Guest Commentary: University of Florida’s Liberal Obsession

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 1 of December , 2007 at 1:42 pm

By Ashley Emans, University of Florida

On November 13, several student groups at The University of Florida held a viewing and a panel discussion of the documentary film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Fliers advertising the event (which had of course been repeatedly torn down by free speech loving liberals) contained the phrase, “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.” Now the university administration is demanding an apology from the five hosting student organizations: College Republicans, Law School Republicans, the Jewish Law Students Association, the Jewish Student Union, and Gators For Israel. This is likely the direct result of Islam On Campus lobbying the highest ranking UF officials, including President Bernie Machen, for an investigation into the event and its advertising.

Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin, sent an email to every single UF student on Monday, November 26 that explained the university’s disapproval of the advertisements and asked for an apology and clarification. The letter was slavish, bland, hypocritical, and disappointing. In it she fell all over herself in a rush to restore the Gator universe back to its proper leftward rotation.

“At the University of Florida we have embraced a set of values, one of which is diversity. Diversity is not just about having representation from various cultures on campus, it also is having each member contribute to an inclusive and safe environment and collectively enhancing our understanding and appreciation of the richness brought by such differences.” wrote Telles-Irvin. UF does so much hand-wringing over racial/ethnic/class/gender/religious diversity, yet it shuns the most important type of diversity a college could ever give: diversity of thought. Conservative impulses are swiftly suppressed, in and out of class, just as the Obsession kerfluffle has proved. Dr. Telles-Irvin and the rest of the administration apparently believe students who feel threatened by radical Islam have forfeited their rights of expression by not falling in line with what is the acceptable opinion according to them, namely that you are not allowed to fear radical Islam.

The email also said, “In an academic setting, differences of opinions are strongly encouraged, yet such opinions must be based on accurate information when describing other members of the community.” Her claim here being, I suppose, it is false that radical Islam wants you dead. Not until I received the email did I realize this point was still debatable among anyone, especially since radical Islam has been so carefully quarantined off from regular Islam by the movie, the media, and the government. Gee, if radical Islam does not want us dead, I wish I knew why all these terrorist attacks keep being done to us Westerners by adherents to radical Islam who murder in the name of radical Islam. Also, I can say firsthand “differences of opinions” “in an academic setting” are actually discouraged if you are a conservative, here as at nearly every other university.

Telles-Irvin hits all the fuzzy buzzwords, some multiple times: “diversity…open and accepting environment…inclusion… feel safe on our campus…understanding…appreciation…valued…respect…”&c. ad nauseam. Ask any conservative student here if they feel they are in an open and accepting environment, included, safe, understood, appreciated, valued, and respected by their professors and the university administration because of their political views. A definite no.

“I encourage each member of our campus community as a start to learn more about the religion of Islam and some of its tenets of peace, hard work, charity and compassion.” Yikes, more homework? Just kidding, I actually think it is a great idea. Since we are talking about diversity and all, how about making students understand my Christianity too?

UF is continuing its time-honored tradition of being an appendage for liberal policy: it will only concern itself with the wellbeing of the minorities groups, except it is to the detriment of everyone else. The 1960s liberal lovefest never ended on America’s college campuses, and the “anti-establishment” flag is still flying high. Yet the anti-establishment has not noticed that it is no longer the anti-establishment; it is the establishment. This means their actions affect the whole now and not just them. The problem is they still refuse to account for opposite opinions.

All is reversed now. Liberals rule, and they have effectively forced a majority to stand silent. To view a movie about terrorism, or to see some strains of Islam as an existential threat on par with Communism, or to support the War On Terror, or to revere Bush…now that is anti-establishment.

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Category: Higher Education,Religion of Pieces

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LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.