Grow up:
There were also buttons expressing support for homosexuals in the military that were passed out for students to wear in the law school and while they interviewed with different employers. I know that several of the employers that I interviewed with wore the buttons as well. As a non-button wearing student I was asked several times a day if I wanted to wear one. It was like the Nazi button policies turned on their head. There was very little opportunity to express alternative opinions at the law school. I did not sign the petition nor did I wear the buttons that were passed out. I was asked several times a day if I would sign the petition or put on a button, and it got quite tiresome to repeatedly say no.
I'd like to say that it's only at Yale that students being asked to sign petitions opposing the army's open policy of discrimination against homosexual Americans argue that they're the ones really being persecuted (as if by Nazis, no less). But it's not only at Yale.


Blogger Zach said...

I like when he alleges that being a conservative at yale law school feels as if the law school has its own "don't ask don't tell" policy. I mean, what a total crock of shit! All those poor rich white homophobes who risk expulsion, disgrace, and possibly physical harm or even torture if they indulge their inner fascist, which they rhetoricly link to coming out of the closet. It's an insult to gay people in the military. Apologies for the rant.

12/01/2004 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

Why shouldn't that student or students like him be able to go to a school where he feels comfortable expressing his opinion on campus. This is a very widespread opinion because it's almost uniformly ignored by liberals on college campuses around the nation. We simply ignore that while making our campuses an open forum for almost every liberal, progressive, leftist or whatever you want to call left of center opinions, that we impose an almost tyrannical speech code on our more conservative students. They're not only often afraid of being relegated to being pariah by speaking their minds in class about what they might see as the negative effects of an encroaching welfare state, the evils of moral relativism, or the value of tradition in human interaction, but they must constantly be bombarded with propaganda with which they disagree.
The implication of your post seems to be that conservative students or others that feel very much marginalized on college campuses should just suck it up. Why should they? Is it because they're in the minority? Or is it because you have such a firm control over the truth or over what's right and what's wrong that you can suddenly feel comfortable excluding certain voices from discourse? Because ultimately that is what lost when people feel so uncomfortable, when people feel strongly enough about the social pressures that they feel to evoke "the Nazi button policies" as a way to explain to others the level of oppressiveness that they feel.

Furthermore, there are other, very relevant, questions being asked in the rest of the article.

Foremost in importance probably is the contention that the regular JAG appointments are actually civilian positions and aren't held accountable to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is one that should probably be examined very carefully. If it is true, then is seems that the actions of the Law School would be mostly for naught, or worse, had the court not ruled in favor of the Law Schools, their actions could have been for the detriment of other students. In the interest of equity it seems supremely unfair that Law Students should be able to affect the funding of those in the other graduate schools (particularly the science), for a purely rhetorical stance. This is not to say that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is not a bad policy to be fought, it is saying that taking a strong position while, unfortunately, only others would bear the costs of that ideological fight shouldn't be acceptable especially for such a pittance (this is assuming that the contention that JAG appointments themselves are indeed civilian).

Suppose however that the appointments would indeed be in violation of the non-discrimination policy of the university, but the other allegation that the JAG recruiters would have been allowed on campus had they signed anyway is true. That is equally problematic. Such a situation would call the relevance of the non-discrimination policy into question.

Is it true that other employers that are being allowed to recruit on campus may very well be violating the university's non-discrimination policy? No one is following up on that question even though it very much goes to the heart of the relevance issue mentioned in the last paragraph.

So while we're encouraging the author to grow up (even though he's not actually suggesting that he's the only one being persecuted in this situation), maybe we should be also be encouraging someone to actually look into the issues that he's bringing up. Oh wait, that would be the grown up thing to do, wouldn't it?

12/01/2004 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

i'm sorry, but however oppressed you feel conservatives may be on the law school campus (and i disagree with you that this is the case,) there is absolutely no coevalence between being asked to wear a button, however obnoxious you find this excercise, or to have an organizing conversation, or sign a petition, etc, with being repeatedly vilified as subhuman, having one's family uprotted and sent to concentration camps, forced into unfree labor, and/or murdered by the state-military genicode apparatus (which conservatives like Prescott Bush, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh were all too supportive of at the time.)

12/01/2004 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Josh Eidelson said...


I'm not clear on how it is, in your argument, that "an almost tyranical speech code" is imposed on "our more conservative students." Is it simply by nature of disagreeing with these more conservative students that the majority is teetering on the edge of tyranny? What I labelled as immature in the piece I linked was the contention that merely being asked by peers to support a social cause that one disagrees with is oppressive. The natural end point of this argument, it seems to me, would be that no Yale Law student should ask for another Yale Law student to join a cause unless she knows that he already is aware of and supportive of it. That seems likely to translate into very few causes getting off the ground at a school which prides itself on - and attracts students through - its reputation for cultivating students concerned about their surrounding and national communities and prepared to use the law in support of social justice.

As someone who tends to come down pretty far on one side of the spectrum of opinion at Yale, I've often been in the position of being an ideological minority. But while I've certainly been critical of policies - like police seizure of leaflets in the Woolsey Rotunda - which restrict my expression of those views, I've never argued that my views are being stifled simply by not being widely shared. The past few years have provided endless chances to watch the same national and local figures relentlessly bemoan a "culture of victimhood" amongst historically marginalized groups while raising alarms over the supposed oppression of campus conservatives who are stuck, for example, having liberal commencement speakers. Few of them have gone so far as to compare solicitations to support a cause to Nazism.

We're told that "there was very little opportunity to express alternative opinions at the law school," but we get no account of any dissent that was stifled, or any attempt to express those alternative opinions. He offers no evidence that he tried to do so - or to identify himself as an intentionally "non-button wearing student" rather than someone who hadn't had the chance to get one. Democracy is messy. Sometimes it involves being asked to do things one doesn't want to. If he had said no and discovered as a result that his grades were being lowered or his posters were being torn down or, say, his door was being slammed with a 2 by 4, that would be more like persecution.

As for the enforcement of the non-discrimination policy, if you have evidence that it's going unenforced in other cases, or questions about its parameters, there's a phalanx of lawyers and futures lawyers on this campus much better equipped to respond.

12/02/2004 12:56:00 AM  

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