Skip to comments.The Old Rubber Cross
Posted on 04/30/2012 3:17:01 AM PDT by Kaslin
Dear President Ransdell:
As a supporter of Hilltoppers for Life, I am deeply concerned at the way its pro-life display was vandalized on April 20, 2012. I am perhaps more concerned with the way Western Kentucky University (WKU) officials have responded to this criminal action. As this story continues to unfold, the facts suggest that at least one WKU official knew in advance this vandalism would occur. Later, several officials did nothing to stop it. This is simply inexcusable in a climate of higher learning.
As you already know, Hilltoppers for Life erected approximately 3,700 crosses in order to commemorate the number of babies aborted every day in the United States. On the morning of April 20th, Elaina Smith, an art student at your university, began placing condoms on each of the crosses. Members of Hilltoppers for Life confronted her peacefully and asked her to stop. She simply refused to do so. This young feminist did not seem to understand that no really means no.
When campus security officers arrived, they did nothing. That bears repeating: The police simply sat there and watched her break the law. That kind of laziness is appalling. It makes me wonder whether your police have tenure. Unbelievably, Ms. Smith told them she was completing an approved art assignment by desecrating the crosses. And the cops actually bought her my professor made me do it defense!
Your April 24th statement claims that Ms. Smiths professor, Kristina Arnold, did not really intend to target the pro-life display. Unfortunately, Dr. Arnold contradicted that when she told WBKO that she did not disapprove of Ms. Smiths proposed vandalism. She admitted that she knew of it in advance and did nothing whatsoever to stop it. So who is lying? Is it you or Dr. Arnold?
Other comments indicate that Arnold actually condoned Ms. Smiths acts. For example, she smugly stated, Learning and debating are not always pretty or polite processes. Critical engagement with ideas can get messy. But nowhere in her statements did she indicate that critical engagement also involves respecting the free speech rights of fellow students. Professors should also know that no means no.
While it is encouraging to hear you say that you and your fellow administrators value free speech, so far WKUs actions have not demonstrated that it really understands the First Amendment. When student freedoms have been criminally violated, issuing private assurances and holding secret meetings falls short of the mark. You preside over a public university, not a secret society.
I have already seen some of the internal emails in connection with this unfortunate event. The most notable comes from Ms. Smith and contains the following admission: During the week of April 16th, the Hilltoppers for Lifes pro-life display remained un-interrupted. The student body tolerated this intrusion without major incident. The voice of the pro-life community was heard. On the last day of this event, I attempted to add to the visual dialogue with my own voice and was met with strong resistance.
The very idea that one of your university students deems others speech as an intrusion and the desecration of other peoples property as an attempt to add to the visual dialogue is simply dumbfounding. This makes perfectly clear the need for immediate action in order to correct her fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between vandalism and free speech.
Accordingly, I suggest that Dr. Arnolds art students be sent on a series of assignments for full academic credit that will help them better appreciate the difference between protected speech and unprotected violations of the Kentucky criminal code. The following assignments should teach them that their actions are not always protected even when they are in possession of 3700 condoms:
*Go find Elaina Smiths Prius in the WKU parking lot. Adorn it with 3700 Abortion is Murder bumper stickers. Then ask whether she thinks the stickers add to the visual dialogue on the abortion debate.
*Go find Dr. Arnolds office on the campus of WKU. Adorn her door with 3700 pictures of aborted babies. Then ask whether she thinks the pictures add to the visual dialogue on the abortion debate.
*Photo-shop a picture of Jessie Jackson holding a condom saying Dont be like me. Suit up and avoid an unexpected love child. Tape the picture on the door of the African American Center. See whether this visual creates a better dialogue.
*Next, photo shop a picture of the prophet Mohammad with a condom over his head. Tape the picture on the door of the Muslim Student Association office. See whether you can get the NEA to defer your costs.
*Next, go to the campus Gay and Lesbian Center. Burn a rainbow flag just like the hippies who burn the American flag. And make sure its their rainbow flag. Remember to tell them you are just trying to expand the visual dialogue even after the room is filled with smoke!
I can imagine no better way to promote equality and learn about the First Amendment all at once. Just have your students insult everyone while trespassing on their personal property. If people get angry, thats their problem. Learning is not always pretty and polite. And critical engagement can sometimes get messy.
Why didn’t the pro-lifer just remove the condoms? I would have. I would follow right behind her and remove each one after she put them on.
and she put put then right back on again
Thst's the person the campus cops would have arrested.
I must commend the writer for the suggested remedial plan - it is sure to improve the dialogue...
Yeah, some of those ideas sound pretty good. Or how about this: When some student political group like the Democratsor the Socialists put up posters, design a stencil which fits exactly over their poster, and matches their basic design, but completely reverses the meaning; then go around campus and spray paint the stencil over all of their posters.
Mike Adams gold. This is a keeper for so many other ‘dialogues’ with liberals.
I think you miss the whole point of the controversy.
I think the solution might have been to simply follow this vandal around and remove the condoms she was placing on the display. Then mail the entire lot of 3,700 to Sandra Fluke. That should be enough to last her for a weekend.
Thanx Kaslin, this might very well be Mike’s best column to date.
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Here’s something someone e-mailed conservative sci-fi writer John C. Wright concerning the matter earlier on in the month, and he put it up on his blog. It is pretty funny and awesome, especially the remarks/replies of Officer Comedian to the apprehended vandals. This is one where the vandals were caught and the police acted.
He is ineed.
Since a year’s supply of condoms cost college students $3,000 (according to Sandra Fluke), she could have simply removed and kept the condoms for later disposal, and there’s no way the woman could’ve afforded to keep replacing them.