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April 11, 2024

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    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
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    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
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The College Republicans need to apologize for their event

There is no doubt that we, as Americans, are entitled to freedom of speech. Justin Kahle’s column “Stop Arguing, Start Being Productive” [Oct. 22] reverted to this age-old excuse as a means to justify last year’s brainchild of the College Republicans, “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day.” The argument surrounding this issue is not whether people have the right to express their views in an offensive and politically incorrect way, but instead whether or not a group should take responsibility for such an act and apologize to those who were offended by it.

Kahle claims that “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” was perceived as “fun” and “entertaining,” until it was turned into “something to be offended by and viable to whine about.” The truth is that some people saw it as an entertaining jest and others as an offensive demonstration which degraded human dignity. Kahle says that the event should not have caused offense in anyone who is not an illegal immigrant – and if it did, it was a ” legal” sort of offense, completely removed from emotion. I don’t see how being offended could be defined without using emotion, but that’s not the point.

I am not an illegal immigrant, I do not know any illegal immigrants – I am as Caucasian as they come. However, I find the concept of the event in question extremely offensive and I agree that the Latino Student Union deserves an apology.

Kahle goes so far as to compare illegal immigrants with drug dealers, saying that no one would take offense at a “Catch a Drug Dealer Day,” so why should illegal immigrants be any different? True, both groups are violating the law – but so are people who don’t wear seatbelts, or who drive 80 m.p.h. on Route 75, or people who drink under the age of 21. Immigrants are fleeing poverty and oppression and trying to improve their lives and the lives of their families by working jobs that most Americans would consider beneath them. Drug dealers are perpetuating cycles of addiction and violence. I fail to see the connection.

The problem, as I see it, with the whole “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” debate is that people who side with Kahle and the College Republicans do not see anything wrong with hosting such an event. I can’t change their minds. However, regardless of whether or not one believes that “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” should have caused offense, the truth remains that it did.

Kahle writes “Guess what, people get offended, it happens.” He’s right. It does happen. And when it happens on a personal level, it can be dealt with in whatever manner the persons involved see fit. However, when a campus organization clearly offends a large group of people, the status of the incident moves beyond that of a joke between a few friends.

Ask any public figure and they will tell you that there are consequences to what they do and say. Take the Dixie Chicks or Don Imus, for example. They expressed their opinions publicly and they suffered the consequences. They apologized to any who had been insulted by their statements, even though their intent had not been to cause offense.

Political correctness is not the law – the First Amendment still stands. However, there are realities about free speech that we have to face; statements or actions that are not meant to offend but do anyway are apologized for, nonetheless.

Kahle would like us to put an end to the arguing and do something productive. His idea of productive is keeping illegal immigrants out of the country. That is one option. Or we could go to the root of the problem and revise the European-biased immigration laws still largely reflective of the policies in the early 1900s.

Illegal immigration is a debatable topic. However, I find little room for discussion in this argument. The College Republicans have caused offense, despite what their original intents were, a fact that has been made clear repeatedly. The Latino Student Union, and everyone else who was insulted by “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day,” deserves an apology from the College Republicans. I am tired of people not taking responsibility for their mistakes – but I guess it could be expected of the College Republicans if they are modeling their behavior after the current President’s administration.

Maradith Noonen is a sophomore studying biology.

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