Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Growing Cultural Battle in America II: University of Virginia

Earlier I referenced the issue of the statue of Chief Justice Taney in Frederick, Maryland and attempts to force its removal from outside City Hall and now from the University of Virginia we have yet another example of the attack on the very basic principles that formed our nation.

In Charlottesville on the campus of The University, Grant Woolard, a junior cartoonist and graphics artist was forced to resign from the Cavalier Daily for his work entitled "Ethiopian Food Fight". Apparently, Mr. Woodwards cartoons have not been well received by certain groups on campus for his recent depiction of black men dressed in loin clothes and its parody concerning the country of Ethiopia. In fairness this is not Mr. Woolard's first fray with controversy. His cartoon entitled "Christ on a Cartesian Plane" and "A Nativty Ob-scence" were not well received by the Catholic League for Religion and Civil Rights and prompted members of that organization to seek an apology from the paper for the printing of the cartoon. No such apology materialized.

Mr. Woolard latest cartoon and its acceptance by the Cavalier Daily managing team led to a demonstration outside the papers office and protestors requested a private audience with the Managing Board of the paper. In addition, members of the NAACP political action organization presented a list of demands to Dean of Students Allen Groves at a meeting at Peabody Hall which addressed the issue concerning the cartoon. In short, they demanded Grant Woolard be removed and his cartoons no longer be eligible for publication whereby censoring his work.

It comes as no surpirse that this issue could arise on a college campus for sure,just not the Univerity of Virginia with a long standing tradition of honoring the rights given man both by God and our nations Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. So it is of particular interest that we find ourselves seeing that on this grand stage of higher learning that we are teaching our future leaders that setting aside freedom of speech or in effect silencing it is acceptable if it is speech by which you are offended or simply find deplorable.

Anyone who does not believe there is a battle being waged against our culture should take heed of this example of complete hypocricy. Are we a nation of liberties? Do we not have free speech? Is the University of Virginia not supported by public tax revenues and thus our University? Do our rights under our laws suddenly end upon entering the confines of our Universities?

While I find the action to silence the publication of Mr. Woolard's cartoon in and onto itself unacceptable, I find it intrigueing that the Managing Board takes no responsibility in the manner. The Cavalier Daily has a defined policy with regard to its cartoons and columns in terms of the evaluation and criteria for publication and apparently Mr. Woolard's work has always met that burden. Should not the Editor-in-Chief Michael Slaven be held equally accountable if the removal of Mr. Woolard is just. Did not the Board approve the cartoon before publication?

This again is yet another example of how a single group can silence free speech in an arena solely based on the ground that they oppose an individuals views or positions. The Univerity of Virginia is a state institution of higher learning and not a private college and as such needs to be leading from the front in terms of insuring that every member of the student body has a right to free speech, just as those who protetested the speech have a right to assemble and voice their opposition. Is not the Univerity of Virginia known for its Law School?

I am reminded by Thomas Jefferson's words of 1787:

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter"

Well said Tom. The Rotunda at the University of Virginia has suddenly lost a little of its luster to be sure.


Anonymous said...

Where's the removal of the student radio host playing that offensive gangster rap? Its not two Americas, but one with a really big double-standard.

Anonymous said...

The Brookins cartoons of the RTD are personally offensive to me so Mr. Culbertson could you please have him removed.

Anonymous said...

And I thought the purpose of the ACLU was to protect the civil liberties of individuals and they of course remain silent every time the speech like in the cartoonist case is thought to be race related. The ACLU merely picks it battles under the guide of the liberals pulling its strings. They only seek to protect the speech of those who think the way they do.

Anonymous said...

What will the ACLU have to say about the demonstration at San Francisco State that completely over ran the College Democrats rally and walked all over the American Flag while students cheered. Great day in American history. We have learned nothing in forty years except how to divide ourselves.