Houston Davis, president of the University of Central Arkansas, ordered removal of a gay pride month message on a UCA library sign the day after it appeared June 11, stirring an unhappy response from many students and faculty.
Davis compounded the unhappiness by the tone of his message of explanation distributed on campus. He suggested that younger students on campus during the summer should be shielded from it. He said he supported the college’s diverse community, but the school as an institution shouldn’t be seen as advocating a “personal viewpoint.”
Here’s the Davis note to a faculty member, posted on a Facebook page:
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Debra Hale-Shelton wrote about the incident this morning.
A UCA spokesman told the Democrat-Gazette that the college had received complaints about the sign. I’ve asked for a record of those complaints. The college’s swift action to appease the critics unavoidably suggests that it finds objectionable as an institution what is nothing more than a fairly benign statement of fact — homosexuality is not a matter of choice, but of biology. High school students are aware of this. For the university to squelch such a message is, effectively, to advocate a personally contrary point of view. The university went further down a slick slope by promising to police such messaging more carefully in the future.
The Hale-Shelton article includes some understandable outrage among students at the decision. I heard from that quarter yesterday.
Where are the right-wingers now to protest enforced political correctness (Rapert-style) on a major college campus?
Would the president or Rapert or his acolytes allow ANY acknowledgment of Pride Month by UCA?
UPDATE: And speaking of using the institution in support of personal points of view.
The Facebook page for Second Baptist Church in Conway includes photos from vacation Bible school where the UCA bear joined in the singalongs.
UPDATE: This episode prompted a response this afternoon from the UCA president, sent to faculty and staff:
Faculty and Staff,It was brought to my attention late last night that one of our UCA mascots appeared at a vacation bible school for a local church. This is not okay on any level. The university platform and branding cannot be used in that manner. We have much work to do to better understand policies on inappropriate use of university resources.
Athletics has spent the morning developing an internal process, documentation, and request form for external groups. It will include explanation of the type of events that our mascots, logos, and branding can be associated with, and the athletics website will reflect the same.