Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » SMU COMMENT
  • SMU COMMENT

    Filed at 4:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Sofia Bitela (a lovely, Italian-sounding name, that), an SMU student, commented upon the bakesale. I thought it deserved a little pub. I don’t agree with much that she wrote but I’ll play nice.

    Actually, upon re-reading it, I’m not going to play nice at all.

    Dear Ross,

    You asked a good question. Daryl’s right; since SMU is a private university, it does not fall under state legislation banning the specific use of race in admissions decisions. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding, or more likely, unwillingness to understand about what happened. I personally know Matt Houston; we’re in the jazz orchestra together. The Young Conservatives of Texas set up a bake sale protesting affirmative action without alerting administrators to the true intention of the bake sale. Any event held on campus grounds must have paperwork filed through the appropriate offices and have prior approval. I did not appreciate the message they were sending out; whether intentionally or not, the bake sale presented a message in which minorities were considered of less value than whites. If they’re so sincere about “debating” the virtues and vices of affirmative action, they could have attended the open forum on October 8th. During the forum, both sides will be allowed to air and defend their views. No one is declared right or wrong; it provides the opportunity to engage in a healthy exhange of ideas. Holding a bake sale in which it takes four blacks or two Hispanics to equal the value of a white applicant is not the best way to get the message across to others. The bake sale was shut down because it violated SMU’ Student Code of Conduct, which specifically states, “All members of the University community are protected from harassment, including, but not limited to, members according to their race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religion. Any words or acts deliberately designed to disregard the safe or rights of another and which intimidate, degrade, demean, threaten, haze, or otherwise interfere with another person’s rightful action will not be tolerated on the basis of the standards of the SMU community.” Before anyone goes around crying about First Amendment violations, the statement that directly precedes it states that SMU ” will maintain the University as a forum for the free expression of ideas under the laws of the state and nation.” Setting up a protest which presents minorities as having less value than white applicants, whether intentionally or not, violated SMU’s Harassment Policy. As for affirmative action at SMU, I do not know SMU’s specific policies regarding race in admissions, but I do know that for every three images of the Aryan dream, SMU tries to bring one person of an ethinically diverse background. As of right now, the racial demographics are approximately 75% white and 25% minority, including all blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, international students, amd whoever else may fit in according to SMU’s guidelines. As for affirmative action itself, it can take many forms. It is not limited just to race or gender. Religious status is taken into account, as well as home environment (i.e. urban or rural). In fact, the University of Michigan, the defendant in the highly publicized affirmative action case, gave twenty extra points to individuals who came from a rural environment. Athletes were given about twenty or thirty points extra (don’t quite remember). Just about anything that sets you apart from another person gets factored into a college’s admission decision. If you want to cry about the unfairness of affirmative action, cry out against all of it. Complain about how those country people are taking up spaces that should go to city slickers. Bitch about how giving athletes extra points hurts those who are not athletically inclined, for whatever reason. I will not say affirmative action is perfect. I think it has serious flaws that should be addressed. However, I would rather have a world with affirmative action than without it. People who completely oppose affirmative action forget the former admissions policies, in which wealthy white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males were heavily favored since they had the greatest access, financially and otherwise, to academic and social opportunities and resources. Ross, I agree with you. I, too, am confused about why white students who obviously have been accepted to and are currently attending SMU would be upset about affirmative action. Affirmative action isn’t even about “filling quotas” or “taking another qualified applicant’s spot”, a pervading viewpoint that oftens results in the devaluation of a minority student’s presence, which goes to show that even with a program like affirmative action, racial minorities in particular have to work harder to prove themselves. What it’s really about is, when all things are considered equal in terms of high school transcripts and academic and extracurricular achievements, which applicant can help bring a different viewpoint to the campus and provide other students the opportunity to meet someone outside of their social bubble. Whether it’s the Hispanic kid, or the Jewish kid, or the kid from the town with a population of only a thousand people, or the star athlete, each one has a unique perspective on life; accepting different perspectives is essential to success both in school and in the workforce. Bringing in another Barbie doll or Ken from Millions of Dollars City, USA, won’t exactly help provide the diverse atmosphere students will encounter in the real world. I hope I helped shed some light on why the bake sale was shut down and the affirmative action issue altogether. Skip Olivia, what does the “death penalty” have to do with any of this? Feel free to email me at sbitela@mail.smu.edu.

    I think Miss Bitela completely misses the point of the protest. These anti-AA bakesales do not demean minorities; AA does. The different prices echo the different admissions criteria that are applied based not the content of one’s accomplishments, but on the color of one’s skin.

    And, sorry, a bakesale demonstrating the fallacy of AA does not violate SMU’s harassment policy. If anyone violated this policy, it is the minority students who shut it down. Remember, the administration used “safety” as the excuse. Who was being threatened, eh?

    I love the Aryan comment- being anti-AA is pro-Nazi? That’s rich and a clear demonstration of Godwin’s law. Are these the kind of debating skills they teach at SMU? That October 8th meeting ought to be quite interesting, then.

    Here are the actual points awarded under the unconstitutional UM AA program:

    Geography
    10 points – Michigan resident
    6 points – Underrepresented Michigan county
    2 points – Underrepresented state

    Alumni
    4 points – “Legacy” (parents, step-parents)
    1 point – Other (grandparents, siblings, spouses)

    Essay
    1 point – Outstanding essay (since 1999, 3 points)

    Personal achievement [i.e., sports, non-scholarship]
    1 point – State
    3 points – Regional
    5 points – National

    Leadership and service
    1 point – State
    3 points – Regional
    5 points – National

    Miscellaneous
    20 points – Socio-economic disadvantage
    20 points – Underrepresented racial-ethnic minority identification or education
    5 points – Men in nursing
    20 points – Scholarship athlete
    20 points – Provost’s discretion

    Miss Bitela is incorrect about city/rural and religion playing a role. It was all about race. It’s always been about race. And white guilt. AA doesn’t work. Or, at least, it doesn’t accomplish its stated goal- to level the playing field. It does divide the races and exacerbates the very problem it set out to solve.

    It’s late, er, very early. I’m done. Feel free to pick apart my or Miss Bitela’s arguments in the “Comments” below.

    5 Responses to “SMU COMMENT”


    Comment by
    tke
    September 30th, 2003
    at 11:22 am

    Why is the BLACK & WHITE cookie from Seinfeld dancing in my thoughts now…..

    To me her rantings just show how much certain cultures are now conditioned to be offended easily & cry about how they are wronged… WAY TO GO “Devisity Training” (see a past post for new spelling explanation)

    Minorities are being less valued????? No that would be if they refused to sell minorities cookies at all as if they have no right to the pleasure of a cookie.

    In this bake sale it is the white student that can only buy 1 cookie for his dollar that is at a disavantage not the minority who can buy 2 or more cookies for their dollar.

    I’ll only comment breifly on if the white student or his family had to earn that $ or was it given to him by the government. If it was earned though the white family had to earn $1.35 to have one $ left after taxes to pay for a cookie.

    Being the Mom of a college student I know that white & minority students are equally hungry. Thus being the point.

    And I’m equally concerned now that in this new century more & more people at college campuses are shutting down speech & actions that disgree w/ their own personal beliefs & values..

    In the 60’s the far left had their views about all kinds of things boldly said at rallies all over campus & yes there was violence at times..but they were allowed to proceed & at the time they weren’t holding mainstream views.

    But now a peaceful bake sale being shut down because it carried a message from the right…

    Oh & Sofia, Oct 8th isn’t here yet…. They may still show up at the forum & I hope they do. I’ll bet you a $ that for every one word they get to say you’ll have 2 or more words in the audience to drown them out….

    because I also now see a trend to if you don’t like the message shout it down so noone else can hear it either..

    The biggest thing holding minorities back right now is that chip on their shoulder that seems to ever growing.
    I’m concerned that that large chip will continue to weigh down & slow down progress & obscure the vision of those that have been given a chance to really move ahead in life & can’t cause they won’t let go of the past…

    Honey it’s your choice to put down that chip & free yourself.

    You may think that someone else put it there & maybe they did but you are choosing to keep it on.

    What’s that saying “You can’t be made to feel inferior without your own consent…..”

    It’s ok to be angry… Anger is power & energy to change things you don’t like & move ahead if you focus it in positive ways.

    Anger just churning w/ no place to go is what breeds hate & violence.

    Get up & change the world for the better. Yep things aren’t fair in life so Prove everybody wrong by your own personal success.

    another motto: “Living well is the best revenge”
    Nothing will ever spite your enemies in life more than your own personal honestly earned success & integrity.

    Trust me on that one. We all have our crosses to carry. The question is what are you going to do about yours????? be an example of courage & dignity or just whine about how hard you have it..


    Comment by
    Liz
    September 30th, 2003
    at 3:29 pm

    It’s an oversimplification to say that because SMU is a private school, certain state or federal laws don’t apply. SMU accepts federal money (and possibly state money). SMU, like most research universities, is probably a federal contractor. These ties obligate SMU to follow a whole bunch of laws that regular old “private” institutions do not have to follow.

    And why don’t people use paragraphs anymore? Basic rules of written communication apply whether one is using email or writing a formal letter.

    Sorry, I wasn’t homeschooled, and yet I still managed to eek out a Ph.D. However, my sister is homeschooling her 4 kids. My parents think she’s crazy. I think she’s amazing. Her job is much harder than mine.


    Comment by
    Bill
    October 1st, 2003
    at 12:23 pm

    Guilt Hell! I’m proud to be a WASP …


    Comment by
    Steve
    October 1st, 2003
    at 5:07 pm

    I wish I was trying to get into college again. As a heterosexual, white, Catholic male from the south in a 21+ year marraige, I should be entitled to about 1000 points on an AA scale!


    Comment by
    Jack
    October 2nd, 2003
    at 12:31 pm

    Why the complaint from one who could buy a $1.00 cookie for twenty-five cents? He/she should have bought all he/she could afford and resold them to unsuspecting others (those who didn’t know the real prices) at $0.75 each, gaining a neat profit.

    A more serious comment(question):

    Will the decision in Grutter cause a festering boil in the American psyche as has Roe v. Wade?