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Students Share Mixed Responses to George/West Collection (“condoning homophobia?” at Swarthmore)
The Swarthmore Daily Gazette ^ | February 13, 2014 | Isabel Knight, Martin Froger-Silva and Eduard Saakashvili

Posted on 02/15/2014 2:03:34 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Robert George ‘77 and Cornel West’s collection on Monday, hosted by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, culminated a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, known for their friendship despite of their strongly opposing viewpoints, intended to build community and discuss questions like “What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’”

The event was expected by many to be controversial, with rumors of student-led protest in the form of a boycott of the event or a rally after the collection, but no such protest occurred during the collection. Prior to the event, many students voiced concerns with the College’s choice of speaker in George, who is known for his strong opposition to abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage. Some queer students attended the event wearing shirts that read “Beneath Human Dignity,” a reference to a George quote in National Review magazine about the New York gay marriage decision in June 2011. Students also created a zine which opposed tolerance of George’s viewpoints, stating that by doing so, we would be “condoning homophobia.”

After the talk, many students expressed dissatisfaction with the event, saying it did not accomplish any meaningful community-building or address substantive issues.

“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative,” Erin Ching ‘16 said.

On the other hand, some students acknowledged the lack of large-scale protest as progress for the campus.

“The atmosphere in that room was definitely tense but though there were many who didn’t like Robert George, they all had respect for the space and the event and the norms we’ve developed here. This is frankly a big step forward,” Andrew Early ‘16 said.

Despite widespread disagreement with George’s views, students mostly agreed with Cornel West’s remarks, saying he was “wonderfully engaging,” “lovingly intelligent,” and “simply the best ever.”

The collection began with History Professor Tim Burke introducing the two speakers and emphasizing the values of collection. Both George and West focused on a commitment to self-criticism, and not holding on too firmly to one’s beliefs. George and West’s lengthy opening remarks left enough time for only a few questions. The first was posed by Jacob Adenbaum ‘14, who honed in on George’s stance on same-sex marriage.

“You talk a lot about recognizing that you’re wrong. So on issues such as gay marriage, the way we treat people in our society, what would it take for you to realize that you’re wrong and admit it? And my question for you, professor West, is you talk a lot about the humanities as a project that’s dedicated to the self. So I have to ask, isn’t it selfish of you to go on tour with and provide a platform for a man who has dedicated so much of his professional career dedicated to denying the rights of others?” Adenbaum asked.

George responded, “Who is your friend? The people backing you up, or the person who is saying ‘You’ve got an awful lot of certainty about your conviction. Maybe you should stop and think about the possibility that you’re wrong.’”

He followed with an explanation of the process by which he came to his views. According to George, he would be compromising his integrity if he were to cater his beliefs to the majority. To him, following popular opinion would mean contradicting the conclusions he came to through rigorous intellectual discourse.

West responded, “I don’t think I’m providing a platform for this brother at all! I’ve got a number of persons throughout my whole life that I [have disagreed with]. I’m engaging in dialogue so that many people who would come to see him and come to see me can be exposed to a variety of perspectives on the issue.”

The collection followed a small group meeting in the morning, with about 12 student participants. Renan Meira ‘17, a participant in the small group meeting, had a more favorable view of the small meetings than most students did of the collection.

“We had a philosophical discussion about what it means to engage with people who don’t share the same views as we do, and about the role of truth and how to find it and whether or not there is a truth and the students agreed that there is no capital T truth, because a lot of things just come down to faith and what you believe in. But Robert George believed that there is a capital T truth, which is why you have to keep discussing and keep engaging,“ Meira said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: college; conservatism; cornelwest; homosexualagenda; lavendermafia; pennsylvania; robertgeorge; swarthmore
The money quote: “What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative,” Erin Ching ‘16

Sounds like a group of overprivileged, elitist kids indoctrinated by their leftist professors. BTW, it looks like one of the student reporters is the son of famous former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

1 posted on 02/15/2014 2:03:34 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“You can’t say that here! This is a liberal-arts college!”


2 posted on 02/15/2014 2:10:11 PM PST by RichInOC (Palin 2016: The Perfect Storm.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The big liberal umbrella of diversity and inclusion has plenty of room for everyone.

Except for those who don’t think and believe exactly the same as the liberals


3 posted on 02/15/2014 2:10:13 PM PST by Iron Munro ("Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime." - Lavrentiy Beria (& Eric Holder))
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To: RichInOC

“Gentlemen, no fighting in the war room!”


4 posted on 02/15/2014 2:12:33 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Liberal Arts Students: Their minds are so open that their brains fall out!


5 posted on 02/15/2014 2:15:13 PM PST by miserare (2014--The Year We Fight Back!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What an idiot. These kids deserve mommy’s basement.


6 posted on 02/15/2014 2:15:25 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Over $50K a year to become/continue to be a liberal ass.


7 posted on 02/15/2014 2:17:15 PM PST by EEGator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Heh. Exactly the scene I had in mind.


8 posted on 02/15/2014 2:42:22 PM PST by RichInOC (Palin 2016: The Perfect Storm.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The me the point is they believe there is no truth..the problem is then why would you seek what you believe does not exist..at that point you no longer reason..you rationalize what you want to believe is true you have no point of reference for critical thinking....floating ground
9 posted on 02/15/2014 2:48:00 PM PST by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What I gather from this is these kids are on the same dope their parents were at that age. Gosh! The country doesn’t stand a chance with this many generations so fouled up.


10 posted on 02/15/2014 2:51:20 PM PST by Thank You Rush
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
If you are not a homosexual, you must be a homophobe.
11 posted on 02/15/2014 3:05:03 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Moslems reserve the right to behead anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
So on issues such as gay marriage, the way we treat people in our society, what would it take for you to realize that you’re wrong and admit it?

George should have just come back, "So what about polygamy since we've already had a ruling on it in Utah; what are your views there?" The brave little fella would have been tongue-tied as the indoctrination on the point hasn't been sufficient as yet.

12 posted on 02/15/2014 3:13:45 PM PST by gusopol3
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So a conservative opinion doesn’t count in this “diversity of opinion”?

Ms. Ching, be careful about ever entering a library. You don’t want to be so badly frightened.


13 posted on 02/15/2014 3:24:32 PM PST by thecodont
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Despite widespread disagreement with George’s views, students mostly agreed with Cornel West’s remarks, saying he was “wonderfully engaging,” “lovingly intelligent,” and “simply the best ever.”"

Most intelligent thing I ever heard from Cornel West say.

14 posted on 02/15/2014 3:34:59 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (This is brilliant.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Clearly they have read, or been educated by those dedicated to Herbert Marcuse's notion of Repressive Tolerance
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.[14] Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc

15 posted on 02/15/2014 4:04:07 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: tophat9000

The liberal view is now:
You think you are right and I am wrong, therefore your judgmental views are wrong. Because I hold no solid opinion, I am thereby right all the time regardless of the topic.

But because nothing can be wrong except absolutes, everything immoral becomes acceptable as long as not done to excess.


16 posted on 02/15/2014 5:46:04 PM PST by tbw2
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Erin Ching has a mind like a steel trap... That’s been sprung


17 posted on 02/15/2014 6:34:04 PM PST by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: tbw2

But excess is a moral judgment so excess done not exist


18 posted on 02/15/2014 6:53:45 PM PST by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: Flick Lives

No he has a mind like a steel crap...
The reality is our school just feed these kids minds the equivalent of a steady junk food diet..its McEducation complete with Ronald McDonald clown professor’s and happy meal degrees..no wonder these kids graduate and end up living in mommy and daddy basement


19 posted on 02/15/2014 7:05:27 PM PST by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This is the one that says it all about the current college generation:

"...the students agreed that there is no capital T truth, because a lot of things just come down to faith and what you believe in. But Robert George believed that there is a capital T truth, which is why you have to keep discussing and keep engaging,“ Meira said.

For libs the only absolute in life is What's Happenin' Now. Which has probably always been true for a large portion of young adults such as this girl, in an insular academic setting. But now the larger society not only encourages such thinking, but reinforces, applauds and even demands it. One wonders how long "discussing and engaging" with hold-outs will be "allowed."

20 posted on 02/15/2014 7:17:58 PM PST by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
...we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views...doesn't sound as though Swarthmore students have become any brighter since we townies used to call 'em "Turkeys" when I grew up there sixty years ago.....
21 posted on 02/15/2014 9:13:15 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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