The University of Iowa College Republicans’ Conservative Coming Out Week has a simple message—conservatives are people too, they aren’t alone, and they don’t need to fear discrimination on college campuses like liberal Iowa City. Leave it to faculty left-wingers, then, to demonstrate why conservative students need a little encouragement.
The Iowa Republican reports that Ellen Lewin, UI professor of—what else?—“Anthropology and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies,” didn’t take kindly to the CR’s campus-wide email announcing the event:
Lewin responded to email by writing, “#*@% [F-Word] YOU, REPUBLICANS” from her official university email account.
Natalie Ginty, a University of Iowa Student and Chairwoman of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans, demanded an apology from Lewin’s supervisors. “We understand that as a faculty member she has the right to express her political opinion, but by leaving her credentials at the bottom of the email she was representing the University of Iowa, not herself alone,” Ginty wrote to James Enloe, the head of the Department of Anthropology.
“Vile responses like Ellen’s need to end. Demonizing the other party through name-calling only further entrenches feelings of disdain for the other side. I am sure you understand that nothing is ever accomplished by aimless screams of attack,” Ginty concluded.
In an email to the College Republicans, Professor Lewin wrote, “This is a time when political passions are inflamed, and when I received your unsolicited email, I had just finished reading some newspaper accounts of fresh outrages committed by Republicans in government. I admit the language was inappropriate, and apologize for any affront to anyone’s delicate sensibilities. I would really appreciate your not sending blanket emails to everyone on campus, especially in these difficult times.”
Lewin followed up on Tuesday with this gem:
I should note that several things in the original message were extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity. Despite the Republicans’ general disdain for LGBT rights you called your upcoming event “conservative coming out day,” appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement. Your reference to the Wisconsin protests suggested that they were frivolous attempts to avoid work. And the “Animal Rights BBQ” is extremely insensitive to those who consider animal rights an important cause. Then, in the email that Ms. Ginty sent complaining about my language, she referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are not acquainted. I do apologize for my intemperate language, but the message you all sent out was extremely disturbing and offensive.
And, of course, UI President Sally Mason weighed in with a pitifully noncommittal statement about celebrating diversity and respecting differing viewpoints…without naming anyone who may have failed to display that respect. Let’s hear it for leadership.
So to summarize, it takes “delicate sensibilities” to be offended by a “F*** YOU, REPUBLICANS” from a professor in response to an perfectly respectable email announcing a college-approved group’s events. And no, the email’s content wasn’t “extremely disturbing and offensive.” Let’s look at the obscenity-worthy offenses.
Appropriated LGBT language:
Conservatives in Iowa City: it is time to come out of the closet! I know at times it feels like you are the only person that disagrees with this liberal town, but you are not alone! […] Wear RED Day! Come out of the closet and show your true colors!
Translation: only left-wing gay activists are allowed to come clean about who they really are, or take pride in their lifestyles and beliefs. You think it’s occurred to Ellen—excuse me, Professor Lewin—that by practically declaring it a hate crime for Republicans to talk about discrimination against themselves in the same way homosexuals do, she’s given the world a perfect example of why right-of-center college students need coming-out weeks of their own?
The Wisconsin protests reference:
Wednesday: Come pick up your Doctors Notice to miss class for “sick of stress” just like the Wisconsin public employees during the union protests from 11 to 1 on the Pentacrest.
Actually, odds are that many of the pilgrimages to Madison were “frivolous attempts to avoid work” (or worse). Just watch the flippancy with which teachers describe how “sick” and “anguished” Governor Scott Walker made them, justifying their unethical engagement in medical fraud, which closed down schools and cost Wisconsin taxpayers millions (all to protest, it bears repeating, benefit reductions which still leave them with a better deal than private-sector workers).
Insensitivity to animal rights:
Stick around for an Animal Rights BBQ at 6pm.
Last time I checked, animal-rights activists weren’t exactly known for being shrinking violets, considering their use of Holocaust imagery, buckets of blood, et cetera. I wonder if Professor Lewin has ever dropped an F-bomb on PETA?
In a better time, books on education carried teachers’ oaths, like this one written by Robert DeBruyn. Professor Lewin and her superiors would do well to reflect upon some of its passages:
I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity; the well-being of my students will be my primary concern always.
I will honor the position of parents and uphold public trust.
I will maintain by all the means in my power the honor of my profession.
I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics, social standing, or the monetary rewards received from my labors to intervene between my duty and my students.