Freedom of speech
I am writing in reference to the letter to the editor “Know what you’re saying” (The GW Hatchet, Nov. 13, p.4 ) in which the writer castigates GW Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz for his use of the term “rule of thumb.”
The writer seems to feel that Katz somehow has insulted the student body and the University with his scurrilous vocabulary. I believe individuals such as the writer have caused members of American society to tremble when they speak in public and take offense at the most unintentional of comments.
Indeed, the writer seems uncertain as to Katz’s usage of the phrase. She states she is in “disbelief that a man in the highest echelon of GW’s administration could actually use this phrase and not know what he is saying.” In the next paragraph, she states “I doubt Vice President Katz even knew what he was saying.”
Come now – is Katz a disrespectful “mysoginistic” individual who believes that men should beat women, or is he simply answering a question about technological goals? Searching for nefarious motives within the most placid language is a sure sign that someone spends entirely too much time searching for vocabulary slights.
I support the right of Katz and any other individual to speak his mind without fear of treading upon the self-righteous toes of feminists, gays, special interest white or black groups, and any other organization seeking to find fault with honest self-expression.
The writer’s overreaction should be an affront to every person who respects the basic decency of individuals and believes that every verbal usage is not an attack upon their interest group. I say use the term “rule of thumb” with reckless abandon if you wish, because I for one (and many others) will not think that you intend to denigrate women.
On Monday Nov. 10, while walking back to my dorm from class, I saw a grand motorcade flash by like a rod of lightening. It was the president of the United States entering campus to lead a discussion on hate crimes in America at the Marvin Center. With the same quickness the president had entered and left my view came a flash of anger, I was left feeling trapped in my steps, although my body proceeded.
What angered me most was that I could not figure out why I was on my way to my small, gloomy room rather than to the conference on hate crimes. As the vice president of the Black Peoples’ Union, I began to wonder why no representative from my organization was invited to attend. It seemed appropriate that black students be represented at such an event.
Hours after the conference adjourned, the executive board of BPU met with SA President “Q” Golparvar about the “choosing” process for those invited to the conference. We were told GW’s Office of Special Events played a major role.
It is not the intention of BPU to insist that whoever is responsible for the exclusion of black student leader representation should be fired for incompetence.
However, we are suggesting that we would not like this pattern to continue. We also are stating that we would like to play a more active role in University events. We see our relationship with the University as a pleasurable one, while at the same time we are aware that improvements can be made.
We offer a rule of thumb when deciding whether or not to include black representation in University events – where there is SA, there should be BPU.
This fall we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary. It seems only logical that after 30 years of creating an educational, social and cultural lifeline to the University, we be included on all levels of GW programming out of mere respect. Hopefully, the future will provide less frequent opportunities for us to find ourselves trapped in our steps while motorcades of opportunity flash by.
-Dauda Griffin vice president, Black Peoples’ Union