February 19, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Response to a Response

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To the editor:

Last week, Isaac Schorr ’20 wrote a pretty divisive letter to the editor concerning the Class Council gala fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. In the space below I’m going to discuss both Isaac’s letter and the campus response it received.

Saying that Planned Parenthood is a divisive organization isn’t a novel claim. Nor is the claim that the Class Councils, who purport to represent the interests of their corresponding classes, shouldn’t plan events fundraising for divisive organizations. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if the gala were raising money for the NRA … huge backlash, maybe even riots? It’s funny because the NRA is an organization which 53 percent of Americans view favorably according to a Gallup poll, as opposed to Planned Parenthood, which 62 percent of Americans view favorably according to another Gallup poll published a day before the former. I guess that difference of nine percentage points sure mattered a lot when the Class Councils were taking these matters into decent and careful consideration.

Now, I’m not writing this because I’ve got a vendetta against the Class Councils. They made a decision, and whether I like it or not, that’s the decision that was made. That’s just how things worked out. But the way in which Isaac was treated, the berating (perhaps harassment) that occurred over social media for expressing a legitimate concern with student governance, was disgusting. It was indefensible. He was called mediocre, told to die, threatened with torture (involving wasps) and targeted numerous times on the basis of his race and gender. So here are some thoughts, concerning both the perpetrators of these acts and any student who is invested in campus discourse.

Regardless of whether you agree with him, or even agree with the existence of conservatives on this campus, he did exactly what a student of any race, gender or creed should do in a moment of disagreement. He didn’t draw swastikas in the snow. He didn’t chant slurs or provocations at marginalized groups. He didn’t commit any form of physical assault. He wrote a letter to the student newspaper, where he expressed a genuine and thoughtful concern.

When a conservative disagrees with campus initiatives, would you prefer they write foul and abusive comments on social media targeting their peers? Or should they instead participate in thoughtful discourse, so that they can educate and be educated in turn?

Weston Barker ’21