Last night, a meeting of the Student Senate at the University of Oregon ended when seven students walked out in protest of a proposal to condemn the Insurgent, the campus paper that featured an obscene attack on Jesus in the March edition. Catholic League president Bill Donohue blames the university’s president, Dave Frohnmayer, for the turmoil:
“On April Fool’s Day, 1996, some white students yelled racist slurs out the window to some black students. President Frohnmayer did not see the humor in this and proceeded to drop the hammer. In the April 15, 1996 edition of News & Views, the campus newsletter, he flatly declared, ‘We do not tolerate racism.’ He backed up his rhetoric with action: He immediately summoned the Office of Public Safety and the Office of University Housing to issue reports on ‘racially based incidents’ so that he could answer them ‘quickly.’ He also called for a joint meeting of the university’s Race Issue Task Force and Racial Issues Advisory Council.
“Frohnmayer was so worked up that he drew a parallel to the Holocaust: ‘It may seem a far leap—even an unimaginable leap—from slurs yelled out a residence hall window to the horrors of the Holocaust. It is, regrettably, not unthinkable.’
“Now if Frohnmayer had treated the Catholic-bashing incident the way he treated the racist incident, he would have drawn another parallel to the Holocaust. So as not to be misunderstood, it was irresponsible of him to make the Holocaust analogy in 1996 and it would have been equally irresponsible had he done so now. But the essential point remains: Had he acted quickly to morally condemn the Insurgent, this matter would have been closed by now. Instead, he fell back on legalisms, citing Supreme Court cases on students’ rights. Hence, the chaos.
“Frohnmayer can dismiss Bill O’Reilly—it’s not hard to do—but he cannot dismiss outraged Catholics, public officials and the taxpayers. He needs to commence a campus-wide discussion on two subjects: anti-Catholicism and the relationship between rights and responsibilities.” Contact Frohnmayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.