Guest Column: NMU could have shown respect

kyle.bonini

As the chairman of the NMU College Republicans, I was pleased with the success of the Ann Coulter event last week. The NMU Republicans is a small student organization, and we faced countless challenges in order to make the event happen. Although I could not be more delighted as to how the event turned out, I was disappointed by many fellow NMU students, professors and student organizations. We witnessed a constant display of immature and unprofessional behavior from all across the campus.

From students, we received a regular flow of vicious hate mail and name-calling directed toward myself, our organization and our event. Those students, who profess to be the most open-minded and tolerant of others, felt it necessary to call individuals in our group “Nazis,” “white-supremacists,” “hate-mongerers” and a long series of curse words I will not describe. In addition, students continuously tore down or defaced every poster our group put on campus. While we knew some students would be against our event, I was shocked to see the childish antics that many students pursued.

While professors were kinder to our event than students, they too lashed out at our organization with harsh language. One professor stated in an e-mail to our organization that Republicans stand for “hate, greed and oppression,” and categorized our event as comparable to “the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation.” Likewise, another professor stated, “I am encouraging every student (who) I see to not attend and to totally ignore you. May your event fall on its face. I wish you total failure.” You may ask yourself: Who exactly spews hate speech?

Student and community protests at the event also reflected poorly on NMU. The Progressive Student Roundtable organized a protest rally outside of the Vandament Arena. While this rally was an effective use of protest, the staged “walkout” during Coulter’s speech was simply disrespectful and tasteless.

I was disappointed that members of the Progressive Student Roundtable took part in the “walkout,” rather than denouncing it and keeping the protest limited to outside. Our group was saddened by the immaturity of those students in the “walkout” who made sure to flash their middle finger and raise their arm to salute the Nazis.

While they thought they were making a statement, they were really only making themselves look completely foolish. Our organization honestly expected more out of those protesting the event.

Despite the disrespect and childish responses from many individuals on campus, the event was still a major success.

Critics such as Platform Personalities, a student organization, said our group was not capable of putting on such a large event. We were glad to prove them wrong and show NMU and the community a different viewpoint on campus.

Our group hopes that the success of our event serves as an inspiration to other small student organizations at NMU that anything can be achieved with the right amount of resolve and determination.