Letter to the Editor: A Reaction to the Anti-DAC Flyers

I am the Manager of the Diversity Achievement Center (DAC).  I supervise Toni Klohk.  Toni does an excellent job at exposing students to new ideas.  Exposure to new ideas is an important concept in college.  The DAC also hosts events sponsored by student clubs and organizations.  Those events often raise new ideas to ponder.  The fact that the college hosts an event or topic never implies which points of view we subscribe to; we subscribe to free exchange of ideas in a civil and safe environment.
The posters were posted without regard to LBCC posting policies.  Per those policies, they were removed.  The poster also gave the false impression that the DAC was sponsoring an event that it is not; the posters were in fact a lie and slanderous.  LBCC has a policy of honesty and respect at all times toward all persons. (It is also my job to enforce that policy; as Associate Dean of Student Services, I enforce the LBCC code of conduct available at www.linnbenton.edu.)

For many people diversity and culture awareness are not easy topics.  When LBCC is doing a good job at encouraging people to think beyond their own cultural assumptions and exposing people to ideas beyond those they have adopted, people will be stretched, challenged, even agitated.   It sometimes takes this for us to grow.  Toni and the DAC are obviously challenging some people to grow.

It takes courage to do the work of the DAC.  It takes courage to listen to ideas with which some of us disagree.  It does not take courage to attack people who are doing important work.  The person who posted these posters gave witness last week that many of us still have much to learn about respecting people with values and lifestyles unlike our own.  The person also gave witness that he or she struggles with “opening his or her mind to listen to ideas of others.”  When the person put those posters up, it was like he or she voted to endorse the DAC.  By his/her action, he/she said, “Let me prove that we need to learn about how to respect one another.”

LBCC is proud of the work of the DAC and the leadership of Toni Klohk. Toni and her team change lives for the better every day they come to work.  Neither Toni nor LBCC will be intimidated by hate speech.  We will continue to encourage and support the work the DAC is doing for all students at LBCC.  We hope every student will feel safe on our campus, and we will continue to provide forums for sharing diverse views, values, and lifestyles.  We hope college students develop critical thinking and the ability to listen to others, followed up with the ability to make wise choices for one’s self.

Students who participated in our College Readiness Workshops Summer 2010 (CRW) know that LBCC encourages civil discourse.  We encourage the engaging of one another around controversial topics in civil and respectful ways.  We encourage free speech when offered within the guidelines the college provides.

LBCC also has a duty to prevent harassment, bullying, and hate speech.  We take that duty seriously.

The posting matter will be handled by Security and my office, if the person is identified. If someone witnessed who posted the flyers they are asked to report it to my office, Lynne Cox, Takena 107.

Posting Policies available at Board of Education Administrative Rules (Paperless Office)

Thank you for making inquiry!  Toni and her team have my full support.  They are doing a great job, every day.

Lynne Cox

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Lynne A. Cox, J.D., Associate Dean of Student Development

16 Responses

  1. James says:

    Now I’m curious – what did the posters say?

  2. Tim Smith says:

    Once again, someone else’s opinion does not matter because it is not the “correct” way of thinking. Maybe they did violate the posting rules but you are saying that because their poster did not adhere to the politically correct way of thinking that it is hate speech. I am sick of this. Maybe some people at lbcc feel that your speech is hate speech. That you are trouncing on their beliefs because of the ideas that the DAC pushes onto the young minds here at Linn Benton.

    Because this is a college setting you can preach intolerance under the guise of being poltically correct.

    Personally, I could care less as to what turns you on in the bedroom. What I don’t like is being forced to sit and hear about what you do in your bedroom. The constant whining about how your feelings are being hurt and your rights beoing violated because I don’t praise you for being who you are. If I do not prescribe to your way of thinking then I must hate you. Live your life!

    It is not just about homosexuality it is about every little pet cause the DAC and the likes of you push onto everyone else. I remember being bombarded by posters about palestine earlier in the term. Because the palestinians made an incorrect decision in a war I am supposed to feel sorry for them because they chose the wrong solution? Give me a a break.

    I don’t know what the psoters said but who is the one that is now squashing free speech and the free exchange of ideas? The DAC, that is who.

    • Karelia Stetz-Waters says:

      I just want to clarify what the fliers said. They said we should come to the Diversity Achievement Center for a “Jizz Fest” and added “It’s cumtastic.” While I am embarrassed to type these words on screen, I think it is important to know the content. These fliers did not share a thoughtful, researched, or well reasoned opinion. I hope that if they did — not matter what that opinion — it would have been heard.

  3. Tim Smith says:

    Looks like the posters were designed to get a reaction rather than to be serious. They got one!

  4. Magdalen O'Reilly says:

    I’m surprised that Mr. Smith has chosen to comment on the issue while also stating he doesn’t know what the posters said. The posters were made to openly mock gay students here at LBCC. Not only that, they blamed Toni Klohk and listed her information – which is libel. The DAC doesn’t seem to have a problem with the person’s right to post the posters, but the fact that they were directed at the DAC. They were clearly mocking the spirit of the DAC and what they strive to accomplish. Free speech works both ways, you have to be ready to accept the ire that your opinions attract.

  5. Tim Smith says:

    Try filing a slander or libel lawsuit and see how far it goes in the State of Oregon. Instead of just blowing off the posters, everyone chose to make a big deal out of them, which is exactly what the person posting them wanted. I did go and look at the article and got a vague idea of what they were. They were nothing more than teenage drivel trying to invoke a reaction. They would have been better ignored but the types that think a diversity achievement center is necessary jumped on the hook and set it themselves.

    You are right, you have to accept the ire along with the free speech. Accept it and ignore someone playing games like this instead of constantly portraying yourself as a victim. That is what much of the political correctness is about anyway, someone being a victim because their feelings are hurt.

    As the great Woody Harrelson said in Zombieland, “Nut up or shut up”!

  6. Callie Palmer says:

    I want to offer Toni Klohk and those who are responsible for providing us with the Diversity Achievement Center my gratitude for keeping up the difficult work of creating an equitable atmosphere on campus in the face of obvious hate and indifference.
    I am truly sorry that Mr. Smith and the person who posted the offensive flyers both feel so oppressed by “politically correct” programming on our campus. But there is a very real problem of perception here, and that is that we live in the United States, where democracy is our guiding principal. This means that we all have rights, and we all have a right to pursue “Life, liberty and …happiness.” I take this principle seriously. Which means I’m ready and willing to at the very least listen to people who think differently than I do, This is not political correctness. This is allowing my fellow people to live their lives equally to mine. This is what I consider being a real American. I don’t get my rights at someone else’s expense, not anymore, at least. This is part of the DAC’s mission as well.
    I find it very ironic that the response to someone speaking out about how they have been victimized is somehow not acceptable – that folks must “nut up” and deal with it. Well, speaking out about racism, sexism, heterosexism and all the other ways in which people are held at a disadvantage is how we have chosen to “nut up.” Nice, sexist phrase, by the way.
    Hate speech and libelous posters are not an appropriate response to educational programs like those the DAC offers. Attending and participating in civil discourse, listening to each other and gaining an understanding that we all get to be here, openly and unapologetically, is. Libel actually goes pretty far with the State of Oregon, which has clear guidelines and laws about hate speech and discrimination.
    What is really ironic about this is that Mr. Smith and the person posting these fliers are in for a super big shock when they leave this campus – in the “real” world, people won’t tolerate the kind of intolerance they claim is their right as “free” speech. Welcome to the 21st century.

  7. Tim Smith says:

    So, are you willing to listen to the point of view that the poster poster has? I bet not. All anyone who preaches diversity seems willing to listen to is their own way of thinking.

    You have no clue as to what the application of the law is. There may be words written in a law book that sound tough but the actual application of them is far different.

    Sorry honey, but I have already been out in the big, bad real world and it is you who have a “super big shock” coming.

    You make excuses for all of the sacred classes and how they are oppressed by the evil people out there. How about instead of whining, you live your life in an exemplary way. Instead of shouting to the world that you are (insert your favorite oppressed class here), you live your life so that when people know you, it doesn’t matter that you are gay, black, a democrat, whatever. You are known to be a decent human being who is an honorable and decent first.

    I don’t care what you are. I care that you are a decent person. I have more respect for people who don’t wear their sexuality or race on their arm. The people I respect are the ones who do not need a diversity achievement center to make excuses for them or to make everyone else feel guilty.

    There are many diverse opinions in our society and many people don’t agree with you and your opinion. Gasp, but there are even people out there who either because of religion or cultural beliefs believe that homosexuality is a sin, is immoral, or unnatural. Are they to be sent to the re-education camps so they are forced like to think like you? And, finally, before you go off on me again, I have relatives who are gay and I treat them like any other relative. They are family and I don’t care that they choose a different lifestyle.

    You have much to learn.

    • MrJames says:

      Tim made an interesting point, when he said… “you live your life so that when people know you, it doesn’t matter that you are gay, black, a democrat, whatever.”

      The question this raises, though, is does this mean that a person can rise above the expectations and preconceptions that go with being WHAT they are? Does WHO they are somehow raise them above their labels?

      Because if that’s Tim’s argument, it’s an excuse to cling to those labels. “Yeah, that guy ****, he’s okay for a liberal.” “*****? Yeah, she’s black, but don’t worry, she’s cool.”

      Again, I say ‘if.’

      ‘If’ Tim is saying that those labels don’t matter – and that preaching against them only draws attention to them – I’m inclined to agree.

      That having been said, not everyone is able to shed the preconceptions that come from being raised in a church, by a racist uncle, in Texas… or what-have-you. Lots of folks out there really need to hear it said out loud that different isn’t lesser – that something other isn’t something threatening. Sometimes that’s all it takes to kick-start a series of questions in their head, and set them on the road to dropping that baggage.

      In a more specific note – I found out what was on that poster. It wasn’t satire or commentary, it was mockery and insult. ‘Free Speech’ isn’t an issue here – and if it were there are already channels in place the poster’s poster could have used.

      Shoot – this site IS one of those channels. The Commuter would probably (and happily) print an opinion piece if it was intelligent and well-thought out. If it’s an unpopular opinion, and that generated discussion, I think even the DAC would approve.

    • Magdalen O'Reilly says:

      I don’t think anyone is demanding you to think like us. We’re simply disagreeing with you. In fact you seem very threatened by the fact that we don’t share your viewpoint.

      I think you may have really missed the entire concept of the DAC center. You’re referring to people who “wear their race and sexuality on their arm”? I realize it may not affect you but prejudice and inequality still exist. Gay people are still being targeted and killed for their sexuality and whichever way you look at it, that’s an injustice. You seem to think that having pride and standing up for your rights is something wholly unnecessary. Unnecessary for you, perhaps. Unnecessary for myself. But not unnecessary for people who are trying to carve out a place for themselves in society. For some people equality and respect isn’t handed to them on a silver platter, it has to be earned. They have to struggle to earn their keep while others sit comfortably on their laurels.

      And more importantly, Mr. Smith, the fight for gay rights is not about you. It’s not about straight people or for us. It’s about uplifting themselves. So if you feel guilty that’s really your problem. Maybe you should think about why you feel so guilty in the first place.

  8. MamaMia says:

    Mr. White…About your comment “wear their race and sexuality on their arm”….As a woman with naturally dark skin, I am told constantly by people “I wish I had such beautiful dark skin like yours”. Trust me, people of color, people who belong to the LGBTQ group and other non-privileged groups, are just like people who were raised by poor parents….we live every day hoping that thats not the only thing thing you see about us! That instead of commenting on my skin, you will comment on the work I do, the people I affect everyday and the success that I am professionally. Because my dark beautiful skin comes with a painful invisibility, marginalization and commodification. Not from a tanning booth!
    What the DAC wants is exactly what you and the makers of the poster don’t understand. That we are more than our skin color, we are more than who we make love to, we are more than how much money we have or how we vote, who we worship, and what language we speak. Don’t define a gay man by his sexual preference. And don’t define me by my skin color

  9. Cm Warren says:

    As the Student Coordinator for the Gay Straight Alliance, here on LBCC’s campus, it is never our intention of doing anything other than providing both a safe place for the discussion of LGBT issues, but also a open place for honest, respectful, and civil debate on said issues, with do have far reaching impact beyond just LGBT citizens, and their families. It is vital that we can have a open dialogue, because LGBT rights, and violence against LGBT people are not going to go away, just as racisem, sexisem, and anti-semitism are not easily eroded and erradicated from our society. Just as electing a black president has not entered us into a post-racial society, TV shows like Will and Grace does not mean that homophobia has vanished, as some have tried to claim such shows have done.

    The issues of LGBT rights come down to if every american should have the right to equality and equity within our society. It is about if our constitution applies to all, or just some, who just happen to fit a certain mold. In essence, LGBT rights is about affirming the rights of all are protected, and is but one facet in the multi-faceted picture that is america.

    The flyers that were put around campus is not a violent act, as we have seen happening alot recently in many places within america, but the additude behind them was hardly benign. It was a cowardly act, meant to in a mocking, devisive tone, sexualize the issue of being gay. It is this practice of making everything LGBT being about nothing more than sex that is one of the big blocks we are facing in having open, civil dialogue on the issues that have a profound effect on LGBT citizens. Should we sexualize heterosexuality? Should we require that all heterosexual marriages result in procreation, and that if they do not within a set period, they are automatically annulled?

    People say that gay relationships are wrong, because they cant produce children (which technically is not that accurate, because children are born to gay couples all the time). But the problem with that very view is that it assumes that sex is what a marriage is about, or that two people of the same gender cannot be commited to each other emotionally.

    Gays are serving in the military by the tens of thousands, and they are not causing any problems with unit cohesions… but the moment someone is revealed to be gay, all of a sudden, there are some who assume that now that soldier will simply be sex crazed, throwing themselves at any guy they see. It is not that the solider is a different person, or all of a sudden less capable at serving their country, and fulfilling orders, but that some perceve them as different. they are not different, all of a sudden others seem them as different. Honestly, it is more a issue that the person who all of a sudden does not want to work with a solider they have discovered is gay is incapable of putting the misson first.

    … it is the relentless sexualization of LGBT people that these flyers represent. Just because someone is gay does not mean they are sexually premiscuious… just as just because a person is heterosexual does not mean they are monogamus.

    The dialogue cannot be ignored forever.

What do you think?