April 27, 2009
When the UNC Chapel Hill chapter of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a national organization devoted to protecting the history and identity of Western Civilization; invited Tom Tancredo, a former U.S. representative from Colorado, protest was not unexpected. However, the lengths that the protesters took to get their point across would cause a window to be broken, police intervention and possible Honor Court proceedings for any student involved.
Tancredo was there to speak about his disapproval of the DREAM Act. It would allow undocumented immigrants access to citizenship and in exchange they must complete two years of higher education or military service.
“You have to respect the right of people to assemble and collectively speak,” said UNC graduate student Tyler Oakley, the student who organized the protest. This student has a valid point, the First Amendment guarantees every U.S. citizens right to freedom of speech. However, in an effort to be heard the protesting students violated the same right they wanted to protect.
This was no peaceful protest; although, there was no violence involved the intent of these students was clear. They wanted Tancredo silenced. And minutes into his speech Tancredo fled the university after two students stood in-front of the classroom he was making his speech in and spread a 12-foot banner across the front of the room and soon after a protester was hitting a window outside of the room so hard it shattered.
Is it really free speech if a group decides that your opinion is not valid and will stop at nothing to make sure you are never heard? Freedom of speech is supposed to be an open exchange of ideas without being persecuted for having certain beliefs. It is acceptable for students not to agree with the beliefs of the YWC and their speaker Tom Tancredo. However, once the police were involved it rapidly became unacceptable. The behavior of these students portrayed them as ignorant and closed-minded individuals. The same image they attempted to cast upon Tancredo. And in their attempt to suppress the issue from being discussed, it was thrust into the national spotlight. Drawing attention to the dysfunctional protest and not the issues they championed.
March 23, 2009
“We are very concerned that our students off-campus receive the same protection as students on campus,” said Council Woman Goldie Wells at the community forum about off-campus security held March 16th at A&T. After the recent killing of A&T student Dennis Hayle in February and Derek Hodge on April 26, 2008; the city of Greensboro and the university have been forced to address safety issues at student housing complexes in the city.
The university, the city of Greensboro and student apartment complex representatives have admitted a breakdown in communication between themselves and students and are attempting to find ways to establish it. However, they are off to a slow start with hardly any students in attendance. And the only students present were members of the student government, newspaper and alumni. With the exception of a young woman who attends A&T. She shared a frightening story about a home invasion.
Greensboro and the A&T police department are working together and have established plans to help ensure the safety of students living in apartment complexes surrounding the university. But with boundary and jurisdiction issues a recurrent problem it is hard to imagine how much these two will accomplish together.
With off-campus students scattered across Greensboro, what happens to students who live in apartments that do not surround the university? How will they benefit from a safety plan that is only targeted towards students living in areas that are in-close proximity to A&T? As it was pointed out my several people in the forum crime can happen anywhere, so why were these students overlooked.
The most disturbing part of the forum was that no one addressed their thoughts on why so many students are moving off-campus. With over 10,000 students attending A&T and not enough housing to accommodate everyone; students are forced to seek other housing options. In 2007 only 18 percent of students who attended A&T lived in on-campus housing. How can they effectively protect the students residing off-campus without compromising the safety of on-campus residents when the majority of their students live off-campus?
March 16, 2009
Once again a search committee has been assembled with the hopes of finding a new chancellor to head the University. Since 2006 A&T has seen 3 chancellors come-and-go. This makes finding a replacement for Chancellor Battle a challenge. After a money mishandling scandal and now alleged tensions between staff and Battle over University standards. The job of A&T chancellor is not very appealing.
A&T is rich with history and tradition. Unfortunately people have been so focused on what the school used to be, they are neglecting the issues happening now. Battle was on a one man quest to help A&T, and had rave reviews from students, faculty, Coppin State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It is still hard to understand why someone would just walk away from it all, but the search must continue.
The ideal candidate to be Chancellor of A&T was and will continue to be Stanley F. Battle. He is a compassionate individual who put the needs of the students first. He listened and his actions are a reflection of that. He understood that change was necessary for the success of this University. With a laid back attitude he was very approachable. Never afraid to mix and mingle with the students on campus. He was known for his hands-on approach when dealing with any situation. And sadly that may have been his downfall.
Every good leader needs a good cabinet. And as power changes hands the cabinet members or in this case the administration should step down. This is to ensure that there is full cooperation from the staff. One person can not do it all. With out the positive support provided by fellow administrators it can be overwhelming. So who ever is chosen for the job may want to consider some changes from within. Despite his abrupt resignation Battle has made a template for his successor to follow. After recent events it is clear that this person must be strong-willed. They must be ready to take-on anything. This person should definitely be younger than the University’s past chancellors. They should be able to bridge the gap between the past being the administration and the present being the students. They must not be afraid to make enemies and do what is in the best interest of the University. And they have to stick around no matter what.
March 9, 2009
A Conn. woman was mauled by her friend’s pet chimpanzee and two days later President Obama signed the stimulus bill. Who would have guessed that two seemingly unrelated events would be the catalysis for a nation-wide debate on race-relations?
The controversial cartoon by Sean Delonas published in the NY Post depicted two police officers shooting a monkey and the caption read, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” For many the monkey in the cartoon became a painful reminder of racism in this country. For others it was a negative reflection on the stimulus package. Unfortunately, for few it was a reminder of Charla Nash, 55, mauled by a chimp that was later shot and killed by police.
The general consensus feels as though this cartoon was a direct insult against President Obama, because he has been the biggest supporter of the stimulus package. And the caption is irrelevant to them because it was no coincidence that a monkey was used in the cartoon. It was found to be so offensive that community leaders and organizations have called for the boycott of the NY Post and the resignation of cartoonist Sean Delonas and editor-in-chief Col Allen.
The real question is when did it become not okay to have an opinion? The reality of the situation is that an editor can look over every item a million times to make sure that it is politically correct and not offensive to anyone; however, you can not please everyone. You can change the race of the officers in the cartoon, change the monkey to a kangaroo and put in big bold letters “this cartoon has nothing to do with President Obama” people will still interpret it the way they want to.
Let’s suppose this cartoon was a direct insult toward the president. Is political satire off-limits while President Obama is in office? Are people upset because cartoonists are satirizing President Obama because he is a black man or a man in a position of high power? Political officials have been the victims of satire for many years. So, why should President Obama be the exception?