We have been through this before. People with an agenda abandon the rules and try to impose their values on others by some sort of coercion. This is not just a problem at IUSB, it is epidemic in academia as a whole.
[Editor's Note - As some of you may know I was the page two columnist for The Preface (IUSB's official student paper) for two years. After that I was Chief Justice of IUSB Student Government for two years. I would like the IUSB GLBT community to know that I used my influence as Chief Justice to stop an administrator from taking down advertisements for your club meetings in a certain building. I also led the effort to stop the administration from enacting a policy to censor student club bulletin boards from "messages that were potentially offensive". In that effort SGA President Marcus Vigil and myself made it clear to the administration that such a policy would likely result in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university filed by President Vigil and myself on behalf of the students. ]
Once again the actions of IUSB administrators and faculty have made national news and brought shame to my alma-mater. I am none too pleased about this and it would seem by the community reaction neither is much of the state. Unfortunately this will not be the only scandal that will make news this year at IUSB.
This is how it all started, via The Preface:
The decision comes as a result of recent news that a Chick-Fil-A franchise restaurant in Pennsylvania will be donating food to the Pennsylvania Family Institute and Family Life for The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God’s Design event. This event is a day and a half long event that promotes family and marriage. The PFI and Family Life organizations are both “against the homosexual lifestyle,” according to their websites.
Linda Young, Director of Student Teaching and Clinical Practice in the School of Education at IUSB, brought the issue to the attention of fellow Campus Ally Network member Dr. Bruce Spitzer.
The Campus Ally Network is an organization on campus that involves students, faculty, and staff. Its mission is to promote acceptance and support to the LGBTQ community at IUSB.
“Because I believe in the Campus Ally Network purpose statement and the IU South Bend campus mission statement, I forwarded information to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Dr. Jeff Jones,” said Spitzer. “My email included a request that the university initiate steps to stop this company from having a presence on our campus.”
Jones forwarded the email to Bill O’Donnell, Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Fiscal Affairs, who also oversees campus dining services.
After working with Steve Rose, Director of Dining Services, O’Donnell brought the issue to the attention of the Academic Senate, who then made the decision to remove Chick-Fil-A from IUSB. [The Preface corrected the record and stated that the Academic Senate did not make the final decision, it was the Administration - Editor]
This means that Chick-Fil-A will no longer be sold on campus or passed out for free during events such as Welcome Week during the fall semester.
So, Linda Young, Bruce Spitzer, Steve Rose, Bill O’Donnell, Jeff Jones and the entire Academic Senate… Do any of you bother to read the IU Code of Conduct and the IU Academic Handbook? The IU Code of Conduct is clear that it should be interpreted in line with federal and state law. There are First Amendment case-law scholars on campus who can advise you when you have a question, but a little commonsense was all that was needed.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute is largely a coalition of church groups. Traditionalists and religious people tend to be against homosexuality, that does not mean that they are against homosexuals. There is a huge difference. No where does PFA advocate denying economic, educational, or political rights to homosexuals. And before someone brings marriage up in ignorance let me settle that argument early; no one has a right to get married, not heterosexuals, not polygamists, and not homosexuals.
So, Linda Young, Bruce Spitzer, Steve Rose, Bill O’Donnell, Jeff Jones and the entire Academic Senate I hate to give you a lecture because I have always been on friendly terms with several of you, but someone needs to say this in a way that stings a little bit, so I will. IUSB is school for big boys and girls. Grown ups understand that just because you may want something it doesn’t make it a right. And just because you do not get something that you want, it does not mean that you have been illegally discriminated against. For example: I had a 3.8 GPA, was dirt poor and I could not get scholarships largely because of the color of my skin (white), but you didn’t see me crying “racism and discrimination” because I am mature enough to understand that I do not have a right to other people’s money.
Punishing a vendor economically because that vendor’s leadership holds the mainstream cultural view and/or the mainstream religious view that traditional marriage is best is likely a violation of the nondiscrimination policy and is certainly a violation of the spirit of it. The act sent a clear message that the administration and faculty hold a hostile view of traditional American culture and the religious heritage/Divine Providence which made the United States possible.
When this issue was brought before the Academic Senate, did even a single one of you stand up and say something against that foolish move? I would like to see the minutes.
IUSB ideally should take the same view that IUSB Student Government took while I was a student. It was clear under President Renfrow, President Vigil, President Blount and with this Chief Justice that just because some in student government do not support changing the definition of marriage and while some may believe that the homosexual lifestyle is not the ideal and may even be saddening; the rights of every student would be protected and measured equally, the rules would be enforced equitably and there was no room for selective enforcement/recognition of due process for partisan or any illegal reason. Every student who followed the rules would be made to feel welcome to participate and we did just that.
If student government could set such a fine example how is it that so many of you administrators who earn six figures have so much trouble? When I was appointed and confirmed to serve as Chief Justice I took that seriously enough to make certain that I understood the rules. It did not take long to realize that I understood them better than anyone on the faculty and the administration. I see that after my many battles with the administration, of which I won all of them, I would have thought that administrators would have taken the time to learn them better, but this incident seems to indicate otherwise. This flap has garnered IUSB attention in the Statehouse. If you who are paid generously to follow the rules and exercise superior stewardship cannot do so without outside pressure perhaps Indianapolis might find some who will.
Besides it’s good chicken.