Taking down signs was justified
I was quite humored to open The Badger Herald yesterday and read myself described by lecturer Perri Morgan as one of “large men,” who attacked “women” and “small people” with “vigilante crowd control.”
Of course, that wasn’t quite as funny as the assertion that there was some element of sexism involved, considering the first person to physically confront the protesters was a middle-aged woman. As for myself, I was honored to be described as large (adding the word “muscular” would have been nice too), though I am actually a little under 5-10, 150 lbs. Barry Alvarez hasn’t exactly been recruiting me to play linebacker.
Nevertheless, as a New Jersey native who nearly lost family in the terrorist attack on New York, the rhetoric of the missionaries quickly became unbearable. While I was still under the impression (which, thankfully, turned out to be false) that a friend of mine had indeed lost both parents in the assault on the World Trade Center, three religious extremists paraded in front of the stage with slogans that included “What happened in New York was nothing.” Just minutes earlier, I had been photographed by the Badger Herald, mourning the loss of my neighbors with my head stuffed in a black fleece (9/17/01, Page 9).
Now, from the vantage point of my front-row seat, coming to the assistance of a middle-aged woman attempting to tear down a banner of hate seemed to be the least I could do. It was not until almost a minute later, when there was still no sign of the police, that a third person, yes, a man, physically carried one of the protesters away from the stage area.
As Americans, we all have the right to free speech. What we do not have a right to do, however, is prevent other Americans from engaging in that same right. In other words, the three women from Oregon had every right to stand outside Bascom Hall and Memorial Library with their signs, as they did earlier that day. But it was a violation of our right to free speech to so rudely interrupt Friday’s rally. I make no apologies.
Give it up already
Please don’t write any more editorials complaining classes weren’t cancelled last Tuesday. Get over it. The administration couldn’t cancel classes on such short notice. The decision was correctly left up to individual professors, many of whom did cancel classes. Some students wanted to go to class to discuss the tragic events or just to be around other fellow Americans who care.
For those who wished they could skip class, you probably could have. Most classes allow at least one absence for personal reasons. We stand behind this university and believe there are a lot more important things to be worried about. Sorry you had to go to class and get an education.
Tiffany Brown and Stephanie Miller