In the last issue’s Letters to the Editor, Eric West ended his letter in a righteous indictment against Rich Shivener for his words at the end of his Nov. 9 article “Protesters Desire Common Ground.” There is a major problem with this, however, as those words that were not said by Rich Shivener at all. They were said by me, who was featured in and extensively quoted in the article. For West to attack Shivener by putting my words in his mouth not only shows irresponsibility, but a lack of understanding for what it is a reporter does, which is reports on the story regardless of personal opinion on the subject matter.
I would also like to address other issues covered in West’s letter, now that we have established who is who. I don’t understand how West felt he had the authority to declare the chalkings not to be hateful in nature when he, by his own admission, only viewed them briefly. I speak as someone who walked the entire span of campus, several times, and I still can offer only my opinion. A chalked “Homosexuality is Immoral” that spanned the length of Founders Hall that day seems to me, by condemning an entire group’s lifestyle, hateful. And that is just one example.
I do not agree with what West said, but I do have to give him credit. At least he, like myself and those with me at the protest, have the courage to put his name with his words. I proudly stand by the actions I have taken and what I say and invite anyone to commend or condemn them. But those brave souls who chalked those words in the dark of night can’t say that at all, can they? If what they wrote was really just their opinion, and in no way hateful like West claims, where are they? Where are their names and their courage?
Here I am, and here West is, and so is Kenneth Rivera, Jay Vinson and others who have become the public faces of this dialogue. Where are those it is about? If their act was just free speech and not an act of hate, let them come forward. Let them come out of the proverbial closet.
I don’t know if anyone felt personally censored by myself and others sitting on campus and talking about tolerance and opening minds the day of the protest, but I at least had the courage to show my face in the first place, and that is more than some can say, isn’t it?
I admire the gay community of Northern Kentucky University. On Coming Out Day, they took what was not a widely popular stance and bravely declared themselves to campus. They managed to do so without condemning any other group and do it during the light of day standing right next to their message. For that reason alone they come out as the winners of this argument.
No pun intended, of course.