Marquette Warrior: February 2005

Monday, February 28, 2005

American Indians and Nicknames: Dodging the Data

In a January 27 article in the Marquette Tribune, one Joshua Cronin took us to task for citing a representative national survey of American Indians that showed that 90 percent don’t find the name “Redskins” offensive. This after we had criticized a survey Marquette University fielded that had the clear intention (although it apparently didn’t work out that way) of getting students, alumni, faculty and staff to say that the nickname “Warriors” is offensive. He says:
I find it ironic that McAdams had such a critical eye for the Marquette survey, yet cited and accepted the University of Pennsylvania survey that found 90 percent of American Indians had no objection to the “Redskins” nickname. After performing a bit of research on the University’s survey, I found that there are many scholars and academics that are critical of the survey and its findings. These scholars and academics included professors from a number of notable universities and colleges who research and study issues facing American Indians, the relationship of race, and the media.
We, of course, provided a detailed critique of the very biased Marquette survey. Cronin provides no critique of the University of Pennsylvania survey. He just claims that “many scholars and academics” are “critical” of the survey. Of course they are. It’s very inconvenient, given their politically correct views. But they have no coherent explanation as to what’s wrong with it.

He doesn’t name any of these “professors,” but he apparently has in mind affirmative action hires who have “Multicultural” in their titles. One wonders whether Ward Churchill was one of the “scholars and academics.”

Cronin then changes tact and seems to admit that most Indians don’t object to Indian team names, but goes on to argue:
The fact is that some number of American Indians will be offended and it is up for debate whether the symbol is in fact racist. The question is whether we should take the risk of offending any number of American Indians?
He seems to be saying that if any Indians are offended that is good reason not to use “Warriors” as a nickname. But this argument gives huge power to tiny minorities, allowing them to shut up speech that they happen to dislike. Would Cronin ever say that we should not be willing to offend “any number of fundamentalist Christians?”

And suppose that the minority claiming to be “offended” is a group of hustlers who are clearly playing the “race card” and trying to intimidate people because it shows their political power?

Does it matter to Cronin that a large number of alumni are offended that the team isn’t called Warriors?

Finally, Cronin floats yet another argument, and says that surveys don’t matter:
Unfortunately, no survey will give the answer to any moral question. An act is either right or wrong independent of popular opinion.
The problem here is that Cronin has just argued that it’s immoral to “offend” Indians, and whether a group is offended is an empirical question, which one can answer with survey data.

And of course, American Indians are perfectly capable of making their own moral judgments. They have done so, and they don’t agree with the politically correct crowd on college campuses.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Why Not Warriors?

The following is an essay first published on the Marquette Law School web site, reprinted here with permission of the author.

Why Not Warriors?
By Mark Kapocius

Was Marquette University’s decision in 1993 to replace the Warrior mascot with the Golden Eagles the right thing to do? Absolutely not. In fact, it may have been the worst decision ever made in the history of the school. Not only was the process fatally flawed, but also the supposed rationale for the decision lacked substance.

When Marquette, under the direction of Rev. Al DiUlio, arbitrarily and capriciously decided to change the nickname, it was a complete surprise. In classic liberal paternalism, Rev. DiUlio said that “it was simply the right thing to do, and the decision will not be reversed.” Translation: “I know what is best for you. Don’t question me.” Afterward, in an attempt to appease the disgruntled students, an election took place to choose a new mascot from two options: Golden Eagles or Lightning. Votes of “no change” and “Warriors” were ignored. Apparently, this passed as student involvement.

But at no point in the process were students or alumni involved in the decision to drop Warriors. The student government of Marquette, ASMU, was completely left out of the process. Despite the best efforts of students at the time to open the issue up for debate, dissenters were summarily silenced. College Republicans selling t-shirts that merely stated, “We will always be Warriors,” were swiftly reprimanded and shut down by university officials despite being given prior approval by the Office of Student Life. Alumni groups were also shot down even after DiUlio’s departure. According to Mary Schmitt Boyer, Marquette alumna and sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, organized efforts through the national alumni clubs to examine the possibility of reviewing the decision were shut down when the alumni office told the volunteer club leaders they’d lose their positions if they persisted.

What fueled the fire of dissent was that the reason for the change was never articulated. It appears that the reason for the change was because officials presumed the Warrior mascot to be offensive and racist. The problem is that their presumption is wrong. The offensiveness of Indian mascots has not been proven and Indian mascots actually serve the opposite effect: recognition and respect.

Marquette University originally chose the nickname Warriors out of respect for Native Americans. Mascots, in general, are chosen because of the traits they embody, like valor, courage, bravery and leadership. You would not elect a nickname that you would consider inferior and it would hardly be racist to call someone brave or courageous. Much like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Boston Celtics, or the Mequon Homestead High School Highlanders, nicknames referring to an ethnic group are chosen out of respect for the peoples they represent.

Ironically, the decision to change the nickname is a complete reversal of the University’s position less than a decade earlier. An official 1983 Marquette basketball program describing the history and tradition of the mascot, First Warrior, states that, “the symbol for Marquette University’s intercollegiate athletic teams represents the spirit, dignity and strength of the name Warrior. The primary function of the symbol is to serve as a rallying or focal point at intercollegiate athletic events, while promoting cultural awareness of the American Indian.”

The Warrior of Marquette gave recognition and respect to Native Americans and the First Warrior was a source of pride to Native Americans. In fact, the First Warrior symbol was “conceived by Native American students at Marquette. The suit is representative of the six Wisconsin woodland tribes ... and after a year of work and 1,067 hours of Lila Blackdeer’s time, the suit was completed ... Mark Denning, a junior from West Allis, Wis., is the First Warrior,” the 1983 Marquette program said. Additionally, only a Native American student could play the part of First Warrior.

Marquette, among others, assumes that Native Americans are offended by the use of Native American mascots. According to a Peter Harris Research Group, Inc. poll, found in the March 4, 2002, Sports Illustrated, 83 percent of the Native Americans polled said that professional teams should not stop using Indian nicknames. Even the most apparently offensive nickname, the Washington Redskins, had an approval rating of 69 percent from Native Americans. There is also ample evidence that the various Native American nations that are represented by colleges and universities support the use of their names and identity. The University of Utah (Utes), Florida State University (Seminoles) and Central Michigan University (Chippewas) are all examples of schools that have consulted with their respective Indian Nations and have been endorsed and encouraged to continue the use of the names. Why? Because they cast a favorable light on their heritage, similar to the Irish, Celtics, and Highlanders.

Marquette’s Warrior was not meant to be offensive and is not decried as offensive by the vast majority of the group it purports to offend. Marquette completely overreacted to a controversy that never existed.

My adversaries will undoubtedly present arguments from various committees and organizations calling my position racist and insensitive. However, these groups need only look at the case of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. The NCAA’s Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee recently told the university to change its insensitive nickname, the Braves. The problem is that Pembroke’s administration and students don’t want it changed. Pembroke was originally founded as a college for members of the Native American Lumbee Tribe and the current administration and student body is still significantly Native American. Pembroke chose its nickname to honor their heritage and they don’t need NCAA committees, or other sanctimonious organizations, to tell them what is, or is not, offensive. As the Lumbee Tribal Chairman Milton R. Hunt proclaimed, “the Lumbees don’t want the NCAA to meddle with this” To us [the Brave] is a part of the University’s name, and the Lumbees would consider it an insult if it were changed. We don’t have to have you (the NCAA) tell us what’s offensive.” UNC-Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Allen Meadors vows to defend the school’s ties to the Lumbees. “We’re going to fight this because it is not appropriate for the NCAA to order us to remove it because the American Indians cherish having the brave emblem” and it symbolizes their “integrity, courage and the ability to overcome all odds.”

So, why does it matter to me? After all, it’s just a name, right? Except being a Warrior means something. I am still a Warrior and always will be. Similarly, many students, alumni, faculty and staff of Marquette have an emotional connection to Warriors that was bred in us over years of loyal support and allegiance. Cutting off that connection, without any rationale or compelling reason given, is why there is still anger. Tradition has value and words define us.

After ten years, it’s time to make the change back to the Marquette Warriors. From the whimsical decision, to the sham election, to the faulty logic behind the change, the whole nickname issue is an embarrassment. The current mascot, which looks like a chicken, is a painful reminder of the University’s knee-jerk response to political correctness. Yet, a sign of maturity is admitting mistakes and taking action to remedy one’s mistake. With all due respect to Rev. Al DiUlio, he was wrong. It was not the right thing to do, and the decision needs to be reversed.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

More Tribune Hypocrisy

It was utterly predictable. The Marquette Tribune endorsed the right of Ward Churchill to speak at the University of Wisconsin -- Whitewater.

Churchill, in case you have been paying no attention at all to the news, is the University of Colorado professor who compared the victims of the 9/11 attacks in the twin towers in Manhattan to Nazi Adolph Eichmann.

In the context of robust support for free expression on campus, this is most certainly a defensible position. Unfortunately, that’s not the context at the Tribune. The paper’s liberal editorial board sided with the Marquette administration in shutting down a College Republican display raising money for an organization supporting American military snipers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

When one is taking positions based on ideological bias and not logic, the proffered “logic” will tend to be strained. And this is certainly true of the Tribune editorial. It asserts:
Churchill should be allowed to speak, since the basis of his address does not appear to be directed at reiterating or in any way concern his earlier remarks on the subject [of 9/11].

What is more, Churchill was not invited to Whitewater to speak specifically on the subject of 9/11, but rather on the subject of “Racism against Native Americans.”

A rough equivalent to this would be asking Jerry Fallwell [sic] to speak at Marquette not on 9/11 and his remarks on the subject, but rather on the popular perception of the Baptist religion.

While neither Fallwell [sic] nor Churchill are experts on terrorism and socioeconomic motivations thereof, they are both experts in their respective fields, and an unimpeded academic community would ideally not overlook this.
In the first place, while Falwell’s comments in the wake of 9/11 were certainly controversial and arguably ill-considered, he never ever supported the terrorists.

In the second place: how likely is it that Falwell will be invited to Whitewater (or Marquette) and offered $4,000 from the institution’s money for coming?

But in the third place, Ward Churchill is hardly an expert on “Racism against Native Americans.” He is in fact an academic charlatan who writes stories of Indian victimization that aren’t supported by any primary sources, and who in fact has lied about even being an Indian. A bona fide expert on “Racism against Native Americans” might be a good person to have speak -- although such an expert might very well be a white male.

In the fourth place, Churchill’s virulently anti-American attitudes can’t be divorced from his view of “racism” toward Indians. They are part and parcel of the same vicious worldview. Having him speak on racism is like having a Holocaust denier speak on the foreign policy of Israel.

Some idea of how utterly vile Churchill is can be gained from an interview with Satya, an e-zine that bills itself as being concerned with “vegetarianism, environmental advocacy, animal advocacy, social justice.”

Satya: That brings me to one question, which is, in general, people like to think they’re pretty decent. They don’t like to think of themselves as violent or complying with a system that is oppressive...

Churchill: Heinrich Himmler viewed himself in exactly that way. He was a family man, he had high moral values, he’d met his responsibilities, blah, blah, blah—a good and decent man in his own mind.

Satya: Do you think that applies to most American people?

Churchill: In the sense that it applied to most Germans [during the Third Reich].
One can, of course, defend the notion that “provocative” speakers should be brought to campus -- even if they aren’t academic experts, and even if their views are entirely disreputable.

Again, this notion is defensible if consistently applied. But when is any university going to pay $4,000 to some White Supremacist or Neo-Nazi to give a “provocative” speech?

The Tribune goes on to commend the Whitewater administration for a “compromise" solution, and opines:
This attempt toward balancing competing interests is an idea that Marquette should use as a model in developing constraints for the student government, particularly in the wake of the highly publicized “Adopt a Sniper” incident. To avoid the appearance of censorship of political organizations, organizations that, rightly or wrongly, enjoy a priveleged [sic] status within the First Amendment, the university should publicize constraints or qualifiers that come with the restrictions, to make the restrictions less arbitrary and to give Marquette students a voice in the process of establishing the acceptable level of public discourse.
Is this a retraction of their earlier support for shutting up the College Republicans? Certainly, the “restrictions” invoked to stifle that group were arbitrary to the point of being incoherent.

One has to suspect, however, what then “competing interests” are “balanced” views on the right will continue to be shut up, and those on the left will continue to be tolerated. At the Tribune and the Office of Student Development the “balancing test” will mean what it means to the U.S. Supreme Court: we will go thought the motions of considering both sides, and then will come down on the side we happen to like.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Real Indians Don’t Mind “Redskins”

From the MSNBC web site:

“Redskins” mascot acceptable, poll says
More than 90 percent of American Indians not bothered by name
The Associated Press
Updated: 2:21 p.m. ET Sept. 25, 2004

WASHINGTON - A poll of American Indians found that an overwhelming majority of them are not bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins.

Only 9 percent of those polled said the name of the NFL team is “offensive,” while 90 percent said it’s acceptable, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey, released Friday.

Annenberg polled 768 Indians in every state except Hawaii and Alaska from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20, 2004.

The survey found little disparity between men and women or young and old. However, 13 percent of Indians with college degrees said the name is offensive, compared with 9 percent of those with some college and 6 percent of those with a high school education or less. Among self-identified liberals, 14 percent found the term disparaging, compared with 6 percent of conservatives.

The franchise began in Boston as the Braves but was purchased in 1932 by George Preston Marshall, who changed the name to honor head coach William “Lone Star” Dietz, an American Indian. The team kept its monicker after moving to the nation’s capital in 1937.

The name and feather-wearing mascot have since been challenged.

A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademarks in 1999 on the grounds that the name disparages American Indians in violation of federal trademark law. But last year, a federal judge ruled the team can keep its name, finding insufficient evidence to conclude it is an insult to American Indians.

Some Indian leaders are still pressing their case, noting that many schools with similar mascots referencing Indians have made name changes in recent years.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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What Has Bush Wrought in the Middle East?

David Ignatius, reporting from Beirut, in the Washington Post (Wednesday, February 23, 2005; Page A19).
The leader of this Lebanese intifada is Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community and, until recently, a man who accommodated Syria’s occupation. But something snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus.

. . .

“It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq,” explains Jumblatt. “I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.” Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. “The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”
It’s way too early to judge whether this sort of optimism is justified. But it’s patent that, in his clear vision, Bush is playing for very high stakes. He has placed himself not only in the idealistic mold of Ronald Reagan, but in the tradition of Democrats John Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson. The cautionary note is obvious: under Wilson the disasterous Versailles Treaty was imposed on Germany, and he failed to forge a foreign policy culture that would prevent America from sliding back into isolation in the 20s. And Kennedy’s idealism led directly to the horror of Vietnam.

But it’s not 1918, and it’s not even 1961. Perhaps history is on Bush’s side.

It’s too early to celebrate, but it’s not too early to hope.

No “Warriors” Decision at March 2 Trustees Meeting

The Trustees meeting next Wednesday, March 2nd, will not take up the “Warriors” issue, sources at O’Hara Hall confirm.

The next meeting after that will be on May 4th. The issue will almost certainly be considered, and a decision made, then. Any further delay would be an embarrassment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

“Operation Liberals Love America”

I got this too late to post ahead of the event:
College Democrats at Marquette, as a part of its on going effort to involve Marquette University students and community members to Support Our Troops around the world, promote the ideals of peace, and to promote the ideals of a Jesuit University, will hold a Support Our Troops Drive on Wednesday, February 23rd from 9:00am-5:00pm in the Alumni Memorial Union on the second floor.
I wandered by the display today, and saw the College Democrats selling bracelets of various types, the proceeds from which went to support the USO and The Hunger Site.

The inscriptions on the bracelets read “Support Our Troops,” “USA” and (the only one that sounds mildly politically correct) “Cultivate Peace.”

I couldn’t help but think that the College Republicans would have been inclined to add “. . . by killing terrorists” to that inscription.

Naming the thing “Operation Liberals Love America” is more than a little bit defensive. Liberals do labor under the burden of having a fair number of nasty anti-American types on their side of the political spectrum. But at Marquette, those seem to gravitate to organizations other than the College Democrats.

Last I knew (and we all know how quickly student organizations can change their plans) the College Democrats and College Republicans were planning to jointly sponsor a debate on the Iraq War. Such events should be a refreshing alternative to the single-minded propaganda that too many event organizers seem to favor.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Dennis Ross to Give Public Lecture

Dennis Ross is the 2005 visiting Allis Chalmers Distinguished Professor of International Affairs and a real heavyweight on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Ambassador Ross was a key figure in trying to broker peace agreements during the Clinton Administration.

Thought by some of the more radical Palestinian activists to be too “Zionist,” Ross is in fact a moderate who believes both in a Palestinian state and in Israel’s right to exist within secure borders. If some sort of genuine accord between the two sides is actually possible, Dennis Ross is the man to tell you how it will happen.

The talk will be in AMU Ballroom E, on Tuesday, February 22, 7-9 p.m.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Media Hypocrisy on Campus Speech

It wasn’t entirely a surprise when the Marquette Tribune supported Marquette’s administration in closing down a College Republican fund raising table for the “Adopt A Sniper” program. A whole generation of young liberals (and this certainly includes Tribune staffers) has been taught that if one finds any particular expression “offensive” or “insensitive” one should try to shut it up.

Free expression has become passé.

One might have hoped that the liberal students at the Tribune would identify with their undergraduate cohorts – even Republican cohorts. But there was no such expectation with regard to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Quite predictably, they too applauded the stifling of the conservative group.

But if the College Republicans can get no sympathy from the journalists, what about Ward Churchill? Churchill, in case you haven’t been paying any attention to the news, is the University of Colorado professor who applauded the 9/11 attacks, and opined that the people in the Twin Towers in fact were asking for it. To quote him directly:
To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.
So what happened when it became an issue whether Churchill would be allowed to speak at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater? The Journal-Sentinel supported his right to speak! Recognizing an apparent contradiction to the editorial they had run just days before on the “Sniper” controversy, the paper pontificated that:

Of course, academic freedom is not absolute. We thought Marquette University acted properly when it shut down a student booth with a slogan that cheered killing in an “Adopt a Sniper” effort.

But, so that a university can fulfill its mission of education through a vigorous exchange of ideas, the freedom to speak on campus should be broad enough to permit Churchill’s appearance.

In the first place, the slogan used by the “Adopt A Sniper” program didn’t “cheer killing.” It said “1 shot, 1 kill, no remorse, I decide.” That’s an accurate statement of the sniper’s job.

Even Marquette didn’t claim that the slogan “cheered killing.” The official University news release said the rhetoric of the snipers group “could be widely misinterpreted as having a cavalier attitude toward the taking of a human life.”

Could be widely misinterpreted? By whom? Ninnies who can’t face the reality of war?

There is no room for “misinterpretation” of Churchill’s statement. He really does “cheer killing.”

Of course, there are differences between the two situations. The College Republicans weren’t getting any money from Marquette, but Ward Churchill is getting a large speaker’s fee from the UW – Whitewater. Those, like us, who believe that Churchill has a right to speak don’t have to support his right to get a lot of money extracted from students in the form of an “activity fee” for his hate speech.

Marquette is a private university, and has the right to restrict speech at odds with its “Catholic Mission.” Indeed, the Journal-Sentinel, in its editorial said that:

Marquette, moreover, is not a public institution, but is instead - as its mission statement proclaims - “a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge.”

Its dedication to what it sees as moral values needs to be seen in that light and so does its decision to close down the campus “Adopt a Sniper” program.
In the first place, does anybody think the liberals at the Journal-Sentinel would endorse this argument if it was used to shut down some group that they liked, such as the Gay/Straight Alliance?

Secondly, just because Marquette has the right to stifle speech it doesn’t like doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. If a “vigorous exchange of ideas” and a broad “freedom to speak on campus” is good at Whitewater, it’s good at Marquette.

Unless, apparently, it’s Republicans who want to speak.

It’s long since time to recognize the dirty truth: liberals, as a body, don’t believe in free speech. Oh, they will certainly invoke the concept when somebody tries to shut up people on the left. And some really do - although they seem to be fewer and fewer. But for liberals in the mainstream media - and those in training to enter the mainstream media - it’s just an inconvenient notion that allows people they dislike to say things they dislike.

Letter from Iraq

An old, dear personal friend is a chaplain with U.S. forces in Iraq, and I just got a two page letter from him. I can’t resist quoting one passage:

My assistant got a cute letter from a third grader, whom he didn’t know, from his home town. In the letter was included a cutout of a stick figure. The letter said;
I would like to introduce you to my friend Stanley. As you can see, he is flat so I call him Flat Stanley. He wanted to take a trip, so I decided it would be nice for him to visit you. He will be traveling by mail because it costs a lot less than an airplane ticket.

Please keep Stanley for one week and include him in your daily activities. After one week return him to me at the above address with a letter explaining what Stanley did during his visit. I will share your letter with my third grade class so that we can all enjoy his adventures.

Sincerely, Brittany

We got the F-18 pilots to take Stanley for a ride and planned for him to go with us on a helicopter.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Good News on Assessment

Over the past three years or so, the most nettlesome and oppressive bit of bureaucratic nonsense imposed on the faculty has been “outcomes assessment” – the requirement that each of us that taught a core course had to collect (or invent) data specific to our course in order to prove that students had achieved some defined educational “outcomes.” Just pointing to the fact that they take tests and write papers and do projects and we grade all of those wouldn’t do. Apparently, that didn’t create enough bureaucratic busywork.

This has been nettlesome because of the amount of work involved, and oppressive because of the realization that Marquette would do something so dumb.

All of this was supposedly done at the behest of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which has been demanding “assessment” from Marquette. But when the North Central Association came to evaluate the University, they were unhappy with the assessment they found.

In response to their report, Dr. Peggy Bloom, vice provost for undergraduate programs and teaching, said:

Uniformly, Marquette faculty and staff care about student learning . . . . Now we must refine our efforts with students by assessing student learning and by continuously using the assessment results to improve our teaching and academic services. By tapping both internal and external expertise, I am most confident that faculty and staff will develop assessment methods that are truly beneficial and ready to implement for the next academic year.
Oh my! What horrors might that stilted and bureaucratic language hide?

As it turns out, the news is very good. If one just phones Dr. Bloom, one will get a detailed and precise explanation of what all this means. From now on, data will be collected at a more aggregated level – for majors and schools and programs and perhaps for all Marquette graduates.

The bottom line: “course based assessment” is dead.

Bloom demurs at this formulation, pointing out that we faculty do give tests and grade papers and that we are thus doing “assessment.” Yes, we are. We always have. It’s a necessary part of the educational process.

The problem became obvious when Bloom and Prof. Nancy Snow sat down and went through the data that course based assessment had produced, and tried to find some common metric that would allow aggregation and produce an overall measure of what a Marquette education had achieved. There was none. The data were useless.

And the North Central Association, when they saw it, concluded pretty much the same thing.

Bloom says the attempt was “well-meaning” and not the result of anybody being stupid, but that the “sense of pressure” from the North Central and the fact that “not enough people really understood learning assessment” created this fiasco.

That’s a generous – frankly overgenerous – judgment. At any rate Bloom now has to “undo the damage” the first attempt created.

At the moment, there is a “University Assessment Team” that includes Bloom, Arts & Sciences Dean Michael McKinney, Rev. Greg Konz from the Business School, Joyce Wolburg from Advertising and Public Relations and Mark McCarthy of Student Development. We all know the joke about horses and camels and committees, but this one seems, at least, to have been pointed in the right direction.

Does this change mean that silly bureaucratic nonsense continues, just dealt with by administrators rather than faculty? If so, that’s an improvement, since administrators have pretty much volunteered to deal with silly bureaucratic nonsense.

But Bloom argues that some good can come of this. For example, there are instruments like the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) that produce comparable data across institutions. This particular instrument happens to show that Marquette fares very well on many dimensions, but is a bit below average in student-faculty contact. Maybe that’s useful data. Maybe that needs to be addressed. This actually begins to look like social science.

In its misbegotten adventure in “outcomes assessment,” Marquette’s administration has squandered a lot of time, and effort, and faculty respect, and faculty morale. It will take some time to recoup these losses.

But at the moment things are, for a change, moving in the right direction.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Letter to the Editor -- on the Snipers

Jess B writes:
The Marquette administration clearly has engaged in censorship by putting the kaibosh to the "Adopt a Sniper" program. This certainly isn't the first instance of censorship on said university (e.g., denial of certain speakers based on fabricated shortages of funds/space/etc.). Although it seems obvious to me that the College Republicans deliberately timed the event to elicit the very response they got (plus it worked as a great publicity stunt AND raised more funds than the original fundraiser would have), the administration should not have pulled the event. I say let the MU Republicans have their fundraiser--it's a university campus where open discourse should and ought be encouraged, and it will reveal those willing to sport the earned slogan of a highly-trained group of professionals while they themselves sit comfortably protected for what they are: conservative weenies.
Huh? Conservative weenies?

Are you really implying that nobody is allowed to support the troops unless they are willing enlist and go to Iraq to fight? We have about 200 million people of voting age in this country, and a clear majority of them support the troops. Are you saying we should have over a 100 million troops in Iraq?

I also find it odd that some people who are doing nothing to support the troops will criticize people who are doing something to support the troops, even if they are doing less than going to fight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Marquette Apologizes for “Sniper/Nazi” jibe

When an Engineering professor equated American Snipers with Nazis, and implied that Republicans support Nazis, several students complained, including especially a Jewish student who particularly resented the trivilization of real Nazism. Marquette has been reasonably responsive and forthright on this issue. Today, the University issued a statement about the incident:

Statement of Dean Stanley Jaskolski, Dean of Marquette University College of Engineering:

I recently learned of an incident that took place in a College of Engineering classroom. According to the professor, he was attempting to make a point about the inappropriateness of wearing an offensive message on a bracelet.

On behalf of the entire College of Engineering, I apologize to all who have been offended by this deeply regrettable incident. This action was ill-conceived and inappropriate for the classroom.

The professor in question, William Brower, seems to believe that if he objects to an “offensive message” displayed by the College Republicans (a set of dog tags saying “1 shot, 1 kill, no remorse, I decide”) an appropriate response is to offend the College Republicans in return. The problem is that the College Republicans didn’t intentionally set out to insult anybody, and Brower did.

One of the great intellectual vices of the politically correct crowd is their notion that they have a right to be “offended” at any statement with which they happen to disagree.

Marquette’s apology is forthright and appropriate, but Brower appears to think that insulting College Republicans is acceptable merely because he disagrees with them.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Jewish Student Objects to Nazi/Sniper jibe

In the wake of controversy following the Marquette Administration’s banning of the Collge Republicans’ “Adopt A Sniper” program, Engineering Professor William Brower took a rhetorical shot at the College Republicans by brandishing a bracelet that he said had the inscription “Adopt a Nazi.”

This comparison of American snipers to Nazis, as well as the implication that Republicans support Nazis, was certainly offensive. But a Jewish student who heard of the incident first-hand had his own, very personal, reasons to be offended. The following is his letter:
Fr. Robert Wild
O’Hara Hall, 101
Marquette University

Fr. Wild,

I am writing regarding the actions of Dr. William Brower, a professor in the College of Engineering. It was brought to my attention that on Friday, February 4th, Dr. Brower opened his Mechanical Engineering 60 class by joking about the controversy over the University’s recent decision to shut down the College Republicans’ Adopt-A-Sniper fundraising table in the Alumni Memorial Union. Dr. Brower then lifted up his arm to reveal a yellow bracelet similar to the “Livestrong” fundraiser bracelets. On this bracelet, Dr. Brower had written the words “Adopt A Nazi.” He made it a point to share this with the class.

I write this letter because I am appalled at the actions taken by this member of Marquette’s faculty. I am Jewish, and my maternal Grandparents are Holocaust survivors. Though they survived the camps, they both lost numerous siblings, countless cousins, and other close family members and friends. My own family’s loss is just a small sliver of the six million Jews and 11 million overall who were innocently slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis.

Being a Jesuit institution, Marquette teaches Catholic values, and governs the University by these values. In fact, that was the administration’s reasoning for shutting the Adopt-A-Sniper fundraiser down in the first place. One of these values is tolerance and respect. What Dr. Brower showed was a complete lack of respect for the 11 million killed in the Holocaust, and to trivialize the event into a joke about a local issue on campus is unacceptable conduct for a member of Marquette’s faculty. In addition, the comments disrespect the American snipers serving overseas, as Dr. Brower is comparing them to Nazis. I support our troops, and I also know from my own family history the atrocities of the Nazis, and I am horrified by this comparison.

I am asking the University to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter, and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary. Dr. Brower at the very least should apologize publicly for his actions, and in my opinion further action should be taken as well. Marquette has always been an environment in which that I feel welcome and comfortable. Regardless of the fact that my religion differs from that on which the University is based, I have always been treated as an equal, with the respect and dignity all members of the Marquette community deserve. For a faculty member to act in this matter, regardless of his views on the Adopt-A-Sniper issue, is a blatant disregard of the ideals that make Marquette such a great place. This is not an example we want the outside community to think of when Marquette University comes to mind. With that I ask you to please take the appropriate actions to rectify this situation.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.


Danny Manson, ‘06
The letter was copied to Provost Madeline Wake, to Prof. Brower and to the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

In spite the University’s usual stonewalling of the College Republicans, the Administration was reasonably responsive to this complaint. Not only did Manson get a call from Provost Wake on the day after he sent the letter, Manson met with the Dean of the Engineering College, who was quite sympathetic to the complaint.

Brower, it was explained, has tenure and could not be seriously disciplined for this incident, but he has been urged to make an apology. He has not, so far, done so.

The notion that American Snipers can be compared to Nazis and that Republicans are supporters of Nazis reeks of political correctness. As we noted in our original article on the incident:
This might be dismissed as a “casual” or “offhand” comment. But what would be the result of a professor making a “casual offhand” comment implying that blacks are less intelligent than whites, or that all homosexuals are child molesters?
In spite of the solicitude that the Administration showed to Manson, it remains the case that, at Marquette, one can make the most scurrilous statements about America's soldiers and American Republicans with impunity.

We believe, as much an anybody, that professors should have the freedom to make controversial statements. But directly insulting students goes too far.

“Hiding the Evidence?” – II

Various bloggers and pundits (including yours truly) were dismayed when the Marquette administration shut down the College Republicans’ “Adopt A Sniper” fund raising table in the Union, claiming it was in conflict with the “Catholic Mission” of the University. It didn’t take long for a certain Mike S. Adams to search the web and find several things on various Marquette web sites at odds with Catholic teaching. One of the less important, but still significant, was a passage on the Raynor Library site that appeared to endorse Planned Parenthood.

Adams’ story appeared on this past Friday, and was discussed on the Charlie Sykes show. I wrote a piece based on the story and posted it late Friday afternoon.

Saturday, I found that the entry had been changed, and instead of a favorable mention of Planned Parenthood, there was a favorable mention of the American Cancer Society! The site had been sanitized.

What happened is as follows: this particular passage was brought to the attention of Dean of Libraries Nick Burckel on Friday. Burckel told the Marquette Warrior Blog that it was “. . . called to my attention, and I went and looked at the site and decided it was inappropriate for a Marquette website.” Burckel then directed Julie O’Keeffe to change the text, and she did so promptly.

Burckel was not put off by the fact that Planned Parenthood is controversial. Students may well need to study and analyze controversy. Rather, it looked to him (as it looked to us) that the language appeared to be a full-bore endorsement of the organization.

Credit Burckel with a prompt and sensible response to an issue that was brought to his attention. It’s still a bit bothersome that the language endorsing Planned Parenthood was on the site for well over two years. And there are some much more important issues for Marquette to deal with if it expects its protestations of loyalty to its “Catholic Mission” to be taken seriously. This is especially true if it’s going to use such protestations as an excuse to silence student organizations.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Quick! Hide the Evidence!

Yesterday, I posted an article about how Marquette, which used the excuse of Marquette’s Catholic “Mission” to shut down the College Republicans’ “Adopt A Sniper” table in the Union, is pretty casual in its committment to the Catholic “Mission” in other areas.

One of the examples I used was a web page hosted at the Raynor Library that contained not only a mention of the Planned Parenthood web site, but an apparent endorsement of it. What the Raynor Library site said was:
Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for information on women’s health and global reproduction issues. . . . The Planned Parenthood Web site offers valuable links to press releases, fact sheets, articles, etc.
I checked back today, and (lo and behold!) that text had been changed. What it now says is:

The American Cancer Society is an excellent resource for information on women's health. . . . The American Cancer Society Web site offers valuable links to press releases, fact sheets, articles, etc.

My oh my! It appears that the text has been sanitized to avoid mention of Planned Parenthood.

It is, these days, impossible to conceal evidence of what a site once said. In the first place, Google maintains a cache of web pages. When Google last crawled the site (on January 8th) the text mentioning Planned Parenthood was there. Indeed, shows that it has been there at least since November 8, 2002.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that somebody at Marquette either saw my blog entry, or saw the article I used as a source, and decided that it better be changed.

If Marquette wants to take a “broad-minded” and “tolerant” attitude toward organizations like Planned Parenthood, which does things clearly at odds with Catholic teaching, why can’t it tolerate the Adopt A Sniper organization, which, although it may rub the sensibilities of the politically correct crowd the wrong way, is entirely consistent with Catholic Just War Theory?

[Update: Check an entry posted on February 14 for more information in this incident.]

Friday, February 11, 2005

Just How Seriously Does Marquette Take Its “Catholic Mission?”

Marquette’s administration insisted that the College Republicans’ campaign to raise money for the Adopt A Sniper program was inconsistent with the institution’s “Catholic Mission.”

So just how seriously does Marquette in fact take its “Mission?” It seems to depend on the ideological coloration of the program or organization involved.


Consider, for example, the “Pastoral Care” section of Marquette’s web site. It asks “Are you Gay? Lesbian? Bisexual? Questioning?” It then provides a long series of links to left-leaning “Gay Rights” organizations. Some of these are the same organizations that have been persecuting the Boy Scouts for having the exact position on homosexuality that the Catholic Church does!

Then there is the Gay/Straight Alliance, a recognized student organization at Marquette. The group has never made a secret of the fact that it just flatly opposes Church teaching on homosexuality.

The Law School could hardly pass up an opportunity to jump on the politically correct bandwagon, so there is the “Lesbian, Gay, and Other Advocates Legal Society at Marquette University Law School.”


The Association of English Graduate Students lists Planned Parenthood on its list of Milwaukee Area Health Resources. They rather demurely fail to mention that the organization does abortions, although that’s hardly something anybody would be ignorant of. They do indeed list “birthcontrol” [sic] as something that can be gotten there.

Then we have the web site at Raynor Library which, in giving students guidance in using resources on the World Wide Web opines:

Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for information on women’s health and global reproduction issues. . . . The Planned Parenthood Web site offers valuable links to press releases, fact sheets, articles, etc.
Needless to say, the “information” provided by the site is often flatly at odds with Catholic teaching on sexuality, birth control and abortion.

Now one can certainly argue that it’s appropriate for students at any university to know about the Planned Parenthood web site. Unfortunately, the blurb on the Raynor web page appears to go beyond giving information to supplying an endorsement. Just how likely is it that any official Marquette web page will ever endorse the “Adopt A Sniper” program?

And if Marquette is going to take such a “broad-minded” view of these sorts of issues, just why is it that they are so narrow-minded about supporting snipers? Why is “pro-gay” OK, and pro-abortion OK, but “pro-sniper” has to be shut up?

The only possible answer is: what the Marquette Administration – or at least the administrators who have to deal with these issues – really care about is political correctness. They will wiggle and squirm and find a reason to tolerate politically correct ideas, no matter how contrary to Church teaching. But when confronted with politically incorrect ideas, they will find an excuse to shut them up, no matter how strained or implausible.

[An article on by Mike Adams brought some of these issues to my attention.]

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hating the College Republicans

Strong feelings, and sometimes outright hate, have long been a part of politics. But for most of the 20th Century, it just wasn’t cool to admit that you hated your political enemies.

That has changed. During the Bush Administration, liberal Democrats have increasingly come to loudly, proudly declare that they hate Bush, and hate Republicans. And they extend that hate to College Republicans at Marquette.

In the wake of the “Sniper” controversy, the College Republicans’ “Adopt a Sniper” fund-raiser became a subject of conversation on the Democratic Underground discussion forums.

The level of venom was astonishing. The following is a selection of the comments. While there were a few moderate and temperate comments, the following are more typical.

Warning -- Vulgar Language in the following
The Republican Party has completely lost it's soul, if indeed they had one to begin with. I can’t begin to tell you how MUCH this disgusts me.

Why not buy your own gear and go volunteer for the military? Fuckin Chickenhawks!

When you cant get laid, pick up a gun an become a sniper!

Anal-retentive @$$holes !!!

At first, i thought they wanted to adopt liberal-targeting snipers.

Or Bombing all those Abortion Clinics and killing doctors years back. Sicko’s! I'd like to see them walk through one of my old neighborhoods. Freekin-Freepers. Oh, but it would be in the name of “their” almighty.

Don’t assume one of the folks in that lovely group hadn’t thought of it

Yes, Junior Republicans, killing is so much fun.

I guess that screws their plans for a “kick women on the ground” table.

How about joining up and BECOMING a sniper? Or are the College Republicans too cowardly for that?

Not Gonna Happen. College/Young Rethugicans are generally too uppity rich to sacrifice for this country. They all have their sights set on those prestigious MBAs so they can figure out how to screw and exploit the masses and workers.

how do people even ‘get’ so vicious??????? where does all of this hatred and bile come from??

from their tiny leetle penises...

Thats why they turn to big, bad guns. Women laugh at their other “gun”.

from their bible thumping parents!! n/t

sick minds. a cancer on society

The Marquette College Republicans are frat assclowns

I Hate Their Cowardly A$$es.

I hate these College Republican groups.

Maybe these future Chickenhawks should have a recruiter sitting there. These piss-ants should put their money where their big fat mouths are.

Give those fuckers some enlistment papers and send ‘em to Iraq. Ignorant fuckfaces.

I'm holding out for “Adopt a Torturer”!

They have no scruples...... its idiots like these that perpetuate war and hate and killing. Thats what Bush has taught kids. That killing is fun! These fools have no idea what its like because they haven't been there. The best thing to tell them is to go fight in the fucking war if they support it so much.

impress the little bastards. as in, press into service in iraq.

I’m wondering when they'll decide that nukes are OK.

What wimps.

Sick degenerate republican youth

Why aren’t these violent pigs in Iraq??
If anybody thinks I’ve taken a few unrepresentative comments out of a long train of post, they can examine the entire discussion, as downloaded on February 5, 2005.

Now, one could say that this sort of rhetoric isn’t indicative of much beyond the fact that hotheads hang out online at places like Democratic Underground. But consider Howard Dean’s recent statement:
I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for . . . .
And consider the fact that film maker Michael Moore was given a place of honor next to Jimmy and Rosalind Carter and the summer Democratic convention.

Now, it’s certainly not the case that all liberal Democrats are bigots, but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that a visceral hatred is way too common in, and has penetrated way too close to the center of, the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Marquette’s True Agenda

Local radio talk show host Jeff Wagner comments on the “Sniper” controversy:

As a starting point, it must be noted that Marquette University has routinely hosted events for militant pro-abortion political candidates and embraced groups advocating what some would describe as an aggressive gay rights agenda. While controversial in some circles, this strikes me as appropriate for a college campus. After all, exposing students to a diversity of ideas is what the college experience would seem to be all about. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine how some of the positions advocated by these groups are consistent with typical Catholic values.

The reality is that the current dispute is less about Catholic values than it is about political values. It is no secret that Marquette University is run by a group of left-leaning administrators who are clearly troubled by current U.S. foreign policy. Undoubtedly these administrators were both shocked and appalled to find students raising money to support front line military personnel who serve as snipers. This however does not justify their knee jerk reaction of shutting down the table and confiscating property of the students.

Part of the reaction of the Marquette Administration was probably steeped in ignorance. If Marquette had done even a cursory investigation, it would have learned the Adopt a Sniper program is a legitimate, nationally recognized organization. The fact that they chose not to investigate before shutting down the fund raising activity shows a callous disregard for both the free speech rights of the students and the truth.

Ignorance alone however does not fully explain Marquette’s action. Having learned what Adopt a Sniper really is, Marquette still refuses to allow the students to raise money to support the group. It therefore seems that while Marquette says that it supports the troops, it really means, at best, it only supports some of the troops.

. . .

In its rush to worship at the temple of politically correct pacifism, Marquette would do well to remember that picking and choosing between which soldiers it will support and which it will not does not seem to be very, for want of a better word, Christian.

In attempting to justify its actions, Marquette relies almost exclusively on the fact that one of photographs on the table included a bracelet with the motto “1 Shot 1 Kill No remorse I decide”. In the first place, this is a military motto. Does Marquette also object to the phrase “Semper fi”? More importantly though, Marquette had many options short of shutting down the fund raising activities and confiscating all the materials. In particular, if there were one or two things on the table that officials found objectionable, wouldn’t it have simply been easier to ask the students to remove these specific items? The fact that officials shut the table down in its entirety without first speaking with the organizers demonstrates the true agenda that drove Marquette's actions.

Warriors and Snipers and Golden Eagles - Oh My! by Jeff Wagner

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sniper Impact

It seems the College Republicans have done a better job of promoting the "Adopt a Sniper" program than they could ever have imagined.

In the 24 hours following the breaking of the story this past Wednesday, the group garnered $17,000 of new contributions through their web site, apparently the result of publicity the Marquette decision to close down the effort created.

My sources tell me that the Tribune is swamped with Viewpoint submissions on the issue, which will reverberate in the pages of the paper for at least a few issues. An article is apparently planned for Thursday, since I talked to a Tribune reporter working on the article today.

The only loser in all this is the Marquette administration, which sacrificed a lot of credibility by its ill-considered decision.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hypocrisy at the Marquette Tribune

My sources tell me that the Marquette Tribune will support the Administration’s decision to close down the College Republicans’ “Adopt a Sniper” table.

This is deeply ironic, since staffers at the Tribune are chafing at what they see as the Administration’s desire to see that the paper offers only positive coverage of the Administration. Indeed, the suspicion is that their faculty advisor was sacked as part of an effort to send a message as to what kind of coverage is allowed.

Efforts of staffers to get a clear statement as to what was wrong, and what caused Tom Mueller to be fired have produced only vague and not entirely plausible statements.

When pressed by Tribune staffers, administrators have vaguely claimed that the Tribune has been “inconsistent.” Further, there have been complaints about the quality of color reproduction (something the Tribune staff isn’t even responsible for, since they don’t choose the printer), and the quality of photographs in the paper.

Editor Jen Haberkorn says she would like the Administration to be “up front” about what the problem is.

But a lot of people on campus are going to be asking: “How can you demand freedom of expression when you don’t seem to believe that the College Republicans should have it?”

Public Affairs Conceals Public Relations Fiasco

Marquette’s censorship of the College Republicans “Adopt A Sniper” fundraiser has been a public relations fiasco, but somebody who only sees what the University sends out to faculty, administrators and staff would hardly know that. The accounts in the regular “News Clips” e-mails have been thoroughly sanitized.

The brouhaha was first mentioned in “Marquette University News Clips for Feb. 3, 2005.” Let’s quote it verbatum:

MU shuts down ‘Adopt a Sniper’

Marquette spokeswoman Brigid O’Brien released a statement Wednesday that said the university strongly supports the U.S. military and has sponsored plenty of “support the troops” activities. “In the context of the university’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, we could not allow fund raising in the student union for a group whose rhetoric regarding ‘snipers’ could be widely misinterpreted as having a cavalier attitude toward the taking of a human life,” the statement said. “In this case the display of the materials that promote the use of violence without appropriate background information was unacceptable.”

Story appeared in the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, Feb. 3, 2005

Story also appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 3, 2005

This implies that the story appeared on only one out of town paper in addition to the local Journal-Sentinel. The “News Clips” for the following day (February 4th) also dealt briefly with the controversy.

Wisconsin: University Rejects ‘Adopt a Sniper’ Fund-Raiser

A spokesman for the university, Brigid O’Brien, said the group’s rhetoric had “raised some questions and we had some strong objections as a Jesuit university.”

Story appeared in the New York Times, Feb. 4, 2005

AP and Reuters wire stories also appeared in 90 newspapers nationally

Editorial: MU right to end fund-raiser

The university had a legitimate problem with at least one of the slogans that accompanied the fund-raising effort: “1 Shot, 1 Kill, No Remorse, I Decide.” It is hard to disagree with the university’s contention that this wording reflects a cavalier attitude toward the killing of human beings.

Story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 4, 2005

Here the flacks admit that the story appeared in 90 newspapers nationally, but provide a link only to the New York Times version. This very brief, truncated version quotes Marquette’s rationale for shutting down the exhibit, but fails to include material in the original AP story that supports the “Adopt A Sniper” effort. The full version of the story (as it appeared in USA Today) has the following at the bottom:

The College Republicans had received approval from the Jesuit school to set up a table at the Alumni Memorial Union where they could sell bracelets and other trinkets to raise funds for the troops abroad.

The students then chose to promote the Pulaski-based sniper group.

“We thought that it was the most direct possible way to help the troops,” said Brandon Henak, the student group's chairman. “What really touched us and was one of the big deciding factors on choosing them was the fact that they give (the snipers) the very body armor that enables them to stay safe.”

Posted on the “Adopt a Sniper” Web site are thank-you letters from U.S. sharpshooters abroad and a list of items — everything from rifle accessories to knives to Black Hawk strike gear. Supporters can make cash donations or buy a memento such as an Adopt a Sniper Challenge Coin for $15 or an Adopt a Sniper bracelet for $20.

The school ordered the College Republicans to end the fund-raiser Monday.

This apparently was information Public Affairs didn’t want readers to know about, or to know was widely disseminated.

The University also provided a link to the editorial in the Journal-Sentinel supporting the University’s position, but entirely failed to mention that the issue received extended and very negative coverage in Milwaukee talk radio, drawing the attention of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, and Mark Belling. The issue was also covered on (at least) Milwaukee channels 4, 6 and 58. But there was no mention of that.

Finally, the February 7th edition of “News Clips” provided links to two letters to the Journal-Sentinel. Not surprisingly, both letters favored the University’s position, and attacked the College Republicans.

MU Student Group – letter to editor

Lack of respect shouldn’t be tolerated

I was struck by the sub-headline “Student group calls school ‘ultra-liberal,’” which followed the headline of the Feb. 3 article “MU shuts down ‘Adopt a Sniper.’”

Story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 7, 2005

MU Student Group – letter to editor

Republicanism doesn’t require support of war

As someone with past links to Marquette University and to some Republicans, I think that the MU College Republicans, and many Republicans elsewhere, are making a huge mistake in suggesting true Republicanism - or patriotism - requires people to support President Bush's occupation of Iraq and the continued killing of hostile Sunnis to ensure Shiite control of Iraq.

Story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 7, 2005

So what did the flacks at Public Affairs conceal from campus readers?

First, they concealed the extent of the coverage. While they conceded that a few score newspapers ran the story, the only link provided was to the New York Times version that failed to show, as the entire AP story showed, that the “Adopt A Sniper” program has a great deal of merit. No mention of the negative coverage on conservative talk radio was included, and certainly not the fact that Marquette won the Charlie Sykes “Deep Tunnel” award on Friday. Neither was TV coverage – which included a lot of negative comment on Marquette’s decision.

In fact, on Saturday morning the Marquette Warrior Blog queried Google News for “Marquette” and “Republican” and “Sniper” and found 103 stories about the controversy. It ran in media all over the world, including Al Jazeera.

That’s clearly one source that approved of Marquette’s action!

The web was even worse. As of 3:30 this afternoon, Google was showing about 527 hits when queried for “Republicans” and “Marquette” and “University” and “Sniper” for pages updated within the past three months.

[Update, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 9, 2005 -- The same Google search now turns up 1,240 pages.]

It seems that Public Affairs at Marquette, having seen the University embroiled in a public relations fiasco, is engaged in full bore damage control. The most effective kind of damage control, of course, would be to simply admit that the bureaucrats were wrong and apologize to the College Republicans and let them hold their fundraiser some other time.

But the bureaucrats, through a combination of arrogance, insularity and political correctness can’t admit they were wrong. Their PR blunder can’t be concealed from the wider community, but it at least can be concealed from people at Marquette who don’t pay much attention to media beyond the Journal-Sentinel. In sum, the insularity that allowed the Administration to do something as stupid as this may protect them from ever knowing the harm they have done to the University.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Marquette and the Snipers -- Moral Philosophers or Liberal Weenies?

When Marquette University faced a firestorm of media controversy this past Wednesday, they were finally forced to offer a public explanation for their censorship of the College Republicans’ fundraiser supporting the “Adopt A Sniper” program.

The explanation they finally settled on focused on one single bit of merchandise sold by the sniper support organization: a “bracelet” with the inscription “1 Shot 1 Kill No Remorse I Decide.”

In fact, it was not a bracelet at all, but a set of dog tags. The fact that Marquette bureaucrats don’t know the difference is terribly revealing of the mentalities of the people involved. If there were actually veterans among the people who were faced with this decision, it might have turned out very differently.

But let’s take that phrase apart.

1 Shot 1 Kill

Snipers aspire to shoot accurately. Apparently, if they spewed rounds all around the countryside that would be alright with Marquette. But they aspire to -- and usually do -- hit the person they are shooting at.

Ironically, Catholic Just War Theory has always been concerned with the principle of “discrimination.” When one wages war, one must try to kill only combatants, and limit harm to innocent noncombatants. On this issue, Snipers fare far better than (say) B-1 bomber crews, or even ground troops engaged in tough house-to-house fighting.

No Remorse

Apparently, if snipers all went whining to therapists as soon as their tours of duty were up, Marquette would like them fine. But the motto is “no remorse.” If one’s actions are in fact moral, one should feel no remorse. Snipers have every right to accept the necessity and tactical legitimacy of what they do.

I Decide

The simple tactical reality is that Snipers do decide whom to shoot. That’s just the way it works. Marquette somehow wants to interpret this as a macho claim that “I can kill anybody I want.” But to do so is to demean the humanity and the professionalism of American snipers, who in fact pride themselves on their ability to take out high-value targets – an enemy sniper, or mortar crew, or terrorist waiting to ambush American troops.

Marquette’s attitude toward the snipers isn’t the result of taking Catholic moral philosophy seriously. It’s the result of the cultural biases of people who don’t particularly like or identify with this nation’s soldiers, people who oppose the war in Iraq, and who don’t much like Republicans either.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Prof. Compares Snipers/Republicans to Nazis

When the College Republicans set up a table in the Alumni Memorial Union urging support for the Adopt a Sniper program, University officials shut it down. The University took particular offense at some items for sale, including dogtags and bracelets the proceeds from which benefitted the organization. This created a firestorm of controversy in the media, and attracted the attention of at least one Engineering professor. According to an e-mail sent out by the College Republicans:
During today’s Mechanical Engineering 060 class, Professor Dr. William Brower began by sharing a joke about the current sniper situation. He then lifted up his arm and revealed a yellow, Lance Armstrong-style bracelet. He read what he had written onto the bracelet - Adopt A Nazi - to the class. Two different students in the class confirm this story

The Marquette Warrior Blog has contacted both of the students mentioned in the e-mail, and both confirm the story. The only proviso is that they can’t confirm that “Adopt A Nazi” was in fact written on the bracelet. But both confirm that Brower did indeed say that.

The student with a more detailed recollection remembers that Brower had a large yellow bracelet with something written on it in pen. Brower was chatting with two students about the bracelet, and then addressed the entire class and proceeded to “read” the words “Adopt a Nazi.” This student clearly remembers that the context was the College Republicans “Adopt a Sniper” campaign.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this was a swipe at the College Republicans, comparing Snipers to Nazis and implying that the Republicans support Nazis.

This might be dismissed as a “casual” or “offhand” comment. But what would be the result of a professor making a “casual offhand” comment implying that blacks are less intelligent than whites, or that all homosexuals are child molesters?

Brower has, so far, failed to respond to an e-mail asking for an explanation of what he did. Should he respond, we will post his response.

What Do Real Soldiers (Not University Bureaucrats) Think of Snipers

Marquette's administration seems to think that supporting snipers is a bad idea. But what do people who have their lives on the line think? The following is from an e-mail I got this past Wednesday, when the Sniper story broke in the media.

Heard your interview on WTMJ this afternoon - sounds like your on our side. Hopefully this "adopt sniper" fundraiser will be able to come back. As a 16-year Army vet and former paratrooper, I know first-hand that snipers can be your best friend on the battlefield; to react like these wackos did is unfortunate, yet typical of the liberal establishment.

Wonder if Ms [Stephanie] Russell would have objected had the College Dems sponsored a support a terrorist' campaign. . .

My guess is that Marquette would not allow something called "Support a Terrorist," but I can't help but remember back in the 80s when Catholic activist types were going down to Central America and helping Marxist guerrillas. I'll bet the current Marquette administration could find an excuse to support that kind of activity.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What if Indian Students Want to be Braves?

Here is an interesting article from the Washington Times about how the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is being harassed by the NCAA for calling the athletic teams the "Braves."

The problem is: the school was founded to educate Indians, and a very large minority of the students are still Indians. And overwhelmingly, they want to call themselves "Braves."