I’ve always found it pretty interesting that you can get college students animated over things that happened miles and miles away from where they are, but that they tend to clam up when you confront them with actual restrictions on their liberties close to home.
As exhibit A, take the protest against the
Tonight we’ve found a new cause du jour: that of Lawrence King. King, 15, was brutally gunned down inside a junior high school computer lab. Prosecutors are calling his murder a “hate crime” as many of the students who taunted King allegedly did so because they thought he was "gay."
To raise awareness, students are marching by a candlelight vigil from McKenna Auditorium through the Claremont Colleges.
As someone who was also called “gay” in middle school, I can empathize with the kind of torture he went through, but I can, of course, never know the kind of sorrow his family is going through right now.
But that doesn’t mean we need hate-crime legislation or prosecution. After all, as
But by calling it a hate crime, politicians can do their typical grandstanding and student groups can do their typical activism. California Assemblyman Mike Eng feels its now an appropriate time to have a re-education program for tolerance.
"We need to teach young people that there's a curriculum called tolerance education that should be in every school. We should teach young people that diversity is not something to be assaulted, but diversity is something that needs to be embraced because diversity makes
the great state that it is," Eng said. California
At the Claremont Colleges we’re very used to these kinds of sensitivity trainings and the threats that happen when we speak out of line.
The gentlemen were talking about an alleged hate crime – the QRC “attack” – and they were giving their opinion. It wasn’t a hate crime, they said.
And why wasn’t it? Well, for starters, they say the alleged attack occurred next to the QRC and involved drunken kids messing about with a fire extinguisher. There were no messages left, no property permanently damaged, and no typical M/O for a hate crime.
But that didn’t stop The Student Life’s Lindsay Mullen from treating it as one. How very responsible journalism post-Kerri Dunn!
I called Ms. Mullen afterwards to see if she had spoken with anyone other than the QRC and the administration about the incident. She seemed puzzled and encouraged me to go to the QRC. I asked if she had spoken with the firemen who arrived on the scene or anyone involved in the incident. She hadn't. Maybe next time she could have done a little leg work and found someone willing to talk about the incident.
Back to the students...
Those four students saw Ms. Mullen's article in TSL and mocked it ceaselessly. Little did they know, someone sitting down table from them was listening in on their every word. She reported the students for their conversation. She felt threatened.
In fact, Dean Holmes met with all the students to intimidate them. She, along with a campus safety officer, ambushed one of the students right outside of the dining hall and forced all of them to come in and give their statements.
I asked Dean Holmes for a statement about those statements. No comment. She does not comment on private conversations she has with students.
That didn’t stop the student who reported the incident, who by the way still hasn’t put her name on record about the incident, from blagging about it to TSL.
In a tucked away corner of the Security Briefs (p. 2, February 22, 2008 issue), the incident made its way into TSL. (link not available)
Let me reproduce it for you here.
SADLY, NOT A JOKE
A student reports overhearing the following discussion among three male student at a dining hall: "If I want to take out my frustrations, I would go to the QRC, and if I want to kill someone, I would go to the QRC." Officers respond along with a dean. They identify one of the students, who identifies the others.
Now is this a concocted statement or what?
I spoke with one of the students. He confirmed it. Definitely a concocted statement.
"No one said that. It's not even possible. We actually make fun of the statement. It sounds like something a robot would say," said the student who asked that his name be withheld.
The threat to liberty is to borrow a phrase, "sadly, not a joke."
So let’s hold a candlelight vigil for having private conversations without being reported! Dean Holmes can lead the way.