Is Corruption Brewing in the Gustavus Diversity Center?
Is Corruption Brewing in the Diversity Center of Gustavus Adolphus College?
The goal of this blog post is expose the corruption that permeates the leadership of the Gustavus Diversity Center. You will learn about how the director of the center condemned a student for differences of opinion, for asking questions, and not having a willingness to stand on the party line and accept the popular orthodoxy of the day.
Virgil Jones is the Director of the "Diversity Center" at Gustavus Adolphus College. The purpose of the center is to promote diversity of course. Signs outside the center read "Who can be part of the D-Center? All Gusties!" ...because its a place "Where you can be who you are!"
However, an issue has arisen on campus demonstrating that this is obviously not the case.
An event called "Building Bridges" is being hosted in the upcoming weeks that recieves an allocation of student activity fees in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 annually. This pays for the expenses of the bringing in the speaker.
When it came to my awareness that the directors for the event were claiming that student tickets were "free" I requested that they clarified that the tickets were paid for by activity fees and therefore not "free". Rather, to say something like ... they were "pre-paid" and could be picked up at no additional cost.
I recieved a response from the chair of the event, Rebekah Schulz, that quickly devolved into a leftist rant against anything and everything in the world. She writes,
I think you sell the student body short when you ask us to clarify the "freeness" of our tickets... If, however, you are interested in reconnecting consumers with the knowledge of the labor and resources used to make the things they buy and consume every day, then I quite happily encourage you to join me in working towards greater awareness about fair trade on this campus. You're right -- people ought to know where everything they get for "free" or for "discount" comes from, and the effects of that process on the people involved, including migrant workers.
Setting aside that student's response to an honest question, I got an email from Virgil Jones. His email stated more bluntly that:
"Your request for a correction email is humorous at best. We refuse your request! I can't think of any reason why we would honor your request."
After departing from an real attempt at civility, he continued to do a poor job of representing the college. He places himself on the moral high-ground immune from criticism, saying;
You have a history of attacking programs that are connected to various student groups and the Diversity Center.
[I politely wrote an article to the school newspaper in 2009 that questioned the merits of the Vagina Monologues]
These actions imitate your history of being involved with things that seeks to demean or degrade the work or existence of others. For example, your affiliation with ... Gusties for Restoring America and their anti-diversity platform ... (i.e. straight week)
[Correction: We have never even posited the idea of hosting such event]
...or your recent Pathways for Progress proposal.
[Point of information: Pathways to Progress proposed the adoption of a non-discrimination amendment for the student senate. with the purpose of promoting diversity. It offered up a second proposal for"viewpoint neutral allocations" - a standard that would have set Gustavus' funding system on par with what is required of state schools ...HOW OPPRESSIVE, UNDIVERSE and INTOLERANT OF ME!].
Now, let me clarify that the mission of Gusties for Restoring America is merely to "Promote the conservative worldview and its principles at Gustavus Adolphus College." It is run by students interested in "preserving a great intellectual tradition" that "aren't interested in electing candidates" but instead want to "recruit and mobilize like-minded individuals to serve as spokespersons for the conservative movement." This is anti-diversity?
Not quite. This seemingly harmless organization [More info here: http://bit.ly/cL7eAn ] is just that, mostly harmless. Unless you consider hosting a discussion on the role of federalism in government after watching a PBS video that discusses the history of church state relations in America as something that is "anti-diversity" ...you might want express moral indignation over what the Diversity Center Director is suggesting. Other events that have been held by Gusties for Restoring America are: A recruiting table, and an attempt to sponsor a pro-life week that never actually happened. The group has done nothing else on campus other than "merely exist".
Even still, in Virgil's closing comments he personally attacks me once more by saying:
Due to your insistence to create chaos within our campus community, this is the last communication I will have with you until after Building Bridges.
I would prefer for you not to harass the Co-chairs of Building Bridges with anymore emails
[Building Bridges is the event that I merely had a question about and a placed a request for clarification. I sent them one email requesting a correction on the cost of the tickets.]
Until now, I had thought better of the Diversity Center: I had always given Virgil and his office the benefit of the doubt, extending an open hand and wanting to work together despite difference of opinion.
Obviously, that might have been a mistake or lapse of judgement on my part. This friendliness the office presented was perhaps only a facade. It could not be any more apparent that instead of promoting real diversity, the Gustavus Diversity Center uses their position in the administration as a bully pulpit against a group of people and targeting ideas that they hold.
Although I do so reluctantly, it seems I may have been forced to conclude that the function of the Diversity Center is not to actually help people learn to respect differences of opinion and lifestyle: The director cannot even respect someone who has a willingness to work alongside him despite a difference in viewpoint on a couple of issues. True diversity learns to respect differences, it does not work to ignore or suppress them.
Still, what the diversity center actually seems to be doing is working to erect an ideological fortress that disregards all concerns for diversity: We can see that the center doesn't want tolerance, it wants consensus. Apparent now is that the mere advocacy of a viewpoint contrary to their orthodoxy is perceived as a threat. This is not diversity, it is perversity.
Before I decided to elevate this issue to the awareness of my friends and peers on CampusReform.org, I wanted to be sure to give the Diversity Center a chance to redeem itself.
Because the D-Center advertises itself as a place where "you can be who you are" I invited Virgil to place a "Conservative Safe Space" sticker on the office door next to the "Hate Free Zone" and the "GLBT Safe Zone" signs. I thought this was necessary because he had obviously decided that I have no place in the diversity center. His response was "No Comment" and he proceeded to close the door in my face.
So I wish I could say that diversity was about finding ways to work together despite differences; but no matter how hard I try to work with the office, this is how I get repaid. There are some individuals who assert that diversity is actually a "linguistic contstruct designed to neutralize opposition to a leftist agenda and make dissenters look racists and foolish." Because of the incidences described here, I am now willing to give that perspective some consideration.
Conclusively, with the help of CampusReform.org, we have shown how foolish so-called "diversity advocates" can really be when their hypocrisy bubbles up to the surface.
It would not come as a surprise me if in the upcoming weeks I find public opinion bearing down heavily against Virgil and his office.