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Coulter Wrong Choice

Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." What a charming lady.

The College Republicans have recruited this breath of fresh air - the ultra-conservative and always antagonistic Ann Coulter, who has made a name for herself spewing unsubstantiated venom in her books and columns, to come lecture at UConn at a price tag of $16,000, the most expensive speaker in school history funded by you, the student, through our Undergraduate Student Government which voted to approve the funding for this event.

Emily Salisbury, a USG senator who voted to bring Coulter to UConn is also listed as Chairwoman of the College Republicans, according to UConn's political student organization detail web site, which is the group sponsoring the event. Salisbury presented the idea to the funding board meeting on Oct.10. At this meeting and at the time when the USG senate voted to decide to fund the event, it was brought to her attention that this may be a conflict of interest and not allowed under the vague outlines of the USG constitution which leaves the question of a voting conflict of interest at the discretion of said senator. Other senators who are members of the College Republicans also voted to fund Coulter and bring her to our campus. Coulter has said women should not have the right to vote and once told a disabled Vietnam veteran people like him were the reason we lost the war.

Aside from the fact that Salisbury, as a USG senator and member of College Republicans, may have demonstrated malfeasance of duties by voting and securing funding for Coulter to come to UConn, which under Article XIII, section one of the USG constitution is grounds for impeachment, it is the poor choice the College Republicans have made for a speaker that is striking a disappointing chord with students.

Certainly the College Republicans are looking to promote discourse on campus, creating the opportunity for a forum of ideas and opinions, a noble endeavor. They may be looking to put UConn on the map by securing a high-profile, controversial speaker. Yet, based on Coulter's history, it is difficult to imagine that the ensuing discourse from this planned event will be civil at all, but rather violent and offensive and will prove to serve no academic end. Free speech is a right and a necessary part of democracy, however, when we invite someone who is widely known to make racist remarks toward Muslims and gays and who calls for the violent end to all liberals, at our own expense no less, it becomes a threat, not a right.

Would you pay someone you do not know, who claims they hate you, $50 to show up at your dorm room and barrage you with ridiculous claims that you are going to hell, unpatriotic, and probably a terrorist who should be eradicated? How about $16,000? With that money we could have given a financially disadvantaged student an education they otherwise couldn't afford, added it to the hurricane donations or replaced a few stolen laptops. Instead we are spending it on a wealthy, white woman who realized she can make a living saying ridiculous things. I'm not sure Coulter herself even seriously buys into the absurd things she spouts off.

After formal pro wrestler turned ignoramus Warrior spoke last April at the Dodd Center (an event also sponsored by the College Republicans) and verbally attacked members in the audience and members of the campus community in general, the College Republicans released a written apology to UConn. In it they wrote, "We acknowledge and regret our great error in inviting a speaker who poorly represented our views." So am I to assume that the woman who said, "News magazines don't kill people, Muslims do" and will be coming to the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts better represents the group's views? The letter also said, "We are united in our disapproval of the Warrior's presentation. We hold ourselves to high standards, and when we fail to meet them, we take full responsibility for our faults."

So after what occurred last year and after a written apology to the campus, they are hosting a speaker who is known to make remarks just as bad as the ones made by the Warrior and setting the stage for a potentially explosive and offensive shouting match. Perhaps they enjoy drafting apology letters.

The policy statement on harassment from university President Philip Austin's office states, "The University of Connecticut reaffirms that it does not condone harassment directed toward any person or group within its community," and that "Every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate humiliate or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem."

When the College Republicans invited the Warrior to speak, it turned out to be a direct violation of this harassment policy as many students and groups were denigrated by the very speaker they invited. It confounds the mind why they would chose an even bigger icon for unfounded extremist attacks and risk violation of this policy again.

There are so many other speakers to chose from that could still represent the conservative view the College Republicans wish to spread. Speakers that could be taken seriously in an academic atmosphere - Coulter, however, is not one of them. She represents a partisan circus that hurts America and because of the actions of certain USG senators and the College Republicans, we are supporting her, feeding the flames of incalculable ignorance where if it were just ignored, it would disappear and we would all be better people for it.

People this far to the right eventually run into the same radicals on the left and all we are left with is anger, bitterness and division from pointless bickering amongst ourselves. Our university should not stand for this, nor encourage it.

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