Letters to the Editor

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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'Coming out week' contempt

I was deeply offended by the recent all-campus email sent by the UI College Republicans, which announced "Conservative Coming Out Week" by saying that "it is now time" for young Iowa conservatives to "come out of the closet!"

It is horribly offensive to use gay-pride rhetoric in reference to Republicans when the Republican Party is directly responsible for so much anti-gay legislation and political rhetoric. "Coming out" wouldn't be such a big issue for young gay men and women if not for the beliefs, rhetoric, and actions of the Republican Party.

Many young Republicans will claim that they themselves are not anti-gay. In that case, they should either rethink their political affiliation (unlike being gay, it's a choice) or work harder to increase the visibility of pro-gay rights Republicans. They should make it clear to the Republican leadership that the anti-gay rhetoric and actions of such Republican leaders asike Michele Bachmann and John Boehner are completely unacceptable. Holding a "coming out week," however, is not a way to persuade anyone that they are gay-friendly.

Using the language of a group that its political party is oppressing to complain about its own oppression? The self-righteousness and complete lack of self-consciousness is mind-blowing.

Katherine Montgomery
UI graduate student

Professor's e-mail a disgrace

I am disappointed in the conversation that has erupted in the past few days about Professor Ellen Lewin's response to the University of Iowa College Republicans' Coming Out Week. Lewin decidedly had the right to say what she did, but that is not the issue at hand. I, no doubt, have the right in a classroom to yell "fuck you" to a professor I disagree with. The issue is whether that action is appropriate in a place of learning and whether disciplinary action should be taken.

It is saddening that a professor would feel that the appropriate way to express herself would not be to Student Services who approved the College Republicans' e-mail or even in the form of a letter to the College Republicans' faculty adviser. What she chose to do instead was an insult to all who seek a free exchange of ideas and shouldn't be considered acceptable.

Lewin asks for tolerance of others, but does not grant it. She asks for respect, but does not show it. She disgraced herself, this university, and the causes she supports with her actions. I am disappointed as a member of this community that no one — to my knowledge — in a position of power (apart from Associate Professor Timothy Hagle) has called her out on it.

Whether the Republicans are justified in their use of the phrase "coming out" is a separate issue.

While I do not have the space in this letter to discuss it fully here, it is important to note that a paper for the university community, which caters to students of all political beliefs, does not have an editorial showing an alternative viewpoint on many issues. The editorial staff of The Daily Iowan almost exclusively relies on guest opinions and letters to the editor for a conservative perspective.

Katy Kinney
UI sophomore

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