by Raquel Fleig
It has become evident that a segment of the campus community is displeased with our intention to bid for a lecture from author Tucker Max. We understand and respect their concerns, and take them into account. However, we would appreciate the opportunity to be heard, as well.
We admire the successes of the Office of Anti-Violence Initiatives and student groups like PRISM and WILL that work against prejudice and abuse based on race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and in no way are trying to undermine their efforts. The College Union Board (CUB) has a female majority, with a large general board consisting of various ethnic and social backgrounds. We are extremely aware of the issues facing college-age women, and support all efforts made toward equality and a safe campus community.
However, CUB would like to maintain its role as the campus entertainment programming board that provides a variety of educational, social, recreational, and cultural programs. After researching Max’s history of lecturing at many other colleges and gauging interest from our own board, we decided to take the next step and poll the entire student population to determine what genre/presenter students would most like to see as the Welcome Back Weekend lecture. “Pop Culture Lecture ex. Tucker Max author of ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell’” garnered 38 percent of the vote, winning with 9 percent more than the lecture in second place, celebrity baker Duff Goldman from the Food Network reality TV show “Ace of Cakes.” With this information along with our research presented, the Student Finance Board (SFB) funded our request to bid for a Tucker Max lecture at the College in January.
CUB and SFB have followed all procedures set by the College to ensure this event can occur. To demand that we pull funding for this event due to protest would contradict the values of the campus in support of free expression. There is no way around it — not allowing this event to take place is censorship. There have been many other controversial speakers, comedians and musicians who have been hosted on our campus in the past. Denying students the right to have Max on campus would only open the door to further censorship of all entertainment at the College. Also, it completely undermines the value of the survey system, as well as CUB and SFB’s roles as student leaders.
Every student has the right to be heard, regardless of his or her opinion on this matter. To give the students a second chance to give us feedback on this event, we will be redistributing a slightly modified lecture survey.
CUB encourages students who would like to see Max to not feel pressured to vote against him simply due to the protests of outspoken student groups or campus offices. We ask that you consider each choice on the survey fairly and encourage you to research each person and come to an informed decision. Use your voice and vote so we can bring you who you want to see.