. Fisher pushed him.
3. Everyone is basing their opinions on what Matt Hall has to say when nothing he says is valid. There are at least twenty eye witnesses who will agree with me on that.
You are what is wrong with the left. Rape is a horrible, vile crime and your frivolous use of the term to describe petty annoyances is despicable.
As to Dr. Bob, there is nothing wrong w/ CRs promoting their event through whatever kind of flyers they want to design, as well as what day they choose to have the event. I grant that they should follow the correct procedures as regards where to place flyers but I find it quite suspicious that you claim employees are simply allowed to remove flyers at whim if they believe they were placed in inappropriate places. That seems a power ripe for abuse.
So your claims that the flyers were hostile by striking some as "racist" or "homophobic" is a non sequitur. It is of no consequence whether anyone takes offense at the style or message of the posters, I am sure conservative students are "offended" by signs for events sponsored by campus liberals.
If in fact Hall rushed into the teacher's classroom then he acted like, well, a college kid who impulsively takes action when they feel they have been wronged. Shocking, isn't it?
But what about the teacher? If she employed her students as a campus Sturmabteilung (quick quiz SIA, what does "Sturmabteilung" mean? . . . just curious whether or not you study or are only a student "in action") to go around pulling down signs then she is at fault here for provoking Hall. Whether the signs were placed legally or not (even if employees can make that judgment call I doubt the same applies to students); She, qua proefessor, is expected to be a mature adult and to conduct herself accordingly in the classroom. She could have discussed the issues raised by the posters with her class if she felt there would be an educational benefit to it, possibly (if she were open-minded, lmao) arranging for a debate where Hall or another CR explained themselves and their viewpoints. So the only question is really what exactly Dr. Fisher did which should be corroborated by someone other than her students or anonymous insiders on web blogs.
Perhaps you should check out your sources. The WMU College Republicans made no such threat against "Take Back The Night". I should know since I was at the meeting last week and am a member of the e-board. Also, I ask you: Why have a kenote speaker that is accused of attacking students at an event AGAINST violence?? That seems wrong to me.
Our group does not take violent actions, unlike the liberals on our campus. Must we forget the student from Professor Fisher's class who tore down over 100 of the Buchanan flyers, stuffed them in a trash bag, and brought them to the event. This person has been turned into the university to be investigated and prosecuted.
So next time you want to vent your anger, check your sources first.
I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions, but I have been extremely busy. Here are my answers to your four questions i the order they were asked.
Q 1. Throwing Caesar salad dressing in the face of another human being to silence him is unacceptable behavior. It violates the spirit of peaceful protest and the principle of free speech. I was deeply saddened when it occurred and continue to denounce the actions of the KVCC student who directly violated Mr. Buchanan and indirectly violated all of us by perpetuating the cycle of violence.
Q 2. The several students who claim to have seen this are mistaken. I did not direct my students to do anything to flyers. When students complained to me about the hundreds of illegally posted flyers littering the painted walls of each stairwell, I did inform them that building supervisors had already asked the student organizations responsible for the illegally posted flyers and posters to remove them immediately. That student organizations showed blatant disregard for University regulations was the problem. These regulations exist to assure that partisan discourse is conducted on a fair and equal playing field.
I did encourage all my students to partake in all opportunities to learn, including attending Mr. Buchanan's lecture. This is an institution for higher learning, and we must all listen to all sides of every issue if we ever expect to be able to sort out what we believe is true, right, and just from what we believe is false, wrong, and unjust. I strongly encourage all my students to open their ears and eyes, to think for themselves rather than to regurgitate the beliefs of others, to find their own voices, and to engage in discourse--to LEARN!
3. I did not nor do I now know the person who threw the Caesar salad dressing on Pat Buchanan. I don't think that anyone at WMU did. My relationship with him is the same as it is with you--we are members of the same human race. We both share the same planet and need to be respectful of each other's rights.
4. Let me be perfectly clear--no one got physical with Mr. Hall in my classroom; I never pushed him from behind, from the side, or from the front--THERE WAS NO ASSAULT. Mr. Hall's claims are totally FALSE. Over 30 of my students were present and can testify to that fact.
An unidentified intruder disrupted my classroom while it was in session on March 31, 2005. He stormed uninvited into my classroom insisting he would not leave without "his personal property." He never identified himself during the incident. I, however, did identify myself repeatedly as Dr. Fisher, the instructor of the class in session, and demanded that he cease and desist his disruptive behavior and leave my classroom immediately. He refused to comply with my repeated requests or my repeated demands.
The University did not approve the poster in question for use. In addition to being unapproved, it violated the posting guidelines requiring all approved flyers to be posted only on bulletin boards. This particular unapproved poster was taped with heavy packing tape to the painted wall of the stairwell just outside my classroom. It was my understanding from a conversation with the building staff that the building supervisors had already contacted the student organization responsible for the thousands of illegally posted materials publicizing Mr. Buchanan's lecture.
The illegally posted and unapproved posters have been turned over to the proper campus authorities as evidence in their on-going investigation of the five charges of misconduct that have been filed against Mr. Hall regarding his disruption of the education of my students.
Edie Fisher, PhD
Western Michigan University
Dan, what about the incident that happened to Warrior at UConn? They call him a bigot? Hah. Bigotry is hating someone because of a preconception. I guess "Conservatives" are the new bash-able group on campus.
lets see all the bigoted Conservative jokes we can come up with....thinking like a liberal here...
Q. How many Conservatives does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Liberal Answer: None, the Conservative just screws the poor little dowtnrodden guy out of his "entitlements" until the little guy screws in the lightbulb for food.
Bigotry has many faces...when yours and mine are clean then we are free to label others as bigots.
Dear Mr. Flynn -
The great country I grew up in was founded on respect for rational discourse. I'm concerned that this same country is now involved in a civil war between extremes, emotionally fueled by uncivil politicians and exploitative media. Sponge Daddy is right: Bigotry has many faces, and nobody's face is clean. So I wish we could lose the Liberal vs. Conservative venom and act toward each other as honerably as we can. (This is biblical, not PC)
Along with others of you, I would like the truth to come out in this situation, and to do this, you might do as Cutter has. Dean Wiener has no jurisdiction as the Dean of the Graduate College, but the Dean of Arts & Sciences has. He is (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also contact Dr. Gwen Raaberg, head of the Women's Studies program (email@example.com). She just broke her leg, so she has some time on her hands. You can try to contact our University President, as Schroeck suggests, but I think you'll get more attention from the Office of Student Services (VP Anderson). She has put the director of SALP in direct charge of the case (patrick.daniel.@wmich.edu). And I can't for the life of me see why you'd want to contact Bob Beam. He's the Vice president for Business and Finance!
Dan, when Dr. Fisher originally showed me a copy of your email, I thought you were trying to connect the violence against Mr. Buchanan with the incident in her classroom, so I advised her not to respond. I see both incidents as acts of domestic terrorism (as is rape), but not *as* rape. And although there was a rumor that the CRs planned to obstruct Take Back The Night, it was only a rumor, and had been honorably reported to one of the TBTN organizers by a College Republican student. (Thanks!)
I'm happy that I could tell you all my version of the story, and that Dr. Fisher was given this opportunity as well. I have every confidence that the truth will come out very quickly, and I believe that the University will treat people fairly in an open process. (I hope I'm right!) Mr. Patrick Daniel has been put in charge of the case by the Office of Student Affairs.
As a college instructor for 30 years, I do tend to ramble, although in my own defense, the case between Mr. Hall and Dr. Fisher is complicated. Life is hard, and we need to approach it with humor. So to that end, here's a punchline for Sponge Daddy's lightbulb joke, told from the perspective of a committed middle-of-the-roader: "It takes no conservatives to change a bulb, because they hate change, but it takes too many liberals because they'll change lightbulbs as quickly as they change their minds.
And Dan, your coverage has given Dr. Fisher credibility with her daughter. One of her daughter's friends said this to her in an email: "Rush Limbaugh talked about your mom, and now she's being denounced by Dan Flynn? There are no words for how f*cking jealous I am!" Thanks, Dan.
Dr. Edie Fisher did nothing wrong! If people think that tearing down illegally posted flyers is wrong then i feel that those people are disturb and need desperate help!
I was a witness to what happened. All of Matt Hall's claims as Dr. Fisher's said are all FALSE.
I just wanted to post my 2 cents about "illegally posted" flyers. Basically what this means is that students are allowed to post flyers wherever the hell they want, however the rule that exists and that is seldom enforced is that flyers can only be placed in one solitary hallway. So, when some jackass prof wants to pull flyers they don't like, they can. But you'll never see the other cruft from the halls cleared up. And no, I don't go to the school. This is just standard practice everywhere.
Dr. Fisher's reaction to the events inside and outside her classroom deserves a main post, so I'll have her side of the story on the blog within the next few days. The main point I got from Dr. Fisher's post is that she emphatically denies any physical assault upon Mr. Hall. Both Dr. Fisher and Mr. Hall can't both be telling the truth, can they? Let's get to the bottom of things. If you witnessed the confrontation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More ambiguous is Dr. Fisher's alleged role in the destruction of posters promoting the Buchanan event. WMU students report her class littered with Buchanan fliers, and that her students ripped down fliers during class time and returned the seized property to her. At the same time that Dr. Fisher denies orchestrating the confiscation of the fliers, she defends confiscating the fliers. I appreciate Dr. Fisher, and others in the WMU community, taking the time to give their side. But we're still at a standstill--Hall charges Fisher got physical with him, Fisher denies; numerous students charge that Fisher's class on March 31 consisted of students ripping down Buchanan fliers on class time; Fisher denies. I want the truth and if you witnessed any of this, please email me.
I guess what I'd most like to know is: 1). Was there any physical contact between Matt Hall and Dr. Fisher? 2). What were scores of torn down Buchanan fliers doing in Dr. Fisher's classroom during class time?
Don't forget the "30$ poster" being impaled on a Mexican flag. Dr. Fisher refers to it as the "poster in question" and tells us that it was unauthorized for use and put on a wall where it should not have been.
That is all well and good so far as it goes. But I want to know if in fact it was ritually impaled on a flag in her classroom. That is a ridiculous and provocative thing to do with it. What did she allow her classroom to degenerate into before Hall even showed up at it? As far as I have been able to gather above Dr. Fisher was the only authority figure and adult around (I don't count college kids as adults) and thus in loco parentis. I am relieved that she at least had the sense to not gather up the posters and burn them in a pile in the middle of her classroom.
I guess the question for Dr Fisher and her students is, as Dan says: was there any physical contact _at all_, even if it wasn't a push? If not, how come the kid didn't get his posters back when he left? He could have just taken them, right?
I would just like to clarify a couple of things that are misleading in this article. I am a student in the class where this alleged "assault" occurred. First of all, the class had already started when Hall rudely bursted into our classroom. Second of all, Hall was not pushed. I saw it with my own eyes. He was going wild in the classroom and bumped into her while HE was in possession of HER flag. He was not BOXED out...he was kicked out of our classroom for disrupting our education. Also, just to clarify, our prof didn't assign us to tear down the posters. It was by no means said or implied in any way. Being a member of a club on campus, you would think Hall would know the rules. A- he didn't follow rules that a monkey could. How hard is it to understand that your flyers must be approved and stamped (every single one) and they can't be hung on painted surfaces. And they have a size limitation of 11 by 13...not 2 feet by 3 feet....and the dressing wasn't ranch...it was caeser....You all totally missed the symbolism in that one.
I noticed a couple of things reading the responses to this post. First of all, as a high school dropout who didn't even complete the 11th grade, I'm somewhat insecure about my writing abilities, and my grammar.
At least I was until I read some of the posts here from people claiming to be college students. WTF is with the school system in this country? I don't mean this to be an insult, but I can't believe that someone can graduate from high school, much less skate through college, without basic writing skills.
I think the post from Jenny Anderson, in which she points out the "symbolism" of throwing Caesar dressing (as opposed to ranch) at Buchanan is interesting only because I noticed Dr. Fisher mentioned "Caesar" dressing repeatedly. I guess she wanted to make sure we got it, even though she seems to be claiming to have no horse in this race.
As an outsider I would like to make an observation. Everyone involved in this supposed incident are acting like a bunch of wussies. I haven't heard this much whining since, well, since John Kerry spoke this past weekend. Conservatives: suck it up! You win the argument with superior, more persuasive ideas; not whining about being "pushed" and posters being torn down. Profs: your posts are a bunch of intellectual googly-gook. Only somebody in acedemia could post something so steeped in condecension as yours and then pat yourselves on the back for your superior intellect. Cycle of violence? Share the same planet? Puh-leeze.
Everybody needs to get a grip and realize that this type of behavior would never fly in the real world.
"You all totally missed the symbolism in that one."
It ain't symbolism, dear. It's assault.
Please make that "condescension". Don't want to be dismissed as a Neanderthal.
Can someone show me the actual law that says posters are not to be put up on painted walls?
Dr. Bob's initial post was revealing. It begins by commenting that Buchanan was "intentionally" invited to speak on Caesar Chavez Day. It was intentional! How insensitive! Buchanan was "set up" for an assault by provocative posters, causing normally good citizens to lose control and attempt to suppress free speech on an important public issue (illegal immigration). The assault was wrong, but surely the provocation must be understood!
Imagine if a student organization "intentionally" invited a Native American activist to speak on Columbus Day, and flyers were posted promoting the event as an opportunity to learn about the "genocide" committed by Columbus and other European invaders. Imagine that flyers were torn down, posters were ritually impaled in a professor's classroom, and an offended Euro-American doused the speaker with Italian dressing.
Would Dr. Bob be as quick to explain that the provocative posters "appeared to many to be racist" and clearly set the speaker up for an assault? What would be the probable consequences for the students and faculty involved?
I would like to offer an additional look into this case. As a student who was present in the class, I am entitled to describe the incident. Because each student in the class shapes his/her own reality, each posting will be different.
As we had been in class for some time (close to a half hour), the students who rushed in caused a very large disturbance. Because of the nature of the class (women's studies) the protective atmosphere needed to be maintained and could not be once the students invaded the room. His failure to leave after repeated requests upset and alarmed every student in the class.
Again, as mentioned in previous posts, Dr. Fisher did not - and I repeat, DID NOT - ever assign us to take the illegally posted flyers. A number had been taken down, but we were not assigned or even asked to do it.
Dr. Fisher did not "push" Matt Hall or anyone else present in the classroom. Again, ther was NO physical contact.
The allegations against Dr. Fisher are completely false. While sometimes in class she does present her political perspective, it is always in relation to the topic at hand, and is used to present a particular view to illustrate a point or to encourage open-mindedness and complex thought.
"Because each student in the class shapes his/her own reality, each posting will be different."
CLASSIC. Definitely on the road to an A in Women's Studies, this one.
(Warning: this post may offend everyone ;)
Jenny Anderson: I was with you all the way until your very last comment. Though the correction from Ranch to Caesar's was welcome in the name of accuracy, your "symbolism" comment just makes the conservatives' point for them: they still have a lot to fear from semi-authorized campus violence in the name of "symbolism". ("Semi-authorized?") Yes. That violence is partially authorized by its very tolerance by people who speak of "symbolism" and similarly disguised invectives: "Oh, if it had been Ranch dressing, that would have been assault; but since it was Caesar's, that's just witty free speech."
I don't mean to imply that these were your words. But you do realize they're the next logical step in that direction, don't you? As long as we're arguing "symbolism", why not Ranch dressing to imply his "cowboy-like irresponsibility" in supporting the ranchers of southern Arizona or Texas against the onslaught of illegal aliens (from places like Syria and Iran!) crossing onto their land from the Mexican border? Or Italian dressing to denote Buchanan's alleged support of "Mob" populism or "Il Duce-style" authoritarianism? (In that case, how about Russian dressing?) ("Well, those fits just aren't as ironic or 'perfect'.") Indeed.
Anyhow: Assuming Dr. Fisher's (and Dr. Bob's) assertions about the unauthorized signs are valid, then conservatives have a serious problem. Their characterization of the signs as "fair" is flatly wrong. OTOH the Women's studies' characterization of the same signs as loud, obnoxious, invasive even - words that also tend to connote "style" - should count for something in this debate. I can understand when the rules are "bent" slightly for onesies and twosies posted by individual students (like "missing cat", "band XYZ playing Friday night", and so on), but signs promoting a politically charged event like this one - organized by a campus body who ought to have known better - is a different animal. Stricter rules ought to apply for that kind of thing.
("Wait a minute... you can't selectively enforce the rules for one thing & not the other!") Yes, we can. What we can't do is tolerate a double-standard where the same kinds of loud, obnoxious signs are allowed to stand on the walls in favor of "progressive" and left-wing events. Those must be taken down also. Until and unless that's the issue, conservatives lose the argument. (Or not?)
I couldn't say whether it happened this way or not, but I wouldn't be surprised or offended in the least if students & teacher agreed that the out-of-place signs needed to come down, and resolved to take them down either in the in-between periods between end/start of class, or even in the first 5-10 minutes of class (before lecture got underway). Such a casual and implicit understanding is part of everyday campus life, and does not connote either an officially sanctioned curriculum or "Orwellian thought control". Sure, when it's done to stifle debate and enforce doctrine, it's insidious. But when it's applied to obvious transgressions such as these posters, it's just common sense.
IMO where activity like this transgresses from "common sense" to "collusive and insidious" is when either legitimate signs are prevented from being posted due to raging "progressive" campus orthodoxy, or a blatant double standard allows equally "obnoxious" signs on the radical left to remain standing in the "painted hallway", but removes every last conservative poster.
If that turns out to be true, then everything I've argued here turns on a dime. But at the moment it appears that this wasn't the case. (Or will this be proven wrong?)
To conservatives: yes, I acknowledge the double-standard. Heaven knows it's alive & raging in college. It's shameful that students have to judge very carefully whether they dare express well-grounded but contrary opinions in fear for their grades or other subtle intimidation. It's disgusting, and it shouldn't be tolerated. But did that happen with the sign tear-downs from these "painted walls"?
P.S. Impaling the Buchanan posters on a skewer is a different thing. Can't endorse that one. That's more than a bit vindictive -
You fascist far-right scumbags should be locked up. Shame on all of you! You are not welcome at WMU or anywhere else. In fact, we will soon have fair regulation of the Internet and shut down you nazi blogs like Instapundit and LGF. Social Justice now!!!!
TP in Michigan,
Fair regulation? Are you envisioning some sort of virtual pie tossing because no one pays attention to your blogs?
as for the putative symbolism of "Caesar" dressing -
you do know that Buchanan (whose fan I ain't) wrote a book entitled "A Republic, Not an Empire," right?
ahh, crud. Just re-read the post and saw the Chavez Day thing.
Never mind ...
Dr. Bob: "Mr Hall created a hostile environment for Mr. Buchanan's speech and for our university as a whole."
Isn't it ironic that, in an incident involving (at least tangentially) a sociology PhD. candidate whose thesis involved the epistemogy of rape, a colleague writes to essentially say that the student conservatives (in general) and Matt Hall (in particular) were asking for it?
As with most interesting and, in this case, laughable, stories out there, each group has their own opinion on what really happended, and why. I don't care to delve into that because it's truly pointless, but I would like to make a few points. #1 - the repeated referenced to the posters being "illegal" is pathetic. Get a grip people, they're friggin posters, not a crack deal. If they're unauthorized, fine, take them down. But quit your whining about them being illegal. Robbing someone is illegal, drunk driving is illegal, putting up posters is not. #2 - I've got news for poor little Jenny and the rest of your fragile flowers, get a grip and toughen up. It's a tough world out there, and I doubt very many people are going to care about your little protective cocoon that your reality lacking professors demand. Gender aside, you are going to be insulted, you are going to get backstabbed and you are going to be disappointed. Judging by the tone of some of the comments here, your lives are going to be long, sad and miserable journeys. I know every liberal professor and their flock is a victim waiting to happen and I'm more than happy to say that 99% of the people out there won't give two cents for your opinion or your feelings. I would imagine that your only option other than folding tent each time the going gets tough is to follow in the footsteps of your fearless (or fearful) professors and go for tenure.
Finally, I'm really waiting and hoping for the day, considering the security situation in the world today, that the next jack&ss who rushes up to the podium gets a torso full of bullets. These aren't harmless pranks, they're dangerous acts of the truly moronic who are lucky to go home alive. "Ranch" dressing today, maybe a knife next time. In a split second, the hippy doesn't get the benefit of the doubt.
Thank God (oh no, did I just intimidate someone by mentioning God?) that my college years are fading into the rearview mirror.
I am a recent grad of Western Michigan University and attended just one College Republicans meeting where I did offer up my email address. Full time employment and grad school (night classes) kept me from attending any more meetings, but I still get their emails in my junk mail folder. I actually decided to read the one titled "Emergency Protest." The email did not address any details, but googling the web, I did come across this website along with others.
Ironically enough, a close friend of mine actually had the instructor in question, Edith Fisher, for a gen ed sociology class. To put it mildly, my friend did not have much respect for Ms. Fisher. I am not one to degrade one's reputation, but Ms. Fisher had remarked on more than one occasion that she would love to take her daughter to the Netherlands to smoke pot and remarkded about a "near death" experience related to drinking too much on a weekend that occured that very semester. My friend seemed to suggest that Ms. Fisher had a different way of viewing society and the powers that be (remember, this was a sociology class).
My friend's description of Ms. Fisher is just that, his opinion, and I in no way would try to put Western Michigan University in a bad light. With that said, I am sure every large university such as WMU has faculty that tend to be eccentric (hmmm...left). What tends to bother me is that the administration is trying downplay Matt Hall's encounter with Ms. Fisher. I am not sure what to make of all of this. Just trying to throw out more information on this matter.
I believe that some of you are missing a huge point here. Whether or not the posters were there illegally, and whether or not ANYONE was instructed to take them down, the fact remains that Matt hall barged into our classroom uninvited (yes, I was in the class as well), and refused to leave, even after being asked repeatedly. This in itself is violation of Failure to Comply in our Student Code handbook. And from my seat, which was right next to the window where the poster and flag in question were positioned, Mr. Hall was the instigator of ANY "physical contact" that happened, which really there wasn't. He pushed past Dr. Fisher to retrieve the poster, and since he was much taller than her, Dr. Fisher had to practically jump to get it back from him. There is no way she could have pushed him and made any sort of impact on him, he's much bigger than her.
The fact that Hall came into our room while class was being conducted, and WOULD NOT LEAVE, after even being asked by the students themselves, puts him in violation of more things than you would believe. So posters aside... Hall is in the wrong.
Someone asked for the "law" regarding posting flyers at WMU. There's some relevant language in the Code of Student Conduct. Scroll down to B.21.
There's also quite a bit in the RSO [Registered Student Organization] Handbook. The money language is on page 35, which says,
1. Posters or flyers must not exceed 14” by 22.”
2. The literature must contain the full name of the sponsoring organization, date, time, and place of the event.
3. All literature must comply with SA&LP guidelines and be stamped “Approved” by SA&LP before posting. If the material is not stamped for posting, the material will be removed and restitution for the cost of labor will be charged to the organization. For exterior kiosk areas, the SA&LP validation stamp is not needed.
4. The Posting Guidelines Form is to be completed by the student organization/department representative requesting the flyer to
be approved. The representative listed on the form will be contacted within 24 hours to confirm if the flyer/poster has been approved/not approved.
5. If approved, the flyer will be placed in the student organization mailbox for pick-up.
6. Programs or projects sponsored in whole or part by the Student Assessment Fee must include the statement “SAF Funded” on all publicity. Failure to do this may result in subsequent loss of funding.
7. Postings are not permitted on any trees, buildings, walls, doors, windows, telephone poles, wires, fire hydrants, parking meters, trashcans, or public signs on campus. All violators will be charged full restitution for the cost to remove such literature from the unwarranted areas.
8. Postings are to be placed on bulletin boards provided by the University. There are 11 information kiosks and 35 general announcement boards. A current listing of posting areas is available in SA&LP.
9. It is prohibited to post literature over other validly placed flyers or posters.
10. Because of limited space, please place only one flyer per bulletin board or kiosk.
11. Postings may be tacked or stapled on bulletin boards or taped on kiosks. Other methods
of affixing postings or types of adhesives are not permitted.
I'm just answering the question. Don't shoot the messengger.
One of the greatest struggles that I face every day when I grapple with the thought of going back to school is the knowledge that I may have to spend weeks or months in a room full of pathetic morons who have never lived in the real world. People whose greatest struggle was deciding whether or not to buy the latest j'z cd or a new pair of skeetchers.
I will have to sit there and listen to the arrogant elitist bile from some clown who went straight from the position of student to the position of teacher without having ever passed thru any other part of the real world. This same clown will then ask for my verbal participation in his or her little circus of hate-mongering at every thing I believe in after which I will be living in a scene much similar to one so deftly created by Alfred Hitchcock in "The Birds".
Then this clown in a cloud of elitist, self-righteous wrath will proceed to pass judgement upon my grades and see to it that I spend the rest of my time at this institution dodging the hurlage (both verbal and projectile) by the bored and enraged passer-by.
This will result in both my failure to improve my employment situation and my continued struggle not to walk into said clowns classroom with 20 or 30 lbs of c-4 strapped to my body and enlighten him and his flock of sponges that rage goes 2 ways. It is really sad that our world has come to this.
"All literature must comply with SA&LP guidelines and be stamped “Approved” by SA&LP before posting. If the material is not stamped for posting, the material will be removed and restitution for the cost of labor will be charged to the organization."
And this is the part that I wonder about. While I agree that conservatives should be less confrontational, I also can't help notice the usual liberal argument of freedom of speech in the way of one's preference. With Dr. Bob speaking about the inappropriateness of the manner of expression, it gives me some question about how easy it would have been for conservatives to get an approved poster that was as belligerent as those students desired.
But of course not, because liberals have increasingly allowed themselves a category of censorship that they call "hate speech". Thus if they feel that Hispanics would be offended by mentioning Chavez on a Buchanan poster, or gays might feel offended with having Buchanan's stand on this issue thrown in their face, by all means let's decide how people should express themselves.
"Postings are not permitted on any trees, buildings, walls, doors, windows, telephone poles, wires, fire hydrants, parking meters, trashcans, or public signs on campus. All violators will be charged full restitution for the cost to remove such literature from the unwarranted areas."
Wow. WMU must be comparatively one of the most pristine campuses out there! But if this is not true, then conservative students have resources: Raise the issue with your administration. Everytime you see a misplaced banner or posting, see to it that your administration is consistant about execution of this rule.
Then I would chart the response time of the administration to take down the other posters with the response time to take down the "illegal" Buchanan posters. Also, if the campus allows students themselves to enforce these rules--regardless of whether it is assigned in a class, you've got your marching orders. Remove all unauthorized signs and wait for the squeal.
Wayne, that was beeeautiful. Really. So well put, it brings a humorous tear to me eye.
"Because of the nature of the class (women's studies) the protective atmosphere needed to be maintained and could not be once the students invaded the room."
What exactly in the nature of Women's Studies classes requires the maintenace of a protective atmosphere? And what constitutes a 'protective atmoshpere'?
I cringe at what poor Aaron must have gone through to keep it a penis-free environment.
Nobody Important, why is it that you feel the need to personally attack me without a name? Please, if you have an issue with me, email me and I will be happy to dispel any rumors or untruths you may have heard. (And yes, I am a heterosexual male in a stable relationship)
I think everyone here is missing the point. The issue is not that there were flyers posted or flyers taken down. That happens at every school in this country where liberals and conservatives clash. The issue here is that Matt Hall knew there were no assault because he was not assaulted- again, HE MADE IT UP. I repeat: HE MADE IT UP. There was no assault. Dr. Fisher did not push Mr. Hall. She did box him out, but there was no physical contact because Mr. Hall stepped around her. Maybe you all should have heard, at the very least, someone else's version of event(there were more than 30 witnesses).
From the 4/11/05 Kalamazoo Gazette (it's online):
"That one offended me, and that one was unapproved. It would have been unethical to leave it up," Fisher said.
Fisher said she felt the fliers promoting Buchanan's visit on Cesar Chavez Day were tasteless and racist and that she had told students that poking holes in the poster was a peaceful way to protest.
I think any fair-minded person would agree that Dr. Edie Fisher clearly admitted that her desire to tear down the posters had more to do with their content, not the manner in which they were posted.
The WMU handbbook (page C-122) only permits (but does not compel) "university personnel" (are students "personnel"?) to remove unauthorized posters. The handbook doesn't say who decides a poster is unauthorized or how they go about making that decision -- or offer any remedies for an erroneous removal; or even acknowledge the possibility of an erroneous removal.
Also, "poking holes" in an "authorized poster" might be seen a violaton of campus regulations which prohibit "marking" an authorized poster. Seems that the instructor (she's not a professor) didn't make the distinction between poking holes in authorized or unauthorized posters. I am assuming at least some of the posters were posted in an "authorized" manner but who knows.
The handbbook, all hundred-fifty-some pages of bureaucratic goodness, is online in pdf format at wmich.edu.
It appears, dear Aaron, that you have no clue as to what constitutes a personal attack. Please quote the part of my post that you construe as an attack.
And what is your concern about my name? Had I used a more realistic looking name, say John Smith, how is that in any way more informative? How do I, or anyone, know that 'Aaron Clark' is really your name? And who cares?
Only approved free speech (the oxymoron that it is) can take place on college campuses apparently....
Lauren McClures post gives us an eye witness that says Ms Fishrer DID initiate contact in trying to "get it (the poster) back from him". Wasn't it the students property? Why, if Ms Fisher had no interest in directing the removal of the poster would she take action to retrieve a poster? I think the professor in questions has a very loyal student following in the classroom, but the group think denial is pretty telling. You all should sit down and work on your stories if you hope to protect your professor and keep the truth under wraps.
Caesar dressing? What's wrong with that guy? Caesar dressing has a raw egg, and without proper refigeration - someone could have gotten sick! ;)
I used to work for a University, and we took down every poster that was taped to the paint (carefully so as not to damage the paint) in our building. Why? Re-painting the building would cost about $250,000. For those liberal studies/sociology/women's studies majors out there, that's the next 30 years after graduation working at McDonalds.
From the 4/12/05 Kalamazoo Gazette:
 Fisher acknowledges telling students who asked her that they could remove fliers posted in ways she says violated posting guidelines.
 "My hands never touched Matt Hall. No pushing. No shoving. It didn't happen," she [Fisher] said.
In her answers to Mr. Flynn (just scroll up), Dr. Fisher said:
 I did not direct my [emphasis added] students to do anything to flyers.[spelling?]I think a fair reading indicates she told students they could tear down posters. (Which appears to be an incorrect statement of the posting policy.) She seems to be hanging her hat on parsing with the word "direct". Dr. Fisher also seems to be acknowledging that she had physical contact with Hall -- but not with her hands and not in a manner she would subjectively characterize as "pushing". Hall has said she pushed him (his subjective view now)-- he and Fisher disagree here --and she "boxed him out" -- I think both accounts agree on that. Is "boxing out" an assault?
Let me be perfectly clear--no one got physical with Mr. Hall in my classroom; I never pushed him from behind, from the side, or from the front--THERE WAS NO ASSAULT. Mr. Hall's claims are totally FALSE. Over 30 of my [emphasis added] students were present and can testify to that fact..
I am disturbed at the way Dr. Fisher refers to students in attendance as her students. Has this matter been discussed with them by Dr. Fisher? Can we really expect students who will be graded by her to give honest objective answers? Can we expect Women's Studies students to be fair to a big bad man -- and a Republican to boot? I wonder. I do notice that Lauren McClure's and Aaron Clark's (two students that Dr. Fisher calls "my") accounts are long on subjective opinion and characterization ("Hall is wrong ... or a liar") and short on fact.
Where's instant replay when we really need it?
Wow. I think I need to take a shower, there's so much spit flying around here.
Having gone to a conservative college, I just want to say that it's not that great when the shoe's on the other foot. Whine all you want about liberals in charge of colleges and universities--you guys act the same way when you're in control.
Matt Hall has been a very interesting CR leader to watch from the sidelines. I live in Kalamazoo, know several profs and students, and read the Gazette every day. There's always something going on with that group, as apparently they only exist to offend people and get as much press as possible. Frankly, after other things I've read in the paper and heard around town, I would not trust Mr. Hall's word on what happened. If that's going to get me flamed as having "liberal bias" (a boogeyman you guys seem to see behind every thought and shadow), I'm fine with that.
For goodness sakes, everyone take a break, calm down, and look at what happened as part of a larger problem in our society: no one listens to anyone anymore. All we do is scream at each other, and while our opponent is screaming, we're quickly thinking of the next thing to scream back. The best way to handle this situation would be to try to actually have a conversation about it and see if there's a way to make sure it does not happen again.
Why don't you just come out and admit that you enrolled in a Women's Studies course in order to have a better chance of making out with some insecure chicks...Maybe you could eventually work your way into their panties, eh?!
I don't know who you think you are MIKE, but just because Aaron is enrolled in a women's studies class does not mean he is there to "make out with some insecure chicks". Maybe you should enroll in a women's studies class to learn a little bit, because you obviously have no respect for women. That comment was completely offensive, and you could definitely LEARN something from Aaron. I am also a witness of this event and I can too verify that there was NO ASSULT. I watched it all with my own two eyes, which most of you cant say that. I'm feel sorry for Matt Hall that he has to make shit up to act like he has a case. There are 30 witnesses that saw what REALLY happened. All you republicans can take your leaders side..but we will all see what happens in the end. When you ALL realize what the REAL truth was.
Having gone to a conservative college, I just want to say that it's not that great when the shoe's on the other foot.
Nobody here is arguing for a conservative bias. So that's a non-point. It's also an ad Hominem of the tu quoque variety. And especially so, because it applies to no one who is engaging the argument.
Also no part of the argument is that just any conservative would do a better job. So therefore the existence of campuses that exhibited a conservative bias speaks nothing to the argument, and thus, I don't see an argument that has hinged on the total absence of screwed-up religious campuses.
Also, I think that a conservative college whose policy was "You all had better keep quiet until you learn what some of the Great Minds of Western Civilization have said on the topic" would be consistent with the suppression of some amount of free speech. They will have chosen a certain direction. This might not be ideal for everyone, but you don't have to go there either.
The liberal institution, however, talks out of both sides of its mouth. Teaching "freedom of expression" while deciding that certain juxtapositions are out of bounds. (And certain motives behind those juxtapositions.) Preaching civil disobedience while whining about students disrupting classrooms.
Come to think of it, there might be something that Fisher could have done to prevent the dreaded class disruption, that is not have a trophy Buchanan poster impaled in her classroom. If it belongs in the garbage, why not just put it in there?
So what you are saying is that we are at a standstill when students and faculty try to one-up each other? Sure. But on one side you have a faculty member and the other side you have a student, maybe even a troublemaker. If they are equal in the tit-for-tat, somebody's got something screwed up.
Oh and I would like to add to my comment above, that if any one of you knew Edie Fisher you would know she is a terrific, and loving person and professor. She is highly against any kind of violence (i.e take back the night), and would never lay a hand on ANY student. It makes me sick reading these comments because she is such a great person and doesn't deserve all this shit that is being thrown at her. Remember there is 30 plus students, Edie Fisher, Matt hall and one of his friends that can only tell the truth about what happened.The truth will outweigh the lies because of the number of witnesses that KNOW that no form of assult was ever inflicted on Mr. Matt Hall or anyone else. I feel sorry for anyone who believes this Matt Hall character because he is lying through his teeth.
"I cringe at what poor Aaron must have gone through to keep it a penis-free environment."
It is one thing to disagree with what should be done about Dr. Fisher, or to have differing political views. Once we cross over into the personal attacks, I wonder how much worth I shoud give your opinions.
"How do I, or anyone, know that 'Aaron Clark' is really your name? And who cares?"
As for this comment, I don't know what else to say but taht I sit next to him twice a week.
I too am in Dr. Fisher's WMS 200 class, and I too witnessed the incident. I don't want to get in a long argument about who tore down posters or who carried the bag of said posters. What I care about is that due to Mr. Hall's blatant lies, and false accusations, one of the best insttructors I have ever had might not work on my campus next year. What I care about is that a wonderful woman's name is at stake, all because of a poster.
Did Dr. Fisher assault Matt in any way? No.
Did she push him, kick him, elbow him or anything else of the sort? No.
Did he abruptly and intrusively enter the classroom with out permission? Yes.
Was he told to leave repeatedly? Yes.
While it may be fun for you to argue about dressing, and gossip about who tore down what, you are mislead and off-topic. The issue here is wheter or not a student was assaulted my a teacher at WMU, and I can tell you that the answer is no.
Thanks Shannon. I'll see you in class in a couple of days. As for the idea of me enrolled in a Women's Studies course "in order to have a better chance of making out with some insecure chicks," it is completely false. As I stated earlier, I am a normally functioning (i.e. not emasculated, as Nobody Important earlier implied) heterosexual male in a stable relationship. I have been with my girlfriend for two and a half years, and hope to continue it for much longer. She was actually the one who suggested I sign up for the class, and since I had a general education requirement to fill, I decided to take her advice. I knew nothing of Dr. Fisher before the class. Again, if anyone wishes to discuss this issue further with me, feel free to use the e-mail address posted. I assure you it works and that it is correct, and that my real name (because Nobody Important raised this point) is actually Aaron T. Clark. To Nobody Important: the reason I used my real name is so that no one would attack me for being spineless for not providing it. I have nothing to hide. As I mentioned earlier, if you take issue with me, and this goes for all readers also, feel free to email me. I check it regularly.
While it may be fun for you to argue about dressing, and gossip about who tore down what, you are mislead and off-topic.
No, the topic is "The Story Behind the Campus Assault on Pat Buchanan". That is the assault that the topic is mainly concerned about, and the story is whatever that story may be. Hall's story is one aspect. But it is not the only issue.
I have a new post on this controversy above on the main blog. The post updates the situation and includes Edith Fisher's side of the story. She emphatically denies assaulting Matt Hall, but admits to seizing Buchanan fliers and encouraging some students to do likewise. Dr. Fisher answered a couple rounds of emails this weekend, and her answers are incorporated in the new story. If you are coming to this site from an external link, go to www.flynnfiles.com to read the new post and comment.
If the feminists didn't want their class disrupted, then they shouldn't have disrupted the activities of a student group by vandalising and stealing its promotional material.
What goes around comes around.
This whole incident is ridiculous. What happened to civility and "treating others the way you want to be treated!" This issue is not a conservative, liberal or even independent issue. On the elementary campus the main emphasis today is on "character qualities" like self-control. At most colleges this type of incident is being reported all the time. No wonder families are looking for creative alternatives to EDUCATION. I for one am tired of trying to justify all this "bad" behavior--professor & students alike! My hope is that Western Michigan University takes a long hard look at this incident and gets to the root of this matter. On a side note--I am glad there are "posts" and "blogs" to report all incidents like this one so that people like myself can see comments from those involved and form our own opinion. As a teacher (and parent) it doesn't look good for WMU! This and other incidents has encouraged me to look behind the scenes at my former campus & to find what my alumni $dollars$ are being spent on. What type of educational climate is there? As for Western Michigan University accountability is the name of the game! What would lead to this type of confrontation? What communication (both written & unwritten) would bring about this type of an atmosphere? These and other tough questions need to be asked and researched. Parents (and potential funders) of campuses like this one are looking on and making decisions everyday where to send their children for an education--not indoctrination.
My, MY, My. Sure wish I had gone to " a place of higher learning " when I wore a younger mans clothes. Here I am stuck between slackers and A- types waiting to retire. Come on people, without the left and the right, there would be no viable center. Lets all just kiss and make up and promise to be good doobies from here on out. We need to concentrate our energies on more important issues, like is the moon really made of cheese?
Aaron, it's nobody important not 'Nobody Important' because that's what I am, nobody important. I'm not an ego-filled college professor; I'm not a big name jopurnalist. I post on an internet blog; that's it; there's nothing more to it.
The point I was making about names is that they don't matter in comments to a blog. I'm not going to attempt to verify a that someone posting on a blog is really 'Aaron T. Clark'. What does it matter if someone calls you spineless for not providing a name that seems to be a 'real name'? What if I legally changed my name to nobody important? Does that change anything? And if I did provide my 'real name' what are you going to do? Find out where I live and beat me up? Send e-mails to my friends and collegues that I was mean to you on a website? It's so absurd.
You can challenge what I posted (as you did) here; there is no need to exchange e-mail. I have nothing to hide either, I just don't see the utility in providing a seemingly 'real' name.
Most of Dr. Fisher's defenders are missing the big picture: conservatives are tired of having the full power of the University, the faculty, and the campus leftists drawn to bear on their liberty. And now are pushing back. You don't really expect anyone to believe that your objection to the flyers in question is that they were taped to painted walls, do you? Your true objection is to the content of the flyers and the audacity of conservatives speaking their mind.
And Aaron, good luck with your relationship; I hope it matures into a long, loving one. I've been married to the same woman for more than 22 years and it's been a blast.
While it is true that other student organizations tape publicity materials on painted surfaces, it is equally true that they do not use huge pieces of heavy packing tape to do so nor do they put up more than one poster per wall. One can easily ignore a single poster with a tiny strip of tape; however, it is virtually impossible to ignore dozens upon dozens of the same poster plastering one wall.
As much as you'd like to blame it on the content, the fact still remains it was the process--the blatant, vulgar ostentatious display of disregard for posting policies and practices. The administration has received complaints regarding these extreme abuses of posting policies for YEARS. It is not the College Republicans who are being abused here; it is the building maintenance responsible for dealing with their abuses of policy and the students who are forced to finance their flagrant violations that are the real victims here.
As much as I dislike much of what gets written in these websites, I do agree that it is important to have them for the free expression of ideas. I would like to point out that the students witnessing this event who have come forward to speak on this website have indeed internalized one of the main lessons I tried to teach them--it is perfectly acceptable to challenge and attack a person's ideas and statements, but it is never acceptable to attack a person's character or being. All people are valuable and should be respected as such.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell my students how proud I am of the way they are living out these lessons. No 20 -30 pounds of c-4 strapped to one's chest, no torso full of bullets, no personal attacks of one's gender or sexuality, no character assassinations, no hate-mongering statements. I am glad these websites exist, because we can all see for ourselves who is spewing the venomous hate, and we can all think for ourselves about whether or not perpetuating hate is the path we choose to travel.
Again, congratulations WMS 200 students. You ROCK! May you always be the peace-loving, compassionate activists, and truly respectable human beings you have been representing yourselves to be.
And by the way, "nobody important," while I understand the symbolism behind the pseudonym you have chosen to use on this website, I would just like to mention that although we approach this issue from drastically different viewpoints, I for one, believe you and your opinions are just as valuable and important as Aaron's and as mine. The letters behind my name, the credentials I have earned, do not make my opinions any more valuable than your or Aaron's or anyone else's for that matter.
This is not about conservatives versus liberals, unless we allow it to be. This is about peaceful conflict resolution skills, something about which we ALL need to continue learning and practicing in our everyday lives.
I have been labeled a "liberal" among other things repeatedly in these web logs since this incident occurred. I never accepted any political label for myself, but if wanting to reduce violence and hate while increasing peace and everyone's sense of self-efficacy makes me a liberal, then so be it. If wanting human beings to stop fighting each other long enough to actively listen to each other makes me a liberal, then so be it.
Dr Fisher! You are "proud" of your "students" for not strapping "20-30 pounds of c-4" to their chests (a lesson you claim credit for teaching them), and then accuse the people on this website for "spewing venomous hate." Talk about self-righteous judgmentalism (and an incredible lack of irony)!
I, for one, refuse to congratulate these bourgeois American 19-years-olds (or their professor) for not resorting to terrorism. If this makes me me a 'conservative' in her eyes, then "so be it."
Dr. Fisher is totally right . . . this all about "peaceful conflict resolution skills."
That is why it was imprudent of her to engage in what she calls "activism" in her classroom. I can grant that the CR's violated posting policy and as such could cause damage to the building which would only cost all students financially. But there are surely policies in place to remove those posters and reprimand the organization responsible for them (earlier comments indicate as much). Therefore, at best she was engaged in campus vigilantism, at worst political grandstanding in removing them and collecting them in her class.
Given the theatrical impaling of a poster on a Mexican flag, and her various comments on "activism," I suspect the latter, that is grandstanding, was going on. That being the case then it is small wonder that Mr. Hall *a college student* was provoked into his strong reaction.
Yes, peaceful conflict resolution. Dr. Fisher could have staged a debate in her class about the politics of the CR's or Buchanan but the proper channels should have removed the posters and penalized the CR's for the cost of cleanup. If a student organization does not learn the lesson of having to pay clean up fees then that organization could have its funding taken away by the student council, etc.
That would have been "peaceful conflict resolution."
Sorry to disappoint you boys, but the c-4 and the bullets was a direct reference to comments made on your conservative websites. That was my point; the only ones threatening violence on these sites are supposed conservatives. I, for one, think that gives conservatives a bad name. Surely you are not suggesting that sticking a wooden pole through a piece of paper is the violent equivalent of throwing salad dressing in someone's eyes, beating up opponents, using c-4 and bullets, or writing venomous comments online! Call me what you will, but I believe peaceful protests involve taking out frustrations on inanimate objects while not violating the space and privacy of other human beings. Are you suggesting that we disagree on this?
Not quite so fast, Dr Fisher. You get off a litle too easily with your stereotyping of the right.
Neither the reference to C4 nor the reference to bullets in earlier random comments can be fairly construed as endorsements of terrorism, even though they were stupid comments. Moreover, this message board is hardly homogenous, let alone homogenously conservative. So don't paint us all with the "stupid violent conservative man" brush which get's taught in Soc classes today. For example, I've seen plenty of leftist comments/T-Shirts/signs, etc., encouraging violence against Bush (et al.), but I'm not accusing you (or "your leftist websites") of doing it. So drop the self-congratulatory stereotyping of your political enemies.
Now there's one thing you yourself said that you haven't explained: Why are you *proud* of and *congratulate* your students (and yourself) for not resorting to violence in your activism? (BTW, your innocence has yet to be proven.)
Oh, Dr. Fisher. It's kind of funny. I'm not a "boy," as you addressed me. Personally, I find that insulting. I'm not kidding either. You might call it a "personal attack of one's gender or sexuality." Why weren't you more careful? Maybe there's some unconscious stereotyping going on that needs to be weeded out in a women's studies course.
So this really about a so-called "blatant, vulgar ostentatious display of disregard for posting policies and practices."
Why protest the use of "huge pieces of heavy packing tape" by impaling a poster on a Mexican flag. Was the tape made in Mexico? Or is Pat Buchanan Mexican?
Scratch the surface of Dr Fisher's thin veneer of civility and the sexist female peeps out. Feminism is nothing more than a systematic attack on the character and being of all men.
"Take back the night" marches are hate rallies designed to whip up fear and loathing of men. Anyone who addresses one of these is engaging in hate speech.
No one claimed that impaling the poster was equivalent to throwing food, or even more egregious acts of violence up to and including bomb throwing. Relativizing your act of protest, Dr. Fisher, doesn't speak directly to the issue my comment raised which was whether or not it was a prudent thing to do or if it provoked a confrontation that could have been avoided.
But peaceful protest being equated with "taking out frustrations on inanimate objects" strikes me as an idea in need of further elucidation. I suppose that that standard would apply as well to making effigies, such as a Buchanan doll hanging from a noose which people could beat with sticks like a pinata, or a voodoo doll image of Mr. Hall that students could poke with safety pins. Those seem to meet your standard of "peaceful nonviolent protest." Another example would be Sinead O'Connor's famous tearing to shreds of a picture of the late pope John Paul II after finishing a song on Saturday Night Live.
I suppose if one has a limited imagination, then those acts ARE simply peaceful and nonviolent, certainly they do not rise to the level of physical assualt (assuming, as I do, that voodoo doesn't actually work). The intention in such actions seems to me, however, to be violent; the symbolism is of anger or "frustration" that has boiled over into hatred. Such acts strike me as an intellectual's form of barbarism.
My point is that it is not impossible for me to understand why Mr. Hall reacted so strongly to seeing his poster impaled in Dr. Fisher's classroom and was thus provoked to cause a disturbance (whatever the details of that encounter turn out to be). Likewise, the strong reaction of the viewing public, of Catholics, of the FCC, etc., to Sinead's ripping of JPII's picture was understandable. Frank Sinatra was quoted as saying he wanted to "punch her right in the mouth."
So the only issue I have is whether or not the unauthorized postings for Buchanan's talk by the CR's was responded to in a manner which provoked further conflict, and whether or not that further provocation could have been avoided if the instructor in question had acted more prudently? I am saying yes it seems to have been avoidable. If it had been we would have nothing to gripe about here and WMU wouldn't be getting all this negative attention, nor would a student be facing the possibility of expulsion.
To finish my ana-logy w/ Sinead's stunt; several years later she asked the pope's forgiveness for her attack on the photo of him, calling it "a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel." I therefore propose that this whole affair be resolved by all charges being dropped against Mr. Hall and Dr. Fisher and that they both get together privately and mutually apologize for provoking each other to rashness. Then maybe an impassioned *but organized* debate between the CR's and her class could be staged after which everybody drinks some ginger ale and eats some oatmeal cookies.
Basically I am saying let's grow up a bit people.
Evil Pundit- If you only knew ANYTHING about the take back the night activites. It was a rally to end sexual violence. How dare you insult such a positive thing by saying,
""Take back the night" marches are hate rallies designed to whip up fear and loathing of men. Anyone who addresses one of these is engaging in hate speech."
People who attended the marches was NOT, and I repeat was NOT engaging in hate speech. You obviously have missed the whole point of the event, or perhaps it was the pure lack of information regarding take back the night.
Oh no, conservatives are LEARNING what it is like to live in "an institutional atmosphere where it becomes acceptable to treat people like scum"?!?!?! That's a great lesson for them. Welcome to the rest of humanity, children! Looks like they are getting their money's worth and perhaps society will be a better place.
You wouldn't recognise the hatred, Shannon, because it isn't directed at you. It's directed at men, who are portrayed as violent sexual predators in feminist propaganda.
How would you feel if men marched through the streets protesting against women?
Do you realize how much sexual violence goes on at this campus, and to women in general? How dare you push it away thinking that its just women wanting an excuse to hate men. Take back the night was not for the hatred of men people there didn't hate men. In fact there was men who attended the rally in support for the victims. The thing is Evil Pundit that YOU are the one that doesn't understand because the odds are that you have never been raped or sexually violated in any way, its a different story for many women.The event was purely for the numerous women who have been a victim of sexual violence and their supporters.
And besides the fact...this has nothing to do with the real issue!
Clearly a case of transference, the pious "crusader" against rape expresses her desire to dominate and humiliate by penetrating a Pat Buchanan flier with her Mexican manhood, in essence "raping" the flier and forcing this Hall (a passage ... a vagina?) to witness this and tremble. Castration anxiety. Classic symptoms. Verrrry interesting.
Your last post showed a lot of character in not turning back to slur EP, as I almost expected you to do. This gives evidence that Dr. Fisher teaches what she said.
I think that there is something to what EP says, simply because I've read speeches from other TBTN rallies---but those are other rallies. It is too human a failing to insist that a given event falls into a pattern than to accept that the event can diverge. (But there are always divergeances.) If that is the way that Dr. Fisher has chosen to conduct her rallies, then I can applaud her for that as well.
Here's the problem: 30 years of TBTN and the night, apparently, still belongs to rapists. The healing that I read about going on at these rallies is a good thing, and I don't malign that in the slightest. But the night tends to belong to criminals in many, many cases.
But something else has been going on in order to turn conservatives off on a protest that is essentially against a crime. That is because it often targets not the criminals or the permissive, party atmosphere of modern college life (where these assaults happen), but "society" and an overall "culture of rape" as well.
We conservatives are for punishing criminals. We're for safe streets, an often-ignored aspect of an orderly society with strong law enforcement. And although apparently a seminar can go on with clapping and coughing and trying to drown out speakers and induced vomitting (?!?!?) (here), but a class cannot go on if somebody refuses to leave. Even "liberals" need that much order.
Uh, Shannon, Girls, Aaron. The fact that Women's Studies exists as a college course is kind of embarassing don't you think? I mean you're spending somebody's hard earned money for what? A protective cocoon? I guess Ms. Fisher and others like her (Black studies? Native American Studies) had to do something with their education. It would be too hard in the real world. As as Bob Shrum would say..."I think we can all agree on that".
Wow. Thank you Sea King for not only noticing Shannon's lack of verbal venom but for mentioning it in your post. I appreciate your taking my student seriously and offering her that positive reinforcement.
I agree with you entirely that the focus of some rallies against sexual violence don't give the most useful messages. The TBTN rally at WMU focused on taking responsibility for sexual violence as individuals, as members of a larger community, and as a university. Our focus was on taking the personal responsibility to not participate in sexually violent behavior and to not stand by silently when we know someone else is participating in sexually violent behavior. Our focus was also on demanding accountability from our university, has NO sexual violence prevention resources except a handful of unpaid volunteers with expertise in the field and a few pamphlets. Our focus also included the enormous connection between campus sexual violence and campus alcohol/drug use/abuse. In addition, as you mentioned, the healing through the supporting of survivors speaking out about their victimization was extraordinary. Both women and men came forward to tell their stories. I think you would have appreciated the event.
I also wanted to thank you for your reasonable presentation of self in your writing. Too often those of us who get labeled as "liberals" are only aware of the voices of "conservatives" who appear to hate women and people not of the Caucasian race. It is comments like yours posted on websites like this one that stimulate productive discourse between people with differing ideas. Thanks.
Have Doc Fisher's stoodents browned their noses enough here? Aaron T. Clark, Lauren McClure, what's her sphincter taste like eh? Give it a rest 'kay, I'm sure you got yer "A" by now.
Take back the (pig) night, by tilting one!
"Have Doc Fisher's stoodents browned their noses enough here? Aaron T. Clark, Lauren McClure, what's her sphincter taste like eh? Give it a rest 'kay, I'm sure you got yer "A" by now.
Take back the (pig) night, by tilting one!"
If you knew anything about Dr. Fisher, you would easily know that grades are fairly earned, and never bought. I am not posting here because I want a good grade. I am not posting here because I hate conservitives. I am no tposting here becasue I want to personally attack anyone.
I am posting here however, because I think that the fact that some of you can say the awful things that you say about Dr. Fisher, and TBTN is attrocious. You know nothing about what you are talking about, because if you did there would be no way you could say them without vomiting.
This was my first year at TBTN, and I am so glad I went. TBTN is about peace and love. It is about healing from th wounds that you have suffred, and becoming stronger because of it. It is about not letting people get away with sexual assault anymore, and trying to prevent it. It's about trying to have a campus that everyone, not just women but everyone, can feel safe walking around on, in darkness. It's about walkin to your car at night, and not feeling the need to hold your keys between your fingers. It's about realising that you are not alone, and that it will be okay. It about taking back the night for you, and everyone you care about.
If you want to sit here and try to tarnish the name of such a wonderul night, be my guest, because I don't think you will get very far. But just remember that you are the only person that you have to answer to, and at the end of the day when all is said and done, it is you who holds yourself responsible for your actions.
Calling Dr. Fisher, calling Dr. Fisher, add Meggan Kimmerle to the boot-polishing brigade. She knows your so fair she wants to make sure you have her full name for your grade-book.
'Scuse me now I've goota drink my breakfest -- in honor of Cesar Chavez I'm having Corona.
meggan, please don't take Frat Man's post is not an example of conservative thought; it is an example of idiocy - drooling, depraved idiocy.
But I support his right to establish that fact.
Back in yer cage 'nobody important' or I'll have Aaron T. Clark allover you like salad dressing on a pundit. Meggan can fend fer herself.
I never leave the safty and comfort of my cage. Too many mean people out there. My feelings might get hurt. But thanks for your concern.
Let me extend my congratulations to and express my admiration for Dr. Fisher and her courageous campaign against the environmentally unsound, typically consumerist overuse of heavy packing tape. Who says there's a shortage of heroes, uh, I mean heroines, no . . . well, she's really self-efficacious!
"Calling Dr. Fisher, calling Dr. Fisher, add Meggan Kimmerle to the boot-polishing brigade. She knows your so fair she wants to make sure you have her full name for your grade-book.
'Scuse me now I've goota drink my breakfest -- in honor of Cesar Chavez I'm having Corona."
And yet you some how still manage to not understand why republicans get bad wraps. . .
I have yet to personally attack one of you.
I never said you were an attacker, I said you were a kiss-ass.
What makes you think I don't understand why you hate me? Your arrogance is that you think I care.
I think Shannon and Meggan may be good candidates for that panty raid Friday night.
What? You say your "girlfriend" won't let you participate?
What a wuss!
This afternoon I saw Edie Fisher in the hall and she showed me a flyer that had been hung on the wall. Sorry if it offends you. It read:
Strong Military!!! Weak Government!
Then go bananas with the College Republicans
Spending your Student Activity Fee money
On pizza and assholes for over 100 years.
I asked her where she got it. She said it had been posted in her classroom hallway. It wasn't authorized, and had been taped to the paint, so she took it down. Would you have taken it down?
Would she have taken it down prior to March 31, 2005? My time machine is on the fritz but I'll venture a "no".
Ostentatious displays of fairness are usually a pretty good indicator of actual bias.
p.s. Dr. Bob, don't you have an anecdote that ends with Dr. Fisher saying "some of my best friens are college republicans"?
I just read through about seventy of the posts that were worthy of reading and two thoughts keep coming back to me, A. I really want to see the grades for all of her students who were in the class at the time of the "incident" B. If she was conducting a class at the time why is she so worried about the HEAVY packing tape on the posters? If students are collecting posters and bringing them into your classroom for disposal what exactly was the topic of discussion in the class that day? With all this going on prior to Mr.Halls interuption it seems hard to believe that your class was not in some sort of a disrupted state to begin with.
I am not taking any sides here at all, I come to this site because I am friends with Mr. Flynn, not because I am Liberal or Conservative. I just decided to read through the posts and make my own opinion on it. I can understand her students fully taking her side, it would be quite foolish not to but is there one person from that class that can tell me what was going on in that room that day before Mr.Hall entered the class? By the way I don't want any of the prior posters to answer, I would rather someone who has stayed out of this because I know her students who voiced their names are doing it for a reason, whatever reason will be left up to the critics!!! Peace
Hey Flynny, by the way is there some sort of prize for being the 100 poster on a thread?? lol
As a fellow instructor at a companion university in the state of Michigan (MSU), I wanted to weigh in on the subject. I've also, obviously been a college student at one time, and my past and current situations have led to me pay close attention to incidents such as the ones being discussed here. So, I have a few things I would like to say.
First, whether Dr. Fisher would like to admit it or not, she obviously had the desire to remove the posters for their political content regardless of how they were taped to the wall. It's sad that the CRs provided her with the opportunity to act on her political impulses by posting the sign "illegally" as it were, but nonetheless, I doubt that if the sign were for her TBTN rally and had been posted in the same manner, she would have been as apt to remove it, or suggest that her students remove it.
Secondly, I doubt that there happened to be any sort of physical assault on Mr. Hall. My guess is that he tried to get by her to grab the poster off the flag (which I will get to in a minute) and they bumped into each other. And, I doubt that Dr. Fisher was making it easy for Mr. Hall to get by her, so I would argue there was just some "push and push" going on.
Thirdly, Dr. Fisher has yet to deny that she indeed had impaled the poster on the flag in her room, and I believe one of her posts inadvertantly admits that indeed this did occur. This fact, in itself, eluminates the point that she wanted the posters down for her own political reasons, not because they were taped on the wall in any certain way.
Fourthly, I find it sad that a professor/instructor at any university feels it necessary to promote or orate their political beliefs in their classroom. The classroom is no place for this, even in political science where I teach. It's evident, even in the comments of Dr. Fisher's students that she has made her political perspectives known and at times promotes them in class. I find this deplorable. I have had the priviledge of knowing actual liberal professors who feel the same way. Many of us have the goal of ending the semester and polling our students on where they believe we lean politically and finding that they have no idea. Many professors forget that our students are at a very manipulable age and we develop relationships with them through the course of our engagements and whether we foster this or not, many learn to respect us and emulate us. Some of them get their political opinions from us because they think we're so smart and they want to be like us. I see this in every post from Dr. Fisher's students. This is wrong. We need to teach our students to think for themselves. To study political situations and come to their own conclusions, not our conclusions. By even allowing a student to know where you lean politically you unfairly give them the opportunity to copy you. It's easy for them. I mean, what have we learned as college instructors? Students want the easy way, how can I get an A without reading, writing, or taking an exam, right? It's much easier for them to emulate their professor than it is for them to work hard at developing opinions of their own. You don't know how many times I've heard students discuss politics and just regurgitate whatever propaganda they've heard word for word from their professors, many times when they don't even understand exactly what the professor is saying. Probably the most popular problem is students who repeat the montra that Bush is a facist, but when you ask the student to describe a facist, they have no idea what it means, just that it's bad. Of course they don't know what an oligarchy, monarchy, or theocracy is either, but that's beside the point. I've even been witness to instructors and faculty attempting to politicize students during their office hours. This is wrong and needs to stop.
I fear this is a function of the desire of faculty members to create followings. Everyone wants to leave a legacy, we see it even in the professional side of academics. Gradudate students go to specific schools to work for specific professors and those students are known as "the student who trained under so and so." When they leave they go out thinking about academics the same way their advisor does, good or bad, they end up being another link in the chain. When we go on the job market, the first thing we are asked is, "who did you work with," "who's on your dissertation committee." At many institutions its considered at tenure time. Faculty are evaluated on whether or not they are producing good students, and how well those students have done. So, in this case, Dr. Fisher has created her own little "safe cacoon" as her students call it. Her following, and she likes it. That's why she comes on this message board and congratulates her students. She's mothering them, not allowing them to create their own identities outside of hers. They are "her" (her words not mine)students, "her" little ducklings, and she's patting them on the head for a job well done. And they'll take it, and smile and be happy because they've pleased their mother.
Finally, in regards to the political nature of the actual signs that were posted, believe me, I've seen much worse posted all over MSU, written on sidewalks, stapled to bulletin boards, and painted on the big rock in front of my building. And all of it has been liberal in bent. You should see some of the signs hanging on the doors of faculty members and graduate students. Columbus day is one of the worst. I feel personally insulted at some of the things I see on Columbus day. Actually, I feel personally insulted every day just walking down the hall to my office. The first thing I see is a sign that has an American soldier, but with a Nazi arm band, and the caption reads, "It's not Facism when we do it." The irony in this is enough to make you throw up. The sad fact is if we lived in a facist state, the individual who posted this sign would not be allowed to post it. Then we continue down the hall and find an essay posted on how the Christians are all evil bigots. I'll stop here, but you get the picture. I mean we could talk about all the side-walk art comparing Bush to Hitler, and the weekly editorial in the campus newspaper that compares Christians to clinically insane people, but we don't have the time. The difference, here Dr. Fisher, is that while I disagree with what's being said, I haven't suggested to my students that they should tear down these signs, whether posted illegally or not, or crash these rallies, or even write the newspaper. My students are active enough politcally on campus without my help or my persuasion, and as far as my students are concerned, I'm proud to say that many of them have publically acknowledged that they have no idea how I lean politically, and I've actually had students say they believe I am something that I'm not. This is probably a function of my willingness to play devil's advocate at times to spur classroom debate. And that, I believe, is how it should be.
Future PhD's post seems a good way to end this discussion. If you haven't read it, please do--there's a reason why it will be the last word on this thread. If you have more to say on this topic, I encourage you to continue the debate on the April 13 post updating this story. Comments are closed here.