Letters to the Editor: Limits of Diversity?
The Elon community responds to "Limits of Diversity." If you have an opinion or comment on one of The Pendulum's articles please write a letter to the editor. All letters must be signed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
November 10, 2011
Ms. Ferguson wants ResLife to explain to her why they didn't want to feature her racy posters on a tour. My response is this: are you kidding me? You have one poster where there are two topless girls, and another poster with young women in bed only in their underwear. It's all well and good to have these posters in your room, but why would you think that these posters would be appropriate for a faculty and staff tour of Colonnades, especially since you are an RA? I know I can't speak for everybody, but I think there are a significant amount of people who would not want to see posters like these on a tour of the room of a guy or a girl, regardless of sexual preference.
The reason ResLife was having tours was to show off how nice the rooms are, and those posters undoubtedly would have distracted from that. I would hope the same situation would not occur if the posters were of a gay couple holding hands or even kissing while upright and fully clothed, but of course, I can't say for sure. What I can say is that it is not at all unreasonable for ResLife to ask her to take her posters down if she wants to feature it on a tour. There is always the option to say, "You know what? I would like to keep these posters on my wall. If that means you aren't going to show people my room, then so be it." Am I really to believe that the only reason this happened is because Ms. Ferguson is bisexual? I think not. If it were a straight guy who had photos from Playboy or the like on his wall, I feel fairly confident that ResLife would also have a problem with featuring such a room as representative of the university. People seem to forget that this is a private institution that tends to be more conservative. It is not violating any First Amendment rights. Plus, there are so many other, much larger problems in the LGBTQIA community than this. The fact that the It Gets Better campaign exists speaks volumes about this point. The idea that Ms. Ferguson feels that ResLife should explain themselves or even apologize is ludicrous. This is political correctness at its worst, and I wish The Pendulum had not wasted space on it.
Samantha Siberini --------------------------------------------
I am deeply concerned the with which the residence hall situation was dealt with. I understand that the pictures could have been inappropriate for the walk through, however the story seems quite suspect because there was no requirement for the stolen street sign was not asked to be removed. What I find even more unsettling is the fact that RES life never provided the student with a proper explanation as to why the sign needed to be taken down. As students I feel that we need to reject the institutions that force us t conform to their standards, so that they can portray an image of Elon that follows the social norms instead of leading the causes in which the human spirit. Since my time at Elon, I have noticed that Elon will "make a push for diversity" when it is social acceptable, but Elon refuses to be a leader in issues that are not the social norm. Our duty as students as well as citizens is to challenge authority when they are in the wrong so that we can bring about a better society. If this incident is not brought to light, we would be doing ourselves a disservice. I will not stand for such restrictions on personal expression and I do not think we as a student body should either.
Thank you, Benjmin Poole --------------------------------------------
November 12, 2011
On behalf of the residence life staff, I would like to apologize for an error in judgment during an Oct. 25 open house at the Colonnades Residential Neighborhood. In preparing for a tour by the campus community, I and members of the residence life staff asked one of the student staff members to remove two posters from the wall in her room.
While the request was intended to prevent visitors to the room from feeling uncomfortable with the explicit photos and content of the posters, we did not fully consider her right of expression in her own room. This was a mistake and I am sorry that we put the student in the position of having to remove the posters.
I, and the residence life staff, stand committed to support, affirm and value diversity and its full expression. We will learn from this experience and make a renewed effort to foster an inclusive environment in our residential neighborhoods that recognizes the richness in individual identities of all people.
Elaine Turner Director of Residence Life Elon University
I see pictures similar to Ferguson's posters all over campus, and I think ResLife needs to be better prepared to show student rooms before tours. This whole problem could have been diverted if the ResLife staff had simply explained that explicit, gay or straight, posters are undesirable for a school tour. At the same time, I wish ResLife would put more effort into showing the true colors of Elon. Not some fantasy, perfect school that has no sex or alcohol. Elon is good at hiding whatever they want, kinda creepy eh? What really is Elon? I sure didn't know until I came here. I also understand that Elon wants to have a good first impression. It's hard to balance the truth with image.
According to a tweet from Madison Taylor, editor of the Times-News in Burlington, an Alamance County Commissioner left him "a long message detailing why he thinks
@elonpendulum and #elon are obsessed with sex" after last week's edition.
The Pendulum is in, what I believe to be, a unique position where its readers are equal parts college students and members of the community. It operates as the only Elon-focused newspaper in the area, and partly because of this The Pendulum conducts itself with the utmost professionalism. On the flipside, this stylistic preference means the writing is not as dynamic or daring as other papers, and the admirable task of reporting to a community just beyond Elon's brick paths means that the paper typically shies away from very controversial subjects, even if they are of the utmost interest (and importance) to the undergraduate population—like sex and sexuality.
Elon students aren't obsessed with sex anymore than any other 18 to 22 year olds. Pretending students aren't having sex is ridiculous. Not addressing the issues associated with sexuality—especially safety and orientation—is irresponsible.
The two stories that ran in last week's issue were not vulgar. They were professional and of the utmost importance. If The Pendulum did not cover the poster incident or bring to light the issues surrounding consent and drinking, this publication would not be doing its job.
Despite the discomfort community members may feel seeing sex on the front page, The Pendulum must disseminate vital information. Even if that information is about bumping uglies.