Thursday, October 27, 2016

UT Politburo: A Tale of Two Protests....


"And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?"
Romans 2:3

[Update: It gets better, apparently Gregory Vincent makes $331,500 per year.]

[Update II: From Vincent's official bio, "Since Dr. Vincent’s appointment by President William Powers Jr. in 2005, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement has grown to encompass a $50 million budget and more than 400 employees, 50 units, and 300 community partners."]

We deliberately ignored the "Cocks not Glocks" (CnG) protest earlier this year because it was stupid.  Nevertheless, yesterday's kerfuffle over YCT's 'affirmative action' bakesale got us thinking.  There's a contrast.

Dr. Gregory Vincent, Vice President of the Division of Diversity and Community engagement, yesterday:
On Wednesday, the UT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) held a bake sale on the West Mall, where they sold goods to students at varying prices based on their race and gender. This is a repeat of a YCT bake sale held here on campus in September 2013. YCT joins a handful of student groups at other universities who over the years have used the same reductive tactic to garner the spotlight for their views on affirmative action.

Such methods are inflammatory and demeaning. Yet focusing our attention on the provocative nature of the YCT’s actions ignores a much more important issue: they create an environment of exclusion and disrespect among our students, faculty and staff. The West Mall is a place where free speech is exercised by all students, and rightly so, because it is meant to be an arena that inspires dialogue from diverse viewpoints. However, it is also meant to be a space where students exhibit respect for each other while holding those viewpoints. Although it is their right to do so, it is deplorable that a few students took advantage of this open forum to direct negative sentiment toward their peers.

In seeking an audience for their ideas, the YCT resorted to exercising one of the university’s core values to the detriment of others. Such actions are counterproductive to true dialogue on our campus, and it is unrepresentative of the ideals toward which our community strives.
During CnG Vincent said...bupkus.  Moving along, Greg Fenves also said...bupkus.  Eventually, we find this statement from Fenves' chief of staff in response to a press inquiry:
Thanks for writing President Fenves on the rally yesterday protesting the “Campus Carry” law. I am responding on his behalf.

As an institution committed to the creation of knowledge, UT Austin firmly supports free inquiry and robust discussion of issues. Political protests occur on campus regularly representing a wide spectrum of ideas and positions. The university has well established processes for reserving space, guaranteeing the free speech rights of members of our community and maintaining safety.

The university recognizes that many people may find protestors’ actions offensive. The First Amendment, however, protects expression no matter how offensive the content. UT Austin students are free to express themselves peacefully on all issues. The planned protests around campus carry appear to be examples of protected political speech. We ask students and others in the university community to maintain conversations around this issue in a civil manner, and we encourage students of all opinions to be a part of this and other discussions of public policy.
Bottom Line: It's not surprising, but still....

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