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Opinion

Response: Inclusivity positions could be utilized by everyone

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December 16, 2015

Editor’s note: The Student Voice’s final issue of last semester included an article by columnist Molly Kinney, who posits that UW-River Falls would benefit as a campus by reinstating UWRF’s inclusivity director position as Student Senate had proposed. Kinney wrote that she was “sadly unsurprised” when the first two Senate members to comment and express opposition to the proposal in its original state were white men, who, Kinney said, “have less insight on what experiences the less privileged have, and why they might feel insecure talking to administration about their problems.” Here, the senator Kinney argues against writes his own response. For full context, read Kinney’s article at http://uwrfvoice.com/viewpoints/15667.

Being the subject of Molly Kinney’s complaints, I feel I should offer my point of view on this matter. I must begin by stating that I am in favor of such a position. However, I am not in favor of the scope of the position. I believe that if we are going to have a full-time hired “inclusivity” position on our campus, it should indeed include all people on our campus. My line of inquisition in the Senate meeting that night was derived from this belief.

Any single person can feel marginalized in this world regardless of their gender and skin color. It doesn’t matter what demographic you come from. Context matters. Women can have it hard, LGBT communities have it hard, Muslims have it hard, any race other than white have it hard in this country, but just because I am a straight white male does not mean that I had a free pass. In fact, I would argue that I had it far harder than any single person who feels that their only obstacle is their gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.

I come from poverty. I come from a poverty that includes living without electricity, no hot water, going days eating old lettuce on rock hard hot dog buns with expired mayonnaise because we didn’t have money for food, or cutting the mold out of the cheese because that’s all we had to eat. I experienced abuse that no person should ever have to experience. I experienced and witnessed domestic violence that even Hollywood couldn’t dream up. I was a four-sport athlete and an honor student and the oldest sibling of five that had to spend his nights and weekends after school and practice working at the local restaurant at the age of 12 to put food on the table. My home had so many interactions with the local police department and the county sheriff, we knew every member by name. As a child I would be left in charge of all of my siblings, unaware of where my mother was or when she would return, sometimes going days without contact and still having to make sure everyone was fed and off to school or whatever activities were scheduled. I witnessed death, drug abuse, and cried stoically through a phone at the man in a county supplied orange jumpsuit on the other side of the glass, silently begging him to help me make it all better at the age of 11. My only way out of that life was to graduate high school early and join the Marine Corps. I put in more work before the age of 15 simply just to survive than most people will put in throughout their entire careers. I may be a white male, but I did not have anything handed to me because of it. And to say in a sweeping statement that I and my brothers, who have seen and experienced things that to many people serve as fodder for their fiction novels, are somehow better off and are responsible for you feeling marginalized simply because we are white males couldn’t be more offensive.

In fact, being a white male has worked distinctly to my disadvantage. It is assumed that I as a white male just had everything handed to me, that I inherently have some kind of advantage over everyone else. Well I haven’t seen a dime of that advantage. This advantage never put food in my stomach when I was hungry or turned the heat on when I was cold. I watch women, people of other ethnicity or different sexuality than me stand up and say that they inherently deserve to be handed something they didn’t work for because they aren’t in the right demographic. They ask for it simply based on the merit that they are not a straight white male. They ask for these reasons, they receive for these reasons and it is wrong. Many of these people come from homes and situations where they had the family and financial support that protected them from ever having to be exposed to the idea that people could potentially grow up the way that I did, but I am still the bad guy.

We are proposing to create a position to help those who can’t or don’t know how to help themselves. A position that will hold their hand, ask them what they need, tell them everything is going to be alright and go to bat for them. Anybody can benefit from this so long as they aren’t a straight white male. This angers me. This offends me. This hurts me. I am a straight white male and I too have the right to feel these things.

This is a university. A university is meant to be a place where people come to grow, to learn about themselves and prepare for the world and life ahead of them. People are going to be offended. The world is offensive. Life is offensive. We would be failing ourselves and our students if we spent all of our energy trying not to offend. If you don’t ever feel offended on a college campus, then you were never challenged to learn and grow as a person. The university is indeed a sanctuary, a safe place, but safe from what? How do we determine whose speech and philosophy is correct and should be the basis of our “political correctness?” We must do what we can to help make all feel welcomed and give everyone the best opportunity to learn, but we should not do so with the agenda of creating cookie cutter humans who all think alike and speak alike. This philosophy of censorship and avoidance is in direct contrast to the mission and purpose of the centuries old liberal arts education.

However, I do recognize that these are real problems in our society, but I refuse to let them be defined in broad vague strokes when there is so much context necessary to understand each individual case. I do not believe that creating a position that specifically caters to any gender, ethnicity, sexual identity or religion in the name of inclusivity sends the correct message. The day we arrive on a college campus is the day we all step onto the same platform in life regardless of demographics. We are all provided with the same opportunity to succeed. If a student is then faced with a person or university staff member that withholds opportunities or specifically goes out of their way to make threats of harm to someone, or attack their personal character, or are purposefully excluded because they are different, then that issue should be dealt with. No one should feel unsafe or feel excluded from participating in the educational process provided by the university and this position should be used to address these type of problems. These types of scenarios do not fall under “being offended,” they fall under hatred, bigotry and lack of civil common sense.

If a black student, or any race, has to drop out of college because they have true financial hardships then we should help them, or if a black student drops out because they had been attacked in the ways stated above, then it is common sense that we help them. But if a black student simply decides to drop out of college and we bend over backwards to put him back into college entirely due to the idea that we need more black people on college campuses and nothing else, that is wrong. If a group of women says they feel underrepresented in positions of leadership, and therefore demands that it be required and mandated that more women be hired simply on the merit that they are women, that becomes a real problem. If I encountered a group of people from beginnings such as mine, or worse, protesting and demanding that they be given the opportunity to attend college I would be right there with them. It makes sense that everyone have the right to an education. But if they then said that they want to see more people from humble beginnings in positions of leadership because they feel underrepresented, I would tell them to go home because they have to earn those positions.

If we create a position that can be used by a group to demand that they receive tangible benefits and programs in the name of “equality” because they were “offended” or feel marginalized and underrepresented, then we will have created a position that is furthering the problem by creating more institutional and structural segregation by giving benefits to undeserving groups because they pounded their chest loud enough in proclamation that their feelings were hurt. Those who whine loudly enough, though on equal footing, will then receive “additional equality.” Is this the message we want to send?

If this position were to have the impact we hope it would, it would be necessary and most important for this person to interact closely with those people that could be considered as doing the marginalization. Just because someone is saying or doing something that is offensive to another person doesn’t mean that they are somehow inherently doing something wrong. We need to learn to understand and accept our differences, and in doing so, by virtue, work together with those that may offend us, because you may learn that we can agree upon and accomplish far more when we civilly disagree and move forward than if we spend all of our time focusing on our differences and trying to censor one another. My solution is to create an Inclusivity Department which has staff members who specialize in these specific areas and who are to be utilized to address these problems and then collaborate to help educate all people understand and cope with the differences in the world. We need to learn to look past and understand all of these differences and work together to overcome our current problems, not create more avenues that encourage us to self-segregate.

In direct response to the sentiments expressed in the column, I as a white man have my concerns heard because I stand up, find the avenues through which to work, and don’t back down no matter how afraid I am. It isn’t because I am white; it is because I am willing to track down the leads and tenaciously fight for my charge. These are things that I have learned through self-education, not something that was entrusted to me the day I was born as a white male. And as far as, “those who have historically held control of positions of power have to start agreeing to letting [sic] some of their power go…” This is really not the right message to send. Nobody should receive anything by virtue of it being simply handed to them because they demanded it. If anybody attains a position of power through hard work and dedication they should never be forced to give up the fruits of their labor of which they have so deservedly earned. If a person wants power they have to earn it. They have to put in the blood, sweat, tears required to climb the mountain and maintain that position. If you want something, go get it; don’t stand there and whine about it until we all get annoyed and give it to you.

Roderick Babilius is a student at UW-River Falls.

Comments

--- on 29 Dec 2015: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ im just in it for the fun and politics, but apparently im a dogmatic feminist now. anyway... so... you think feminism is strictly about rights? like, no societal beliefs at all, just government enforced laws? 'cuz nothing ever is, laws are just used to attempt to enforce morals in most situations like this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ anyway, anyway, anyway, not the point. you're just arguing to argue, not the point. not the point at all. this is all about the inclusivity thingamabob, do you care about that? at all? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ or did you see somebody say they were a straight white male doing alright in life and go 'oh, man im also a straight while male doing alright in life, i gotta protect my fellow straight while male doing alright in life'? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ anyway, anyway, was it really a silly declaration though? must have been real important to ignore everything else i said, were you scared that even though you're posting anonymously all your friends will think you're a nazi now and you can't handle that? or was it the manifesto part? because you do seem to have quite a bit of information about why women should just get the fuck over any societal problems there may be as if there is not problem there, the kind of shit someone uses when they don't want to acknowledge that there are actually problems in society. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ i didnt compare you to a nazi for having counter-evidence, i compare you to a nazi for having shitty counter-evidence then saying "Have a nice time, and I hope I may have made you a more thoughtful and reasonable person." as if you had not so shitty counter-evidence. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but whatever tho

Student47 on 28 Dec 2015: I don't appreciate being compared to nazis and being told that I'm making a misogynistic manifesto simply for disagreeing with your opinion and providing counter-evidence. It really speaks to how dogmatic and religious feminism has become where they shut down opposing information with silly declarations like yours. I support women's rights just as much as men's, which feels great since women already have as many as, if not more than, men. Anyway, I don't see the point of arguing with someone like you.

--- on 26 Dec 2015: i mean, like, reading the protocols of the elders of zion made hitler a more thoughtful and reasonable person. jk, it inspired much of mein kampf and was used as antisemitic propaganda throughout nazi germany. but please go on, i need me some more propaganda to remind me to cut off my penis later. like, let's say we break down what a wage means, assuming a pure system of supply and demand, that would mean that there is significantly less demand for the services of women. as a society we just simply don't require as much of the services provided by one half of the world than the other? alright. did you know that heart disease is a hell of a lot more likely than either cancer? (and apparently women suffer more than men on this one) feminism is a school of thought, not a single movement. while there are many interpretations of it, the base idea is that the genders are not currently balanced and this needs change. ideally, this would mean to balance them, and in that balance handle the whole rape thing you seem to have suddenly brought up. not everyone follows it blindly, and apparently just as many oppose it blindly. killing it with the wordplay today. oh, and we shouldn't go by how much we encourage children to do things, we should be teaching them how to way options themselves, show them the pros and cons of any given field, not just shove stem down everyone's throat as seems to be the current solution. not sure she was thinking you're a religious nutjob, you all seem to just be spewing whatever statistics you can get your hands on at this point. im a pragmatist and agnostic, so whatever ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ anyway, thoughts on this whole inclusivity thing? or are we too busy avidly compiling our misogynistic manifesto to actually care about the world?

Student47 on 25 Dec 2015: What a joke. Women in first-world Western countries are the most privileged people on earth. -Rwanda is a poor third world country. Gender “equality” stems from the need of men and women to work to be able to survive. If you manage to do an iota of your own research, you’ll find that better off countries have larger gaps in this matter because, with better economy comes the opportunity for women to stay home with their children or pursue other interests while the husband works. -Regarding congresswomen and CEOs, it’s either the fact that women are more likely to want jobs that entail less of a commitment, or the patriarchy keeping them down. Going to have to go with the former. I’ll get to the “gender wage gap” next, but much of that comes from a tendency for women to choose jobs which don’t entail less hardcore commitment. Women are less likely to work overtime, work less per week on average, and are less likely to ask for promotions or raises. I don’t think that we’ll ever see perfect “equality” in these matters as long as things are kept fair and equal. If you want gender quotas for some reason, that’s a different story. -The gender wage gap is nonexistent. The 77 cents per dollar figure is based on total earnings between working men and women, not how much they make in the exact same position. Take 15 seconds to learn that it comes down to the choices women make versus men. While many more women than men attend college, nine of the ten most profitable majors are studied primarily by men (with pharmaceutical sciences being the exception) and the nine of the ten least profitable are female-dominated (with theology and religious vocations being the exception). Women work fewer hours. Even in lucrative fields such as medical ones, women tend to go into lower-paying aspects (pediatricians vs. surgeons for example). Men also take much more high-risk, high-reward jobs (as evidenced by the fact that 93 percent of workplace deaths are men). -(I’ll put a trigger warning here in case reading something truthful for a change gives you PTSD.) Did you know that In the UK, the definition of rape implies that a woman cannot rape a man? And did you know that the US definition says that only being penetrated constitutes rape? So “forced envelopment” as it’s called isn’t counted as rape. If you look at the statistics such as in the CDC that people are always citing, when forced envelopment is taken into account, men and women are near equal in terms of rape victims? When you take into account male victims of rape in prison (a significant amount of perpetrators, by the way, are female wardens), there are significantly more victims of rape in the US who are male. And as for domestic violence: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence, https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/3977-researcher-what-hap-3977. -Regarding the 30 percent: yes it is because of interest. If more women went into STEM fields rather than wasting their intelligence on gender studies (though I question whether anyone choosing that field has any intelligence to begin with), your pretend boogey-man wage gap would be non-existent. -I’ll take your word for there being no constitutional right to equality, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have it anyway. I don’t know why you’re talking about money spent fighting terrorism and Reaganomics, poverty and the one percent. You must have some preconceived notion about who I am. I’m a democrat and an atheist, in case you instantly pictured some religious nutjob. The only difference between the two of us is that I’m open to follow whichever concept of our society is supported by statistics and truth. I don’t care how you think feminism benefits men. I’m not trying to get some benefit out of this silly movement. All I want is for it to be less of a blindly-followed dogmatic religion. I used to think I was a feminist because I thought men and women should be equal. Not that simple though, because that’s not when feminism is anymore. -Did you know that a 14 year old boy who was a victim of statutory rape was made to pay child support by his rapist thanks to the courts? http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2014/09/02/arizona-statutory-rape-victim-forced-pay-child-support/14951737/ -Speaking of courts, did you know that there is a REAL gender gap? Men receive sentences that average 63 percent higher than women for the same crime. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/men-women-prison-sentence-length-gender-gap_n_1874742.html -Feminists love to talk about abortion rights. Which is great; I support any woman’s right to choose. What’s not so great is that men have no way to opt out of fatherhood like women do with motherhood. So basically any woman who gets pregnant by any means can choose whether to have the baby and whether the man will be trapped. -This: http://jezebel.com/5349395/are-paternity-tests-anti-feminist, and the fact that paternity tests are illegal in France. -Did you know that women control 80 percent of domestic spending? Crazy how that happens when society oppresses women by actively not paying them as much! -Men make up 80 percent of suicide victims, 76 percent of homicide victims and, in spite of having so much male privilege, 61-68 percent of homeless people. -Also take some time to look into female breast cancer vs male prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is more diagnosed, causes more deaths, and receives a third of public spending. Breast cancer has seven drugs available for treatment and prostate cancer has one. I’d love to go on, but I have typed plenty for the day. Have a nice time, and I hope I may have made you a more thoughtful and reasonable person.

--- on 25 Dec 2015: :/ that would have had a lot more impact had there not been another comment between student47's and mine. quick note about these number styles though: these are what is called old-style figures (as opposed to lining figures), this is used to make numbers fit in more along with lowercase letters (whereas lining is more akin to uppercase), you do not use this for time stamps or names, just running text. here, i'll even include a reference: http://www.fonts.com/content/learning/fontology/level-3/numbers/oldstyle-figures

--- on 25 Dec 2015: if you search "can jet fuel melt steel beams?" on the Google (you know, on the Internet) you'll find multitudes of articles disproving this the way the very misleading way the original reports claim that the intense fires in the wtc melted the support beams. no, jet fuel cannot melt steel beams, but it still weakened the structural integrity of the towers enough to make them collapse under their own weight. most article speaking out against the concept of the wage gap provide no solid evidence of it, they merely point out that there are various factors that can contribute to what is statistically considered the wage gap. of course, if you think "men probably work more hours than women" is an excuse for a 20% gap, then problem solved, there is no problem ;) the whole point of the wage gap thing wasn't exactly that it even is a problem in the first place though, it's called an example. it is a simple right of people to be treated equally and we should acknowledge such things before they become problems, that was my point. i believe roderick's original intent of this statement was that the governing body should listen to the demands of the people for changes such as this, i was merely expanding on it and saying that we should never wait for there to be protests for there to be change. what frustrates me is that i go to the same university as someone who literally just used "google it" as an argument. also, it's not about relevance, it's about semantics. showing up to your sex ed classes in middle school completely nude would technically be relevant, but it's going to be awkward for everyone involved. writing sensational titles is going to get people fired up quite quickly. anyway, back to the original reason for all this banter. an inclusivity dept. is perhaps a bit too much to be so suddenly implemented, the position originally proposed is perhaps not enough to handle the problem. what we should do is start with the single position as a sort of trial and slowly expand to fit demand. of course, there is inevitably a limit to this expansion due to available staffers and this limit may be well below what is needed to handle the full demand, this ought to be taken into account.

Molly Kinney on 24 Dec 2015: Student47: Patriarchy; noun: a system of society or government in which men hold the power. I realize that the United States, as a developed country, is farther than most when it comes to gender equality. But we're far from achieving that goal. In fact Rwanda (the country where over 850,000 people were killed by genocide just 20 years ago) ranked fourteen places above the United States in terms of gender equality according to the United Nations council on gender equality. Obviously patriarchy is more apparent in the Middle East where women often can't leave home showing any skin without a male escort, but that shouldn't belittle the experience of western women, either. A few data-driven examples of inequalities that remain: -19 percent of people in congress are female, though they make up 50.8 percent of the country. -There are more CEOs name John in the United States than there are females as a whole. -If women across the board in the United States were paid the same as men, there would be $447 billion more dollars going into the economy. -Women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria (from the United Nations.) -American women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to be raped by a comrade then killed by an enemy (from the Department of Defense). -Only 30 percent of the world's researchers are women. This isn't because we're less capable or interested, it's because we're far less encouraged to pursue STEM careers. -Three women die every day in the US from domestic abuse. That's about 15,600 female deaths, more than five times the number of people who died tragically that day. The US spends around 600 billion dollars every year fighting the war on terrorism, but only 4 billion spreading awareness to stop violence against women, though the level of domestic abuse acceptance in a country directly correlates to how likely that country is to engage in international warfare. -There are no constitutional right to equality for women in our Constitution, as the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed, as 15 states would not sign it. I think it's easier to see the influence in the everyday lives of men and women anecdotally, though. For example, how many times do you or people you know, women in particular, look in a mirror or reflective surface to check their appearance? How many women do you know that color their hair? Or who whiten their teeth or wear bras? All these things were developed by men to continue perpetuating a standard of beauty that women are unfortunately told they have to live up to through the mass media of consumerism that continually tells girls and women that we are things created for the pleasure of men. As well, how many women do you know that manage a double work load standard, working full time (since most families can't live on one income anymore due to Reaganomics and the rise of the one percent, but that's a different day...) and taking care of their children as well? More men are doing more housework and more child raising, but it's not the standard. Women will only be treated equally in the workplace when men are treated equally in the home. Feminism benefits men though, too. To me, feminism (though I'd truly consider myself an ecofeminist,) is simply is for leveling rights for both men and women. I'm a huge proponent of changing cultural attitudes on masculinity. I think men should be as encouraged to pursue the arts as women are. I think if it's more appropriate for a father to take paternity leave after having a baby, he should do that, and get paid for it. I think men should stop being expected to spend exorbitant amounts of money on engagement rings if they want to spend their life with someone. Rape and sexual assault against men needs to be taken as seriously as it is when it happens to women. Feminism is becoming highly intersectional, and we as feminists even disagree amongst ourselves about what exactly we want to change. The thing we all agree on though is that there is a problem with gender roles and inequality in our country and throughout the world, which I think is something most people would agree with too. In fact, I bet if you really thought about it you'd find that you're a feminist, too!

Student47 on 23 Dec 2015: Just to respond to "---" regarding equal pay: women DO already have it; isn't that great? Search "wage gap" on Google and you'll find multitudes of articles disproving the very misleading way that feminists try to push it. Not trying to butt in again, but it really frustrates me when people repeat tired and disproven feminist mantras. Also, it starts with "I am a straight white male" because that's the group Molly Kinney ranted against in her "piece," so it seems a relevant thing to open with.

--- on 23 Dec 2015: so, it's possible that it's not the representatives job to make sure that they represent us? so long as those in power have any say in how power is acquired it will be inherently difficult for any other group to acquire power i.e. disenfranchising. even if every person votes and a fair majority is counted, then there will always be a lack of representation for any minority group in the population. but that's the ideal, we don't live in an ideal world, if we add in a tradition of always voting for the same group of people, this could lead to many choosing not to vote simply because it would seem that only those in said group can ever be elected. just because somebody put effort into something, doesn't mean they are guaranteed anything, and it doesn't mean they deserve anything. so, yes, one who worked for their position can totally be asked to step down, welcome to the real world. the issue with not wanting broad strokes is that there is no government efficient enough to handle every individual as they are, there are always going to be some generalizations for the sake of ensuring anything can ever be done in the first place. not to mention that there should never NEED to be a group of women protesting for equal pay, they should have it already. we should never need to wait for a large group to point out that our society is messed up before we fix anything. if someone does not experience any discrimination, then obviously we shouldn't compensate them for said discrimination. however, we should not just assume because somebody has money or is white or is a male that they did not experience discrimination, that in itself is just furthering any alleged discrimination. if you don't want to create two warring parties, maybe not jump in with "I AM A STRAIGHT WHITE MALE!" then base half your response on anecdotal evidence?

Roderick Babilius on 22 Dec 2015: Anonymous, this has nothing to do with socioeconomic standing. I didn't write this to stick up for poor people, nor did I say that people should just get over whatever discrimination they are subject to. If you go back and read paragraph 7 & 8 you will see where I describe this. I don't think that anybody should have to endure any type of discrimination, and I make it very clear that as an institution we should do our very best to ensure that every single person is free of racism, sexism, etc, as it concerns to the equality of opportunities available to all people. I also agree with you that nobody should have to shed blood, sweat, and tears to simply maintain the lowest standard of life, that is not what I was alluding to when I made that statement. I was saying that for any single person who does shed blood, sweat, and tears to attain a position in life, any position in life, they should never be asked nor have to give up that position for which they have so deservedly earned through their labor. Here are a few quotes from my statement that directly answer some of the concerns you have expressed: “If a student is then faced with a person or university staff member that withholds opportunities or specifically goes out of their way to make threats of harm to someone, or attack their personal character, or are purposefully excluded because they are different, then that issue should be dealt with. No one should feel unsafe or feel excluded from participating in the educational process provided by the university and this position should be used to address these type of problems. These types of scenarios do not fall under “being offended,” they fall under hatred, bigotry, and lack of civil common sense.” “If I encountered a group of people from beginnings such as mine, or worse, protesting and demanding that they be given the opportunity to attend college I would be right there with them, it makes sense that everyone have the right to an education.” “If a group of women hold a protest demanding equal pay for equal work, this is absolutely something that we should support and allow” There are more like this in there. I am 100% in favor of ensuring we all have the same opportunities provided with as few obstacles possible in our way. My whole point in bringing up poverty is simply to illustrate that there are groups of people out there that have real tangible obstacles to overcome. A black gay woman from a wealthy family has far fewer obstacles to overcome than a white straight male from extreme poverty. She will have no problem being clothed, being fed, getting in to college, etc. Should she experience discrimination in her lifetime it should indeed be dealt with, however, if she does not experience discrimination and continues to demand that she be given something because she is a woman, or because she is gay, or black, these are undeserving reasons to attain anything by. Is it the government’s duty to ensure we have a fully representative democracy? That is a debatable question considering we the people elect who our representatives are. We elect our government, so if you want to see change in the government you must act upon your right to participate in our political system and elect those you believe best represent you. It isn’t their job, once elected, to step down and hand their position to someone the population clearly did not desire to see in office as illustrated by the fact that they were not voted into office. I would suggest, to all those who read my authored statement, to re-read it before making a comment. Out of all of the comments so far, all of the concerns and issues brought up are explicitly spelled out, dealt with, and answered within the statement itself. After reading it a few times you will probably find that we agree on almost every point, and disagree on very few aspects of this discussion. The increasing inability in our society for people to respectfully disagree is an entirely different discussion, but one that would be worth having to help make necessary advances. My goal is not to have two groups warring with one another. I believe I make it very clear that on most levels we agree. It is necessary that we are able to have productive conversation even in cases of disagreement. Just because we disagree it doesn’t mean we are adversaries. My disagreement on any point isn’t a personal attack on anybody or their beliefs, however, I will speak out when I believe it necessary.

Student47 on 21 Dec 2015: If the best reasoning behind believing that the U.S. is a patriarchy is that "I and people who work on social justice say," that just further illustrates how ignorant you are, along with far too many feminists in this country (there ARE some reasonable and intelligent feminists out there still in the U.S. thank God). Talk about patriarchies in the Middle East and I'll be happy to agree with you.

Molly on 21 Dec 2015: I never said all white men are over privileged. I said that they're more represented by our school and democracy's demographics disproportionately, and because of that may not see why people feel marginalized. Very different standpoints. As well, I don't appreciate your use of the word patriarchy in quotations, as if it's not a thing or that it's less pervasive than I and people who work on social justice say. I urge you to look into the verbatim context of the word and to start realizing how it affects you in your everyday life, student47.

--- on 19 Dec 2015: so, since you grew up in poverty, everybody else should just learn to get over their problems, while the people with the full power to help them just deny that they have problems to begin with? your own experience of socioeconomic distress has nothing to do with the systematic discrimination many people face. and we live under a representative government, we should hand over some power to groups of people, not 'just because they asked for it' but because it is the duty of the government to both acknowledge and incorporate all groups within its constituency. there is literally no reason people should ever NEED to put in blood sweat and tears simply to make a living wage, sure if they want to take baths in fine wines every morning then they should need to work for that, but not to be able to get the same education and wages as anybody else.

Student47 on 18 Dec 2015: Katie: I don’t think it’s that he’s ignoring or misunderstanding what Molly’s column is saying. I obviously can’t speak for what Roderick’s intention was, but I think he’s responding to what she has said and addressing a larger subject beyond her point. Every person – no matter what their color or gender – has things in life they deal with. The point he’s making is that the whole western world falls over itself to appease people that modern “feminists” (I use quotes because the current wave of feminism, despite what many will argue, does not simply equal “total equality!” and has very much departed from what feminism used to and ought to be) say are marginalized. And while I certainly agree that people of certain communities – LGBT and people of color – do have problems that don’t apply to us, the thing is that, just because there are more white people than black, for example, that doesn’t mean people don’t listen to what a black person has to say any less than a white person. I’d argue that it is taken more seriously – even more so than before with the ridiculous protests that have cropped up at colleges all over the place (did you know that one of these protests at Guilford College had a demand that one white faculty member come forth every week to confess and explain how they have been racist or used “microagressions?”). And regarding your last paragraph: again, it doesn’t have to do with simply addressing Molly’s column point-by-point – Roderick is expanding this to cover more than the narrow view of her column. And on the subject of “safe spaces,” what a joke! Those and “trigger warnings” have no place on a college campus. The point of college is to be challenged not coddled. People should feel safe on their campus, but that’s a simple matter of making sure to have a university where violence is not tolerated and hate is discouraged. While Molly accuses every white man of being over-privileged and, in the first paragraph of her column implies that, because the first two speakers, who disagreed with the implementation of this sensitivity professional (that’s how I see it; I’m not entirely sure what the position is), were white males, their opinions are laughable because clearly if they disagree with this bill, it’s because they can’t possibly understand its necessity. Why can’t they? Because they’re complicit members of the “patriarchy?” Come on. Their opinions should be just as valuable as anyone else’s, no matter their race or gender.

Katie on 18 Dec 2015: I understand that you've been through a lot in your life, but I just have to say that I think you're missing the point of Molly's column entirely here. Her point is not that you shouldn't be heard or shouldn't have access to campus resources. Her point is that, given your demographics, you're more likely to be heard and taken seriously than people in minority populations, especially on this white-dominated campus. I think she's arguing that you're less likely to need to utilize a position like the one being discussed, because you probably wouldn't have a problem being heard to begin with. I have to ask, what exactly do you think people in marginalized populations are having "handed" to them? You're making an argument here that is not at all related to anything Molly said. She said nothing about hiring a woman because she's a woman or accepting someone of a different race to the university because of that person's race. She simply said that underrepresented populations have a hard time being heard, and it's important that they have a place where they feel safe too. I suggest you reconsider why it is that you're so angry about her comments.

Student47 on 17 Dec 2015: I find this to be a very strong and truthful message. I have personally lately felt that the overly PC crowd has gone too far in recent years, especially with the recent college protests. The problem is that, like many of the college officials whose resignations were called for, people don't seem to be allowed to respectfully disagree with them and hold a discussion without being labeled a racist or sexist and with little reason and with no chance for the "accused" to defend him or herself. People in this crowd always complain of how marginalized people have trouble being listened to or taken seriously, but look at all the college protests and media coverage. Look at how massive and, unfortunately, influential PC culture is. Sorry, I may have gotten a bit ranty, but I don't have the guts the author has to speak up. Maybe next semester, now that the topic has finally been brought up!

S. Scott on 17 Dec 2015: Mr. Babilius was able to express his points very well. We should quit judging each other and remember to consider each other as fellow unique and valuable human beings.

Jeanne howell on 16 Dec 2015: This is an excellent article, and I am so proud of the student who wrote it. It is well thought out, and very well written. I would say this young man will be very successful in life.