Monday, September 06, 2004

DAAP bullying crosses the line.

While Senator Yvette Fellarca's SB18 bill (the one that would have the ASUC officially condemn the Heuristic Squelch and demand an apology from us to a select few ethnic groups on campus) is in and of itself a bullying tactic, her recent attempt at "negotiations" with Senator Ben Narodick have proven too underhanded for me to support on any grounds. In short, Fellarca promised to withdraw SB18 if Narodick promised to sponsor two of her bills, one pertaining to the removal of regent Ward Connerly, the other in support of affirmative action. While tactics like these are perhaps commonplace in grown-up people government, and while Yvette most likely feels she is simply "politicing," this attempt at coercion is distasteful to me.

It indicates to me that SB18 wasn't penned in an attempt to ameliorate campus racism, but was instead written as leverage. That Fellarca was all too willing to withdraw a bill about which she had previously seemed so vehement in exchange for Ben's cooperation shows that she is not interesting in altering students' views of racism on prejudice on campus; instead, she would like to strong-arm students into seeing through her lenses. She doesn't care that Ben might not support her two other bills, nor does she care that any apology she could squeeze out of the Squelch would be insincere.

These tactics are an unfortunate route for Yvette to take. She and I both are women of strong convictions; though I may not always agree with her, I respect the fact that she is willing to fight to have her ideas expressed. We differ, however, in our choice of means of communication. Many of the official statements of DAAP, for example, offend me as a "non-racist white person," but I would never feel it was my right to stifle or condemn these statements; to repeat a popular if not over-used adage, this is America, and we can say what we want.

Though Yvette's attempt at coercion was unsuccessful (my Benjamin has convictions, after all), she has shown that she cares more about pushing a certain agenda than squelching (no pun intended) campus racism. I hope she and every ASUC official learns that, crass though we may be, the Squelch takes its rights very seriously, and we will not "negotiate" those rights away.


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