Saturday, September 20, 2003

Miami Student's Failings

I sent the following email to the editors of the Miami Student today. I added the links:
To the Editors,

When reading the "MU ranks low for gay tolerance" story by Harper Lee yesterday (09-19-2003) I was perplexed by part of this quote used in the story:

“It’s conservative,” said senior Katie Hladky, a co-presidents of Spectrum, a student-run organization for gay, lesbian, transgender, and straight students. “When something like 60 percent of students are born-again Christians, they in general aren’t supportive of gay people or gay rights. This is not a good place to be gay.”

Now, Miami's student body tends to be more "conservative" than most public universities, that is a fact. Miami is home to a huge Frat/Sorority system that has never been strongly open to gays and lesbians, but 60% are "born-again Christians?" Unless things have changed in this society somehow in the nearly 10 years since I was at Miami, then I think Katie Hladky, co-president of Spectrum, lied. Compounding the matter both the writer and the editors from the Student failed to add a rebuttal or at least a clarification as to the validity of her claim. It is not like the statistic she quoted is somehow debatable. If she said maybe 25% or even 33%, then that could go unchallenged, but to slander the University as I believe she did with hat claim is really uncalled for, and it is a disgrace when the student newspaper facilitates it.

Additionally, the article refers to the Princeton Survey of what I believe was 351 of the top universities, based on a Student survey of 106,000 students. Now that comes out to 301.99 students per survey on average. How many students at Miami were actually in the survey? How many gay/lesbian students were in the survey? That may be difficult to determine, but how many members of Spectrum were in the survey? Was Katie Hladky in the survey? With comments that she makes about the university, it would not be surprising that she would rank Miami the 5th worst with her slanted views. If you want to know how many people are people are Ohio State Buckeye fans in the State do you spend all of your time in Columbus asking questions? Or maybe do you branch out. Did this survey do that? Where those questions asked? Why also was this survey the lead when it is a month old? If you want to run a GBLT story, just run it straight up, don't hide it behind the credibility of Princeton.

On a side note, from your editorial on tolerance the following sentence appeared: "Spectrum, Miami’s alliance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer students annually sponsors Awareness Week." What is a "queer" as opposed to a gay, lesbian, or bisexual? Is this a typo, something "new," or just the appeasement of splinter group with a hang up on language?

As a Miami Alumnus who is a full bore social liberal, I find disheartening to see that ideas are toss out there without any forethought or at least an explanation as to their meaning or purpose. Gay/lesbian rights are very important, and something I fully support. What I don't support are activists trying to disparage people and places with falsehood in hopes of trying gain hollow support for their ever-changing cause.

Brian Griffin
Class of '94
Cincinnati, Ohio
I don't like it when activists are treated with kid gloves, especially when they are allowed to make stuff up without even a short editors note.

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