Est. May 2008

12 January, 2017

Open Letter to My Alma Mater

To: University of Wisconsin – River Falls, Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

As a graduate of UW-RF ('92), I found the following Campus Reform article disheartening. Up until today, I was proud of being a UW-RF graduate.

Now, not so much.


With the mounting evidence that universities and colleges nationwide are evolving into little more than high-priced daycare centers for young people with the emotional strength of Waterford crystal, however, it doesn't surprise me; what does surprise me is that it took this long to happen.

Certainly, some of the language you've listed (and yes, I read the list) can be construed as inflammatory; I won't deny that. In fact, quite a bit of language can be construed as inflammatory. The problem is, what is inflammatory to one may not be inflammatory to another.

For example, I would use the word 'bitch' to indicate a female canine; I would use the word 'faggot' to indicate a bundle of sticks used for fire-starting; I could use the word 'retarded' to describe the slowing of a moving object by another object; I would have to use the word 'ghetto' to describe the restricted living areas of Jews in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation because that's the word that's used in the textbooks. The question arises: would your campus-wide 'speech-informants' understand the context?

And yes, the Campaign would have to use informants to report any and all use of 'wrong speech'. Will they be able to determine the difference, or will they be told to 'go by your feelings', since many of the examples you list are just that – dependent upon feelings. Will the accused be forced to 'stand trial' before the Campaign and defend him/herself, or will, as so often happens, the accusation be considered proof of guilt? Because as much as you may say, 'We'll have exceptions, of course', historically-speaking, 'exceptions' have been altogether too thin on the ground.

Your necessary informants, whether 'professional' (trained by the Campaign) or 'amateur' (going by gut feelings), smack loudly of Germany in the late '30's through 1945, and of the old Soviet Union. The Geheime Staatspolizei and the Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti made great use of informants; perhaps the name would have to be changed, though, to make it more fitting: may I suggest the Ausschuss für Universitätssicherheit or the Komitet bezopasnosti universiteta?

Or to simplify the gathering of incriminating evidence even further, perhaps the Campaign can provide the most recently-updated University of Wisconsin's Newspeak Dictionary, and installing telescreens in every room on campus?

Am I being hyperbolic? Again, considering the spread of university and college 'speech codes', I don't think so. In fact, I'm sure those schools which have adopted such codes are already employing informants, whether they have done so actively or passively; considering the number of 'speech code' violations which have already been reported, I would say that the collegiate versions of the Gestapo and the KGB are alive and well.

A word to the unwise: censorship may work for a time, but inevitably it will turn on its practitioners and bite them in the ass.

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