The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs approved of someone posting a flyer on the school’s campus that says veterans should be “banned” from four-year colleges and universities.
The flyer is the first issue in a newsletter series that is titled “Social Justice Collective Weekly.” A spokesman for UCCS said the newsletter is not affiliated with the university and that any student can post flyers on bulletin boards around campus. But, as KKTV-TV noted, the school does have to approve any flyers that are posted around the campus. Now, in light of the fact that campus officials approved the flyer, the school is trying to distance itself from the message in the flyers.
According to KKTV, the flyers make extremely broad generalizations about those who fought to protect the freedoms of millions of Americans. The pamphlets claim that “many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society.”
The message goes on to say that although “many veterans utter the mantra that they, ‘do not see color,’” veterans socialize themselves “into the military culture that is of a white supremacist organization.” As a result, the flyer reads, veterans “have been permanently tainted.”
But the creators of the flyers did not stop there in criticizing the very people who sacrificed their lives for this country. They later claimed that veterans have an “overwhelming presence in the classroom,” that can “distract other students.” Particularly, the flyers state, this is true for “vulnerable individuals such as LGBTQQI2SAA” because those people “have been known to be the butt of insensitive jokes made by veterans.”
Perhaps the most outrageous allegation of all made against veterans is that they are “usually” associated with extremists right-wing groups.” The flyers specifically name the Tea Party and the National Rifle Association as among the “extremist right-wing groups.”
In seeking to distance itself from the disrespectful, distasteful and outright false allegations lobbed against veterans, UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy released a statement. In it, Reddy said the flyers “stand at the intersection of two core values for UCCS and higher education.”
“On the one hand, we recognize the right of people to express their viewpoints, even when those viewpoints are offensive to many in our community,” Reddy said, adding that he “rejects the notion that we should censor those who denigrate others, as censorship would have silenced many voices over the decades who needed to be heard.”
“On the other hand,” Reddy said, “respect for the right of someone to speak should never be taken as endorsing the viewpoints that someone has expressed.” The chancellor noted that the viewpoints contained in this particular newsletter are “against the law.”
“UCCS does not discriminate against veterans. But even more fundamentally, UCCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, creed, veteran status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or political philosophy. People earn the right to study at UCCS by virtue of hard work and individual effort, and we do not bar the door,” Reddy added.
It’s not clear who exactly who wrote the newsletter. The name on the flyers is Terry Steinawitz but UCCS told KKTV that it doesn’t have any students who go by that name. Moreover, KKTV reported that it “wasn’t able to find any records of anyone who goes by that name in Colorado.”
KKTV reported that all of the students it talked to on the UCCS campus disagreed with the contents of the newsletter.
“They try and talk about inclusion as a principle. Yet, they’re excluding one of the most important members of society, those that are guarding our freedom to even talk about this,” Joe Hollmann, one UCCS student told the news station.
Another student, Caleb Hensley, simply responded by saying, “you can’t fight hate with hate.”
The author of the newsletter, however, didn’t have a problem with veterans attending trade schools and community colleges.
Army and law enforcement veteran and internet blogger Paul O’Leary logically argued against that premise in a convincing post on the Havok Journal. Here’s what O’Leary had to say in response, particularly as it relates to veterans’ alleged treatment of LGBT students:
Why do you feel it is acceptable to minimize the safety and well-being of those who attend trade schools? Are you assuming there are no LGBTQQIP2SAA students going to trade schools? Do you feel they are somehow less deserving of a safe and flourishing educational environment than their peers in the traditional four-year universities? Or is the problem that you just feel you and your university student colleagues are simply better than they are? Do you look down from the lofty reaches of your superior school and gaze upon the chattel of humanity with the smugness of uncaring indifference? If so, I suggest you take a long, hard look at yourself and who you want to be.
O’Leary goes on to take issue with the author’s assertion that military culture is like a “white supremacist organization.”
So, a couple thoughts here: If black service members make up between 17 and 20 percent of the military, versus 14 percent representation in American society overall, can this truly be described as a white supremacist organization? With black, female, Hispanic, and Asian service members holding senior leadership positions across a vast spectrum of fields from combat arms to support to administrative, including generals and sergeants major, can this truly be called a white supremacist organization? With a system of advancement that is overwhelmingly based on performance with little to no regard for racial or socioeconomic background, can you really call the military a white supremacist organization?