Both sides in the seemingly never-ending controversy over Youth for Western Civilization need to grow up.
It seemed like this debacle would be over when protestor Haley Koch’s case was dismissed. Then it seemed it would be over when Chancellor Holden Thorp reimbursed YWC for its expenses in hosting former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
But on Friday, brochures were anonymously distributed around campus, listing the then-YWC adviser’s home address — showing just how low the “debate” on the topic has sunk.
YWC president Nikhil Patel sent an e-mail to then-YWC adviser and professor emeritus Elliot Cramer, alerting him to the fliers and what he perceived as a threat.
Cramer responded, “I have a Colt 45 and I know how to use it. I used to be able to hit a quarter at 50 feet 7 times out of 10.” He sent that e-mail to several people including Patel, Thorp and Koch.
The e-mail did not sit well with Thorp, and he asked Cramer to resign.
Thorp made the right decision; Cramer’s e-mail was out-of-line. Koch said she saw the e-mail as threatening. And such behavior is unbecoming of a student group adviser.
The adviser’s response crossed a line. Those anonymous brochures were over the top as well.
But Cramer’s response and resignation also highlights the inane tactics of the people that have garnered UNC, protestors and YWC negative national attention.
Any group obviously has the right to criticize anyone. But it is irresponsible and cowardly to criticize fellow citizens anonymously. People should own up to their speech and give others a chance to respond.
It’s easy to criticize YWC and anyone associated with that group. We know who they are and how to contact them.
But we can’t criticize — and YWC can’t respond to — these critics of YWC because no one knows who they are.
Criticizing anonymously doesn’t do anything to promote discussion. It just creates a circus of threats, yelling matches and stupidity.
This by no means excuses Cramer’s response. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that emotional actions are rebutted with emotional responses.
The publishers need to come forward and own up to their speech, and YWC should just ignore any future criticism that doesn’t have a name attached to it.
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