The column entitled ?BOV made poor choice in reversing previous decision? (CT, April 9) perpetuates ignorance and aims to further marginalize minorities on this campus. The author made several false claims warranting careful attention.
The column suggested we might best achieve equality by ignoring that people come from a social context, in effect maintaining the status quo. The author erased any inkling of ethnic or gender identity by appealing to the rhetoric of nationalism.
He said students ?should be applying to attend this university as Americans, not hyphenated Americans.? These words even fail to recognize international students as a part of the Virginia Tech community.
Instead of making this university a pedestal for nationalism, why not explore how people from other cultures enrich our own perspectives?
The author stated, ?It must be understood ? that diversity and perspective comes with things such as nationality and ideology, not the color of one?s skin, gender or sexual orientation.?
But, when taken within a social context, characteristics like ethnicity, gender and sexual identity do factor into our ideology. Does the author believe a black lesbian would share the same viewpoint as the white, straight male majority of this campus?
The column digressed to the point of suggesting students brought here under affirmative action should feel guilty for attending this university. But why should they feel guilty?
Contrary to what many people believe, affirmative action is merit-based. All students who attend this campus must meet a minimum set of academic qualifications. Just because preference is given to certain groups when selecting from the final pool of qualified applicants does not mean merit is compromised.
The author failed to recognize the Tech Board of Visitors conflict dealt with two separate issues: affirmative action and protecting people from harassment and discrimination.
By including sexual orientation in his column about affirmative action, he instilled confusion in the reader. People of varying sexual orientations do not benefit from affirmative action in Tech?s admissions process, nor do they benefit in any public university?s admissions process.
Whereas affirmative action concerns equaling the playing field for economically underprivileged minorities, the sexual orientation issue involves something much more basic.
For about a month, Tech held no policy protecting gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from discrimination and harassment because of their sexual orientation. Because of this, I question the author?s sentiment when he said, ?For a little less than a month, there was something to be really proud about at Virginia Tech.?
Although the bulk of the column dealt with affirmative action, how could the author still feel pride for an institution that threatened the safety and inclusiveness of a considerable group of students and faculty? Instead, we should applaud the BOV for serving Tech and restoring its former policies.
By allowing this university to thrive as a diverse community that values differing backgrounds and protects students and faculty from harassment and discrimination, the BOV followed the sentiments of the university motto, Ut Prosim.
I, for one, hope the BOV will continue to serve Tech in an open-minded and positive manner.