Archive for the ‘@Press’ Category

Questions for Phyllis Schlafly

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Sam Guzik
Courtesy of WUSTL Photo Services

Correction Appended Below

The University’s announcement that alumna and leader of the national conservative movement Phyllis Schlafly will receive an honorary degree has spurred students to protest and led several professors to announce their intention to boycott commencement exercises. Student Life spoke with Schlafly earlier this week about reasons for protest, her ideological issues with feminists and her political history.

To start off with, how would you respond to the students that have been protesting you?

When I went to Washington U. I worked my way through college firing and testing 30- and 50-caliber ammunition and all I’ve got to say about students today is that I think they have too much extra time. I don’t know what college students do with all your extra time, but I guess one of them is go out and protest, while somebody else is paying their fee.

How did you first become involved with politics?

After I graduated from Harvard I worked for a year at the American Enterprise Institute and then I came back to St. Louis and I ran the campaign of a Republican candidate for congress in 1946 and we won. That was very exciting, that took me into politics. Things were simple then-I was the campaign manager, the speechwriter, the scheduler-and he won.

In a larger sense, when did you know that you identify with the Republican Party?

My father used to say that we left the Democratic Party in the depression of Grover Cleveland. So we have a long history-my family was not a political family, but they were all Republicans. That was just normal, I just voted the Republican ticket all through the depression, all through Franklin Roosevelt.

What do you mean when you say, “Feminists want women to think that they can’t succeed”?

Everything that they are teaching in Women’s Studies and in those courses is that women are victims and that marriage is unfair to women and that it makes them second-class, that men are naturally batterers and that if you get married you’ll probably get beaten up. It’s a dreary picture that they paint for women of the life of a married women or a mother.

So you see the feminist position as saying that there is one acceptable path for women in the world, the path of the career woman?

That’s right. Because they think that if you give them the choice, too many will pick getting married. They don’t even look up to women like Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Elizabeth Dole, Jeane Kirkpatrick. You don’t hear them identifying with really achieving women, it’s only ones that are whining around.

Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about martial rape?

I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That’s what marriage is all about, I don’t know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn’t mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn’t rape, it’s a he said-she said where it’s just too easy to lie about it.

Was the way in which your statement was portrayed correct?

Yes. Feminists, if they get tired of a husband or if they want to fight over child custody, they can make an accusation of marital rape and they want that to be there, available to them.

So you see this as more of a tool used by people to get out of marriages than as legitimate-

Yes, I certainly do.

What was the greatest political victory of your career?

Our victory over the Equal Rights Amendment is a tremendous story of grassroots action that can overcome the powers that be in both parties. We had Nixon, Ford and Carter all against us, we had anybody who was anybody against us and we beat them all. And they just can’t get over that.

Do you think they’re still bitter about that?

Yes, they’re still bitter about it. It was a dumb idea in the first place.


Check back for further coverage of student plans to protest and for an in-depth article about Schlafly’s politics.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of former US ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick; the correct spelling is Jeanne, not Gene.

Op-Ed: In support of Phyllis Schlafly

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Rachel Wisdom

On Wednesday morning, Washington University Professor Mary Ann Dzubak stated that the school awards honorary degrees to people whom it wishes to hold up as “worthy of emulation.” Phyllis Schlafly, she argued, is not this sort of person. On the contrary, I would argue that Mrs. Schlafly fits the qualification perfectly. Based on her political successes, her defense of women’s rights, and her hard work throughout her career, Mrs. Schlafly is most worthy of emulation.

Phyllis Schlafly’s most noteworthy accomplishment is her incredible victory against the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which stated that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged.on account of sex.” When she first turned her attention to ERA in 1972, the amendment was eight states away from ratification and a plank in both parties’ platforms. It was supported by 90% of the U.S. Congress, every living former president, and nearly every state governor. Yet against all odds, Mrs. Schlafly managed to galvanize women across America, single-handedly leading a ten-year, uphill battle to defeat ERA.

How did she do it? She relentlessly pointed out the ways in which ratification of the innocuous-sounding ERA would actually represent a loss for women’s rights, not a victory. The amendment, she noted, would do away with laws that privileged women, such as those that require husbands to financially support their wives as well as labor laws that protect women in industry from compulsory overtime and from lifting certain amounts of weight. It would deny federal funding to single-sex women’s colleges, prevent elderly widows from receiving Social Security benefits based on their late husband’s earnings, and make it much more difficult for women to automatically receive alimony and child custody in divorce cases. Most importantly, Mrs. Schlafly argued, ERA would end women’s exemption from the military draft. In the event of a draft, young women would be forced into combat in equal numbers with young men.

Mrs. Schlafly fought ERA because it took rights away from women. She is a strong defender of women’s rights, including the special privileges certain laws grant them. It has been frequently asserted over the last several days that Mrs. Schlafly “tells women they should stay at home.” Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, Mrs. Schlafly encourages women to be politically active, as she has been throughout her career, which includes multiple books and two runs for Congress. She considers education to be an important goal for young women-she herself has a law degree, and her mother graduated from Washington University in 1920-and she is fully supportive of women who choose to have careers. Far from viewing women as “weak and emotional”-as Professor Dzubak suggested on KMOX radio on Wednesday morning-Mrs. Schlafly has argued throughout her career for women’s mental and emotional strength, suggesting that their ability to manage home and family makes them even more resilient than men. As Mrs. Schlafly stated on KMOX on Wednesday, she “admire(s) the role of the full-time homemaker.” If women wish to stay at home and give full attention to their children and their household, Mrs. Schlafly argues that they have a right to do so, and she strongly supports women who make this choice.

Her defense of women’s rights aside, Mrs. Schlafly’s intelligence and hard-working nature also make her a worthy example for students and graduates. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University, earning a bachelor’s degree in three years while simultaneously working 48 hours a week testing ammunition in a local factory. She went on to receive her master’s from Harvard in a mere eight months. A Washington University political science professor at the time wrote that she “is the most capable woman student we have had in this department in ten years.” In the midst of the time-consuming ERA fight, Mrs. Schlafly enrolled in Washington University School of Law, saying that she would study and attend classes in her “spare time.” She graduated on time near the top of her class. Over the course of her career, she has written ten books, including an 800-page study of U.S. nuclear policy, on which she became an expert during the Cold War.

As a staunch defender of women’s rights, a leader of a national political movement, and a successful, hard-working individual, Mrs. Schlafly is certainly someone “worthy of emulation.” She deserves this honor and she deserves to be held in high regard by Washington University students.

Rachel is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Letter to the Editor: Wash. U. Degree for sale to the highest bidder

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Rachel Wisdom

Dear Editor:

I am a Wash. U. alum who graduated in 1969. I attended a school that was highly different from the one that currently occupies the land between Big Bend and Skinker, just south of whatever Millbrook has become. For one thing, Channel 9 & the ROTC Quonset hut have been supplanted by something called the “Danforth Campus.” And to obtain some kind of verification on my recent trip back to my good ole’ alma mater, I drove to the other end of what used to be the campus, and I walked up to Brookings Hall, which has always been the grand entrance to the University. I discovered to my horror that, indeed, the Wash. U. campus had become the “Danforth Campus.” The name was boldly and permanently announced by the huge, brassy, embedded plaque gouged into the old cobblestones in front of the arch. Being a skeptical person, (something that was carefully honed during my studies of English literature at the real Wash. U.) I had always feared the worst would happen following the takeover by the Danforth Brothers in the 1970s. I understand that the trustees couldn’t resist the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Danforth Foundation dangled so enticingly in front of their (by then) acquiescent noses.and it didn’t.

Now, in its infinite non-wisdom, the powers-that-be have decided to award one of its most infamous alums – Phyllis Shaftly (sic) – an honorary degree. What’s an upstanding, enlightened, progressive alum such as myself to do? What exactly, is a Wash. U. degree worth? How much did it cost? Who gets one next year – Ollie North? Well, just as Ronald Reagan did NOT want to pardon ole’ Ollie, I refuse to pardon “the shaft.” Her legacy to the women of this country, not to mention the world, is scandalously destructive. An institution that chooses to honor such a person does not deserve to continue to have me as a graduate.

So, I am putting my diploma up for sale to the highest bidder! Doesn’t that have a familiar ring? Bidding starts at $100,000 (inflated to match the egos of those who should be ashamed.) But I will settle for much, much less (deflated to match actual value).

I used to love walking on the campus and running into Dr. Eliot and his golden retriever. He was an actual scholar who led Wash. U. when the students had an actual reason for almost believing the old sweatshirt adage – Washington University, the Harvard of the Midwest.

Who wants the vintage parchment?

Robert H. Mayes
Wash. U. Alum, 1969

Letter to the Editor: Beware of the message

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Rachel Wisdom

Dear Editor:

I am mystified that Washington University in St. Louis is choosing to honor someone who believes that women should not enjoy the full rights that men enjoy and that it is impossible for husbands to rape their wives. This sends a terrible message to the young women Wash. U. is trying to educate and to other bright young women we would like to recruit to join our university.

I do not deny that Phyllis Schlafly has been an effective grass-roots organizer. But competence is not the only measure of honor. There have been and are effective organizations that Wash. U. should not honor, because those organizations serve purposes that Wash. U. ought not and does not honor.

I do not deny that Phyllis Schlafly has provoked much public debate. But provocation is not always honorable. There have been and are provocateurs whom Wash. U. ought not and does not honor.

I also do not deny that Wash. U. has honored individuals of a wide range of political opinions without endorsing those opinions. But the university has still managed to realize that it ought not and does not honor all provocative and influential voices in the public sphere no matter what their opinion. I trust I do not need to name names of those who are plainly beyond the pale. The only question is whether Phyllis Schlafly is beyond what Wash. U. can honor. I am deeply dismayed that the university has decided that she is not.

Eric Brown
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Students form Coalition to protest Schlafly

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Ben Sales

After organizing at a meeting earlier this week, students have created the Coalition for a Responsible Washington University in order to protest the University’s decision to award an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly, a national conservative activist, will receive the award at this year’s Commencement Ceremony on May 16.

The coalition has petitioned Chancellor Mark Wrighton to rescind Schlafly’s invitation. In the event that the University stands by its decision, the protesting students plan to wear armbands to Commencement and to turn their backs to the podium when Schlafly is awarded her degree.

Schlafly’s views, which the coalition calls anti-feminist, include denial of the existence of marital rape and objections to equal rights for women and homosexuals. The coalition says that honoring Schlafly with a degree is tantamount to endorsing those positions and does not serve to foster political dialogue on campus.

In forming the coalition, senior Lauren Bernstein says that students are legitimizing the protest and drawing the campus’s attention to it.

“It’s a way for Washington University students, faculty, staff and alumni to voice their opinions and come together to do what they can to revoke this degree,” she said. “It gives us a way to communicate, to get people involved and to inform people.”

Because of the limited time between the announcement of Schlafly’s honorary degree and Commencement, one of the coalition’s main goals is to educate the senior class-through Facebook groups, emails and word-of-mouth conversations-about Schlafly’s views and why, according to the coalition, those views contradict the principles of the University.

Bernstein says, however, that the coalition’s goal is not to interfere with the events of Senior Week or Commencement, at which activists plan to disseminate information about Schlafly.

“We’re not advocating tactics that would be disruptive to the ceremony,” Bernstein said of the planned protest. “We believe that seniors who are graduating deserve to have a good time. [Schlafly’s degree] is a part of [the ceremonies] that is not positive and we want to recognize it.”

Professor Mary Ann Dzuback, who heads the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University, said that she will not attend Commencement if Schlafly will be honored.

“The honorary degree is an honor the University confers on people whose lives have in some way or another been exemplary and should be held up to the students as models,” Dzuback said. “This is not about representing views. It’s insulting to all of us.”

Although several students have considered following Dzuback’s lead and not attending Commencement, Bernstein says that the goal of the protest is to make a statement at the event while still giving students the attention they deserve.

“We want a presence at the ceremony,” she said. “People who are attending deserve to get their degrees. We hope to be able to send a message to the University. There are a lot of people who believe that this is not O.K.”

Dzuback supports the students’ protest, and the faculty of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department has also sent a letter to the chancellor requesting that he withdraw Schlafly’s invitation. In doing so, Dzuback says, the department is taking the long term interests of the University into account.

“I hope something effective comes out of [the protest],” she said. “It would be embarrassing for the University to [rescind the invitation] but it would be more detrimental in the long run not to withdraw the invitation.”

Regarding the coalition’s long-term plans, Bernstein says that though the students’ immediate focus is on Schlafly, she is confident that those members who are not graduating will continue to act on the same convictions.

“We believe in having a more transparent process in the University,” Bernstein said. “This reflects larger issues in the University. I see students who care about this and how the University is represented sticking with this. It’s something the group members care about.”

In face of protestors, Schlafly stands firm

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Sam Guzik
Courtesy of WUSTL Photo Services

As students and faculty flock to a group calling on the University to reverse its decision to offer prominent conservative Phyllis Schlafly an honorary degree, Schlafly is standing by controversial statements she has made in the past that have made her famous within the conservative community and infamous among liberals.

“The feminists teach women that they are the victims of an oppressive patriarchal society, which is completely ridiculous,” Schlafly said in an interview conducted earlier this week. “American women are the most privileged, fortunate class of people who have ever lived.”

Schlafly gained national prominence in the 1960s as the author of “A Choice, Not an Echo,” a book that outlines her opposition to feminism and which looked to refocus the Republican Party toward its voting base in the Midwest as opposed to the Northeast-and New York in particular-where it had previously been based.

Since then Schlafly has received attention largely for her stance on women’s rights issues, where she aligns herself with traditional values, opposing the feminist movement and its achievements.

In recent years, she has spoken out against marital rape laws, gay rights and the effort to increase the number of females in math and science programs-a movement that she says will compromise teaching standards.

“The feminists [and] the whole women’s studies movement is very disdainful of the full-time homemaker. One of the goals of the feminist movement was to drive all the homemakers out of the home,”Schlafly said. “I think one of the main reasons they hate me is that I stood up for the value and the rank of the full time homemaker.”

Many of Schlafly’s opinions have been informed by the chronology of her personal achievements, which she says contradicts the feminist telling of history.

“The idea that opportunities just opened up for women when [feminists] came along is just nonsense. I got my bachelors degree in ’44 and I got my masters degree in ’45, my mother graduated from Washington U. in 1920,” Schlafly said. “It’s a fine school, opportunities have been there, and any of my classmates could have done what I did.”

Since the 1970s when Schlafly took a leadership role in the campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment and against the societal changes caused by the feminist movement, she has drawn criticism and disdain from those who disagree with her.

“These are basic civil rights that she doesn’t agree with. Why would we offer her a degree? It makes no sense and it’s insulting,” Mary Ann Dzuback, director of the Women and Gender Studies program, said. “She wouldn’t have the voice that she has now if the world was constructed according to Phyllis Schlafly’s design.”

Most recently, in 2007, Schlafly came under fire for her comments about marital rape-specifically that it was not possible because marriage is a consent to sex.

“It is completely ludicrous that because I have said ‘I want to marry you’ that means ‘I want to have sex with you whenever you want,'” Lauren Weiss, a Women and Gender Studies major, said. “No one gives up their autonomy when they get married. Why would feminism say, ‘We want you to have autonomy, but only until you get married.'”

Schlafly has stood by the statements which she made and the way in which they were portrayed in the media at the time, continuing to argue that marital rape is a construction by feminists.

Despite being a magnet for debate on all women’s rights issues, Schlafly pays no mind to the protests that have surrounded her in the last 40 years nationwide and in the last week at the University.

“When I went to Washington U. I worked my way through college firing and testing 30- and 50-caliber ammunition and all I’ve got to say about students today is that I think they have too much extra time,” Schlafly said. “I don’t know what college students do with all your extra time, but I guess one of them is go out and protest, while somebody else is paying their fee.”

One of the points on which Schlafly clashes with her opponents regards the role of women in society as it relates to the choice of pursuing a career or working exclusively within the home to raise children and care for a family.

“It’s her choice and she’s welcome to it, but she shouldn’t put other people into that position. That was the purpose of the feminist movement, to provide women with options beyond domesticity.” Dzuback said. “To suggest that women give up any kind of public or private work life is no longer a fair expectation [because of economic constraints].”

While both sides argue that women should be able to make individual choices to determine their path, Schlafly and her supporters see strength in the traditional family structure.

“I want to devote all of my time to children once I have kids, but there are plenty of women who would disagree with that,” Charis Fisher, president of College Republicans, said. “It’s best if you choose one role, but I wouldn’t think its bad for others to make a different choice [from me].”

Schlafly chose to spend nearly 25 years raising six children after receiving degrees from both Washington University and Harvard, respectively, and briefly working in politics.

Calling herself a “sequential woman,” Schlafly argues that by entering the public sphere after raising a family she was able to devote her full attention and achieve satisfaction from both causes.

“I spent 25 years raising my six children and now I have time to run around and debate these feminists on college campuses,” Schlafly said. “I went back to Washington U. law school after I was 50 [in 1970], but I’m glad I didn’t have my six children after I was 50. [Feminists] think one of the oppressions of life is the biological clock-well, you need to deal with life the way it is. I’m very happy with all of my choices.”

In a larger sense, one of Schlafly’s lasting achievements was shaping the direction of political invective for the last thirty years. Schlafly’s positions and argument style have served a basis for that used by many other prominent political commentators until today; many point to conservative columnist Ann Coulter’s writings as an example of this trend.

According to Dzuback, the content of Schlafly’s statements is based largely on the political message she is looking to convey, and not on an accurate portrayal of the situation.

“[Her argument] is not based in research. It’s polemical. It’s largely designed to illicit knee-jerk reactions rather than spur debate,” she said. “I don’t understand why we would honor someone like that.”

-With additional reporting by Ben Sales.

We are the Champions! Men’s tennis takes title

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Josh Goldman
Courtesy of Mark Partridge

Washington University men’s tennis captured the school’s fourth national championship of the season today with a 5-3 win over rival Emory University at the NCAA Division Three Championship in Lewiston, Maine. The fifth ranked Bears avenged a loss to the third ranked Eagles in the finals of the UAA Championship on April 27 en route to the team’s first national title.

Wash. U. jumped out to an early lead during doubles play when the 18th ranked doubles team of juniors Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland won at first doubles 8-4, overcoming a 0-4 deficit. Sophomore John Watts and junior Nirmal Choradia won by the same margin at second doubles. The freshmen duo of Isaac Stein and Max Woods fell 5-8 at third doubles to give Wash. U. a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.

Stein started singles play nicely for the Red and Green with a 6-3, 6-2 win at sixth singles to give the Bears a 3-1 lead in the race to five.

Emory then evened the match with a 3-6, 4-6 win over Woods at fourth singles and a 6-4, 6-3 win by No. 20 Michael Goodwin over top ranked Watts at first singles.

Wash. U. stormed back to take a 4-3 lead after Hoeland captured fifth singles with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 come from behind win while second and third singles were still early in the final set.

Sophomore Danny Levy clinched the win for Wash. U. with a come from behind win at third singles, taking the match 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. Emory was relegated to second for the second straight season after the Eagles fell to University of California-Santa Cruz.

Washington University, which never boasted a male national champion team until this season, now has two such champions in this year’s tennis and basketball teams. The volleyball team also captured a national title in the fall and senior Morgen Leonard-Fleckman took the pole vaulting title over the winter. All four national championships currently put Wash. U. atop the Director’s Cup Standings with only a few sports still competing. The final cup rankings will be released on June 11.

The Bears had a long road to this year’s title starting at the Tao Tennis Center, where they served as hosts for regional tournament play on May 2 and 3. Wash. U. easily dispatched Grinnell College and No. 16 DePauw University 5-1 and 6-0 to advance to the final eight in Maine.

Against Grinnell, Cutler and Hoeland held on to win first doubles 8-6 win while Stein and Woods rolled 8-4 at third doubles. Sophomore Danny Levy, Woods and Stein clinched the match with wins at third, fourth and sixth singles respectively.

In the regional final, the Red and Green improved to 2-0 against DePauw this season with a 6-0 thrashing of the Tigers. All three doubles teams recorded wins, followed by dominating wins at fourth, fifth and sixth singles by Woods, Hoeland and Stein to clinch the match.

Elite Eight play began in Lewiston at Bates College on May 13 with a 5-0 victory over No. 6 Gustavus Adolphus College. After sweeping doubles, Hoeland and Stein won at fifth and sixth singles 6-0, 7-5 and 6-0, 6-1 to clinch the match. Doubles play featured two close matches, with Cutler and Hoeland defeating the fourth ranked doubles team of Andy Bryan and Charlie Paukert 8-5 while Watts and Choradia defeated the 14th ranked team of Mike Burdakin and John Kauss 8-6. The matchup between Watts and Bryan, the top ranked singles players in Division III went unfinished, but Bryan won the first set 7-5.

Wash. U. then improved to 2-0 against second ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with a 5-1 win in the national semifinal; both wins came at neutral sites. A sweep of doubles and wins by Hoeland and Stein clinched the match while Levy dropped the only match 5-7, 3-6.

Students, Faculty quietly protest Schlafly at Commencement

Monday, May 5th, 2008 | Perry Stein and Ann Johnson

Standing firm in its decision to award conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate, the Commencement ceremony occurred yesterday in the midst of students and other University members silently protesting the University’s decision to award Schlafly with an honorary degree.

As Margaret Bush Wilson, a retired civil rights attorney, introduced Schlafly, hundreds of students and some faculty members turned their backs away from the stage. Participating students, parents, siblings and professors also wore white armbands to show their opposition. 10,000 white armbands and leaflets containing information about Schlafly’s views were made in anticipation of the protest.

Despite these obvious displays of objection, Associative Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of University Communications Steve Givens said that the protests did not detract from the main intent of the graduation ceremony.

“The students and faculty members involved in planning the protest communicated with the University administration prior to commencement about their plans during the commencement as well as requesting a place to handout their flyers and armbands,” Givens wrote in an e-mail to Student Life. “The University supported their right to do this. Their protest was strong and well organized, and yet it did not detract from the dignity of the commencement exercises.”

Although Chancellor Mark Wrighton sent out an e-mail to the University community prior to commencement which stated that the University does not endorse Schlafly’s controversial views but rather supports the contribution she has made to political discourse, Women and Gender Studies Professor Michael Murphy said that honorary degree still felt like an endorsement of Schlafly’s views.

“The protest is not an effort to censor Phyllis Schlafly,” Murphy said. “She has spoken on our campus before, and she has rights as an alumnus of Washington University. We have a problem because the degree sounds like an endorsement, or an honoring of the way she works. She engages in slander, calumny, and sometimes outright lies. She is a bad example for our students, and they’re holding her up as a role model.”

During the presentation of Schlafly’s degree Wilson also emphasized the importance of diverse opinions and said that the degree was meant to honor the magnitude of influence that Schlafly has had, and not to honor her views.

However, protester Ernest Gonzales, a graduate student from the School of Social Work, said that there is a clear distinction between free speech and honoring someone.

“No one is against her right to speak. It’s apples and oranges when it comes to having the right to speak and being honored,” Gonzales said.

According to yesterday’s Post Dispatch article, Schlafly felt her detractors were immature and did not respect the role of the housewife. She said however, that she was still touched by the University’s decision to honor her.

“I’m not sure they’re mature enough to graduate,” Schlafly was quoted as saying in the article.

In light of the controversy surrounding the University’s decision to award Schlafly, many questions have surfaced regarding the University’s process in deciding who to award honorary degrees to.

In his e-mail, Wrighton said that the traditional process of determining candidates for honorary degrees was followed with Schlafly. A community member nominated Schlafly for the honor and the nomination was reviewed by the University’s Honorary Degree Committee.

“The Committee included faculty, students, trustees and administrators. After two meetings, Mrs. Schlafly and other nominees were recommended unanimously for consideration at the full Board meeting. The full Board voted to award the honorary degree at the May 2007 meeting,” Wrighton wrote in the e-mail.

Many people have expressed concern over this process and think that the University needs to make changes to the procedure.

“I would like to see more conversation with decisions, and more transparency in the process. This decision reflects on Wash U nationally,” Erin McGlothlin, a professor in the German department who was involved with the protest, said.

Givens said that while no concrete changes have been made yet, the University will reevaluate the process for awarding honorary degrees.

“Given the short time that has passed, there are no specific plans yet, of course, but Chancellor Wrighton mentioned in the [e-mail] that, he has made a commitment that the University will review the process for awarding honorary degrees and will propose appropriate changes,” Givens said.

Ultimately, faculty and students stressed that the focus of commencement should always be on the graduates. Graduating senior Sari Abraham said that the controversy surrounding Schlafly detracted from the ceremonies.

“This is not how we want to remember Commencement,” said Sari Abraham. “The most offensive thing is bringing in someone so controversial that Commencement becomes about her,” Abraham said.

Phi Delt helps organize 5K run to fight ALS

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 | Ben Sales

Phi Delta Theta has partnered with Extra Hands for ALS to sponsor “Run For Your Life,” a 5 kilometer race to benefit the fight against ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The race is an annual event started in 2003 and organized yearly by Jack Orchard, who also founded Extra Hands for ALS, a St. Louis-based organization that sends high-school and college students to volunteer at the homes of those with ALS. Orchard also suffers from the disease, which paralyzed most of his body.

This is the second year in which Phi Delt will run the event. Ian English, one of the coordinators of the race for the fraternity, said that Phi Delt hopes to attract more students by creating a fun and lively atmosphere around the running.

“We wanted to market to more students and get the campus involved,” English, a senior, said. “It’s going to be more like a party, with music and food.”

In addition to the student population, English hopes to attract local residents to the race in order to raise more money for the cause and forge a greater connection between students and St. Louis.

“With the event closer to school we’ve seen a lot bigger turnout so far,” he said. “Sponsors were a lot more excited about cont to an event where the whole city will be involved. It’s a great opportunity for students to learn about the city.”

The event provides another way to stand out beyond the physical competition, as participants are encouraged to run in costume. The inspiration for this, according to Orchard, comes from the annual Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco, where many runner dress up before setting out.

“I was looking for a way to produce a unique event that would appeal to our base of student volunteers,” Orchard wrote in an email. “After all, who gets excited by yet another walk/run? Without a twist it’s just not compelling.”

While his race may be based off of others, the goal of Orchard’s organization differs from that of most other foundations that raise money to fight the disease. Instead of funding research, the goal of Extra Hands is to provide everyday help to those paralyzed by ALS.

“Through my own experience becoming paralyzed by the disease I understood how ALS could place enormous pressure on family caregivers,” Orchard wrote. “Although I was committed to funding research, as I still am, I realized that my contributions to the fight against the disease could be much broader and more tangible if I could improve the daily lives of people living with ALS today.”

Orchard added that the volunteer experience is as much of an assistance to volunteers as it is to those being helped.

“We have realized that Extra Hands can fulfill its mission more effectively by engaging ALS families as teachers rather than as victims,” he wrote. “One of the many terrible things about ALS is that it strips away a person’s sense of independence, self-worth, dignity, and ego strength. By approaching patients as teachers of the students who visit them each week, we can restore some measure of their mental well-being.”

In that vein, several Phi Delt brothers have volunteered at Orchard’s home, and plan to visit others in the future. English says that working with Orchard has been an eye-opening experience.

“It’s been really cool working for him,” English said. “He still has a sense of humor, his mind’s still the same, he’s a funny guy. It’s been great spending time with him.”

Phi Delt chapters across the country help fight ALS in different ways. Orchard said that the Washington University chapter’s organizing the race speaks to several goals of Extra Hands.

“It’s an important collaboration on several levels,” he wrote. “First, given my commitment to youth leadership I thought it was important to have students run the whole event. Second, given Wash. U.’s stature in the neurosciences in particular, and in medicine in general, I felt that it was critical to establish as deep a collaboration as possible.”

But though the race is expected to raise approximately $25,000 this year, Orchard-who has written a book about his personal experience entitled “Extra Hands, Grasping for a Meaningful Life”-believes that he has much more work to do.

“Most people over the age of 30 know someone who has or had the disease and yet they usually can’t tell you what ALS stands for,” he wrote. “I’d love to see Phi Delt chapters in each city competing with each other to stage the best and most profitable Run For Your Life.”

The race will take place on Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. in Tower Grove Park and is sponsored by the University’s School of Medicine, Anheuser-Busch and several other local businesses and organizations. More information can be found at

Chinese pride should not be founded on oppression

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 | Min Seong Kim

The dreaded Olympic Torch passed through South Korea yesterday. Considering the number of Chinese and Tibetans living in Korea, some kind of an eventful occurrence was to be expected. Both parties were granted permission from the authority to peacefully congregate.

In Korea, being the democratic and open society it has become in the last twenty years or so, there was no rationale for stopping the ethnic Chinese and Chinese students from celebrating the Torch’s passage and expressing the Chinese national pride; similarly, there was no rationale for stopping the few Tibetans from peacefully protesting against what they perceive to be an oppressive rule that is taking place in their homeland. Things deplorably spiraled out of control. The massive Chinese congregation threw monkey-wrenches at the Tibetan congregation, surrounded a 1-man picketer (the placard read: “Improve Human Rights”) and threatened him.

Let us step aside from the politics, for the issue here is not the politics itself. Rather, it is the appalling reality that violence has been exerted by the masses on the minority in what was meant to be two peaceful congregations in a country that respects the right of congregation and freedom of expression.

The Chinese congregation chanted “Pride of China” that “China is powerful” and that “China is great.” Yet, is it the case that this “greatness” and “power” of China come from the nobleness and rational intellect of its constituent people, or simply from the sheer size of its constitution? From what I have seen, the primary source of China’s greatness and power is its massive size, unfortunately so. If this wrench-throwing violence is what the Tibetans are subjected to by the Chinese outside China, then I can only imagine how they might be treated within China.

Let me move on to the question of Tibet, which has sparked these protests in the first place. My first rational response to the question of Tibet’s independence was that it is a clash between the two political concepts that have come to the fore since the early 20th century: national sovereignty and self-determination. The issue of Tibet is a domestic issue that the PRC government has control over, just as the issue of Chechnya is a domestic issue for Russia. Yet, it is also clear that the people of Tibet have the right to self-determination. And if seeking independence from China is their self-determined end, then they have every right to pursue this end. I cannot decide, at this point, which end should trump.

After hearing of the rather violent reaction of the Chinese and the PRC government against pro-Tibet movements, I was struck by another question. Why would China, a country that has protested for the last hundred years against Western imperialism, impose itself as an imperialist power on Tibet? Does the impeccable motto “for the good of the nation” blind the people of China to the very fact that they are themselves turning into imperialists, the same kind of beings that oppressed, tortured, and destroyed their forefathers?

This worry grew deeper when I saw a YouTube video that tried to justify China’s rule over Tibet. The arguments presented in the video deviated little from the arguments provided by the Western imperialist powers in the 18th century attempting to rationalize imperialism and colonialism. Realizing that the PRC’s policy on Tibet is reminiscent of the imperialist policies that the Chinese openly abhor, I have come to the conclusion that the Chinese attitude on the question of Tibet is a kind of self-contradiction, an inconsistency in thought and action, an unjust partiality-regardless of the politics that is involved, these are first and foremost moral culpabilities.

It is a moral imperative that the voices of the minority are kept alive. When it comes to China, I find it hard to say that the ethnic minorities of China are really a part of what is referred by the term “Chinese.” For I find that the “Pride of China” lives only in the hearts of a particular portion-albeit a very large portion-of the people is officially designated as “Chinese”. The concept of Chinese patriotism, Sinocentrism, and ethnocentrism that binds China and Chinese together excludes these minority groups.

No, the minorities are included in these concepts, but only as the foundation upon which the greatness of the “real” Chinese is founded. This vertical conception of China’s ethnic hierarchy that permeates the Chinese self-conception presumes subjugation of certain groups of people. This is oppression. It is the most vicious of all oppressions. It is oppression where the oppressor is oblivious of its being the oppressor.

In conclusion, I would like to say one thing, to anyone who sees oneself as a part of China. I sincerely hope that China’s “greatness” be manifested not only in dazzling numbers and material grandeur of its beautifully built edifices, but in intellect, nobility, rationality and constructive self-criticism. China has been, in the ancient times, a center of intellectual and political advancement. Why not exemplify its greatness once again in an exceptional and noble way, by voluntarily subjecting itself to a collective self-reassessment and promising to move toward a constructive and peaceful future? This would be a better route to greatness than distorted patriotism and heightened nationalism that are founded on a conception of Chineseness that is outdated and dangerous.

Clearly, true patriotism is not a blind love toward one’s nation. Integral to a person’s patriotism is the courage to be the whistle-blower, to criticize the state’s faults and to redress its mistakes and put a check on the madness stirred by inauthentic patriotism, nationalism, and ethnocentrism-and when these are done with love and respect for one’s nation, it is only then he deserves to be called a “patriot” in its truest and sincerest sense.

Min is a junior in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].