Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Roderick Eugene King (the cross removal guy) and Freedom of Inquiry

Peter Dawson shared (via FriendFeed) a post that included this YouTube video.

The video itself is the only video ever posted by YouTube user mpeet76, and is labeled "Cemetary (sic) of Innocents Conflict." While documentation of the conflict is sorely lacking - the YouTube text doesn't even identify the school or the group that hosted the demonstration in the first place - the Cemetery (correctly spelled) of the Innocents display is one that is promoted by Students for Life of America. In fact, Students for Life offers advice regarding vandalism:

Notify the campus security of your event and ask them what you can do if you witness somebody vandalizing your display. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that vandalism and violence won’t happen on your campus. Make sure to have their number on hand, so that you can call quickly if anything happens. Keep cameras handy, and always have club members there to watch the display.

After some more searching, I found some more information at Michelle Malkin's blog:

this week, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, pro-abortion vandals struck–pulling up hundreds of crosses from a display sponsored by Pointers for Life. College Republican Ryan Wrasse sent me a video of one of the pro-abortion thugs gone wild– a student government senator named Roderick King....

In a Wausau Daily Herald article, King claimed that he was angered by the anonymity of the protest group:

King said his anger was not just politically charged, but also related to the anonymity of the exhibit.

"If you're not ashamed of this, then you should claim it and sign it," King said. "My student dollars are going to support this, this travesty."

Pointers for Life reserved the space but didn't indicate its sponsorship of the exhibit. At King's request, students eventually posted a sign reading, "Sponsored by Pointers for Life."

As someone who blogs under a pseudonym, I can certainly understand why people would be reluctant to expose their names at a politically charged exhibit. Alexander Hamilton would certainly approve. Yet I'm not necessarily supportive of mpeet76 for not identifying the circumstances of the video, but instead posting it as a wild confrontation video.

But back to King. He wrote a letter to the Stevens Point Journal which I will reprint in full:

On May 1, 2008, I removed the crosses from The Pointers for Life display. I felt that this display was disrespectful and for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, allowing this kind of display in the confinements of an educational setting was more than wrong.

There are a number of reasons for which I took it upon myself to remove these crosses (I did not destroy any of them nor did I cut any of their signs). After speaking with several students pertaining to this display on April 30, 2008, I was informed that a few other groups on campus were being questioned regarding their involvement in the construction of this display. The responsible organization was later asked to put up a sign that identified them. My understanding is that any student organization reserving spaces on campus must do this.

The Pointers for Life organization, has come before the Student Government Association (SGA) and asked for my resignation, suggesting I am more than a mere student on this campus, but someone who should be held to different standards.

The Pointer for Life's grievance against me as a UWSP student senator is that I was not representing the student body. On the contrary, many students agree with my actions. The fact is that Pointers for Life's real motivation to demand my resignation is based on our opposing views about abortion.

Further, I was not acting in the name of UWSP Student Government Association, but as an individual who believes one person's right to freedom of speech stops when it infringes on another person's right to a secular education.

Roderick King
Stevens Point

OK, let's look at the first and last paragraphs again, specifically "allowing this kind of display in the confinements of an educational setting was more than wrong" and "one person's right to freedom of speech stops when it infringes on another person's right to a secular education."

Is this the caliber of students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point? Last I heard, a university was a place where one could expand his or her horizons, not contract them. Even the words "confinements of an educational setting" are unsettling to me.

And if Roderick Eugene King wants to preserve the secular nature of his school, then perhaps the people at the planetarium had better watch out for the coming of the King.

Take a unique tour of the solar system and each of its planets during a planetarium show at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point this spring.

"Gods of the Solar System" will be shown at 2 p.m. at the Allen F. Blocher Planetarium on the Sundays of March 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4, 11 and 18. The shows are open to the public, free of charge.

The program features a history of the mythological gods and goddesses behind the names of the planets as well as what is known about each planet today.

I'm afraid that King will show up at the planetarium and overturn a projector. Maybe mpeet76 can serve as a security guard.

P.S. You will note that I did not include an attack on the liberal censors as part of this post. The conservatives haven't always honored university freedom of inquiry either. The works of Samuel Clemens, for example, have been attacked by both fronts. See this Reason Magazine article.

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