Letter to the Editor: Feb. 14, 2018

In last December’s issue Jimmy Graham, a sophomore Business major argued that UW-Parkside was unlike “many colleges” who “discourage free speech”. To some extent, I agree with Mr. Graham, since UW-Parkside does not inhibit the free exercise of constitutionally protected speech. But that is about all that I agree with from his argument.

Mr. Graham, like many other conservatives, lazily confuse “free speech” with the freedom to be free of the consequences of their ostensibly free speech. Moreover, many across the political spectrum, erroneously labor under the illusion that all speech is constitutionally protected; this too is a mistake.

While Mr. Graham may have had some negative experiences, they hardly compare to the institutional suppression of speech by others in this country, against those who suffer far greater consequences than his, for far longer periods of time (Colin Kaepernick being one particularly salient example).

I find it hard to credit his assertion that DePaul “did not promote free speech whatsoever”. If that were true, that school couldn’t have any curriculum in the social science or humanities, given the centrality of free speech in the classrooms to those disciplines. Indeed, it’s consistently ranked in the top 50 or top 20 film schools in the nation and in the top 25-18 drama schools in the nation thereby illustrating the absurdity of that claim.

He incredulously argues that the cancellation of his invited speaker was based on claims that “his views encouraged violence”. Surely Mr. Graham recognizes that universities have an in loco parentis responsibility to protect its students from violence wherever and whenever it might occur.

There’s certainly sufficient evidence that the mere appearance of some of the favorite conservative speakers (Milo Yiannopoulos for example) will predictably trigger a response in others to vigorously and sometimes violently, react to their presence. Thus for Mr. Graham to bemoan the cancellation of this event is tantamount to him gleefully looking forward to such reactions if only to substantiate claims, that university campuses are bastions of intolerance. When in fact, those institutions are doing their level best to ensure no one gets hurt and public facilities that we all pay for are kept intact.

In keeping with the espousal of his not too subtle ideological critique couched in a compliment, Mr. Graham then argues that “DePaul…is not the only school that is silencing the voices of conservatives” and that “across the country it is becoming seemingly more apparent that only one kind of thought will be tolerated”. Leaving aside how Mr. Graham’s many experiences with multiple universities across the country have equipped him to make such broad generalizations, his conclusion that public universities are somehow– in plain sight no less –stifling student speech by willingly hiring faculty with the knowledge that they’ll censor students in their classrooms, while paying them – is laughable in the extreme.

Mr. Graham’s diatribe traffics in the worse kind of political propaganda by reproducing a false persecution complex replete with anecdotal evidence, but woefully lacking in actual evidence or data to substantiate his claims. I’m glad he loves Parkside, but it’s no different than most public universities and their commitment to protect constitutionally protected speech as best as it can.

 

Michael Johnson Jr., Ph.D. Lecturer and Faculty Advisor, The Center for Liberal Studies

UW-Parkside’s hand in National Make a Difference Day

On Saturday Oct. 26, University of Wisconsin Parkside will celebrate 13 years of involvement in National Make a Difference Day. The national day is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine who started the event over 20 years ago to encourage people lend a hand in their communities. In recent years, there have been close to 3 million participants nationwide on every fourth week of October.
Last year, Parkside had a total of 120 students working alongside other community volunteers. Over 60 agencies have been invited by the school this year to submit specific project requests, and there are currently around 160 students signed up for the event.
Parkside volunteers will meet for breakfast in the student atrium at 7:45AM. After breakfast, t-shirts and directions to assigned project sites will be handed out. Project sites for this year’s mission include the Pringle Nature Center, Racine Zoo, Petrifying Springs, River Bend Nature Center, and the Racine Urban Garden. Many of these projects consist of ground cleanup and construction. Students at sites such as Women and Children’s Horizons in Kenosha will be sorting donations of clothing and household goods for victims of sexual and domestic violence/abuse. The Student Nurses’ Association at Parkside (SNAP) will also be doing blood pressure checks for veterans at Stand Down in Kenosha.
The Student Activities Center offers help for students in recording their volunteer hours from this specific event. Also, every year an award is given to the student club/organization with the highest number of participants. Last year, The Outstanding Participation honor was awarded to the Ladies of Gamma Alpha Omega in first place. The UW-Parkside Track & Field Teams came in second place, and the Parkside Asian Organization was awarded third place.
Each site requires a specific number of students to complete their project, so every hand in this mission makes a huge difference in the community. You can stop in to the Student Activities Center to sign up for the event. For any further questions regarding Make a Difference day contact UW-Parkside Volunteer Programs Coordinator Casey Jones at casey.jones@uwp.edu.

By Doria DeBartolo

LGTBQ Center presents: Gender around the World

On April 16 the LGBTQ club hosted the “Gender around the World” presentation in the Oak Room. For those that may have missed it, the presentation was very informational and provided an insight into the misconceptions some have when referring to gender. One of the main things to remember when talking about gender is that it is not interchangeable with sex; they are very different terms. Sex refers to the biological characteristics that differentiate men from women. A clear example of this is that men have testicles, while women do not, and women ovulate, while men do not. These are characteristics of the sex of a person. Gender, on the other hand, refers to socially constructed roles of men and women. The roles, characteristics, attributes, and behaviors that a society associates with either a man or a woman all fall under the umbrella of gender, not sex. It is important to remember that these two terms do not mean the same thing. A person could be a male in terms of sex, but when it comes to gender they could be female, or vice versa. It all depends on the established constructs of the society they are living in.

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Comic book creator visits Parkside

This week will prove exciting for Parkside students and staff as John Porcellino will be visiting our campus to both speak and conduct a workshop for anyone interested in attending. Who is John Porcellino? For those that aren’t familiar with the name, Porcellino is a creator of comic books and is best known for his self-published, mostly autobiographical mini-comic series King-Cat, which happens to be one of the longest running mini-comics around today. Porcellino has been at it for over twenty-five years, creating comics, graphic novels, and mini-comics, including King-Cat which he started writing and illustrating in 1989. He has been considered an inspiration to the modern comic creator given the style of his artwork and what he has been able to accomplish for the medium.

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Wisconsin Coach Lines extends bus service to Parkside

A new route has been extended to UW-Parkside that was put into effect Sep. 1, 2012. Wisconsin Coach Lines/Coach USA Milwaukee has included a stop at the Tallent Hall parking lot bus shelter here on campus in order to cater to student commuters in the area. The new route operates on the following schedule:

Northbound, Monday through Friday: 3:40 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
Southbound, Monday through Friday: 8:20 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.
Southbound, Weekend/Holiday: 6:35 p.m. and 10:10 p.m.

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