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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 13, 1997)
In the zone
Students need place
to speak freely
For weeks now, students, staff and even
we have been complaining about the amount
of “fun” people have taken from defacing
our campus. But now, things have gotten out
It went from toilet paper, to hate speech
to paint, and there are no signs of things get
ting any better. The vandals are here, and
until action is taken - far beyond declara
tions and press statements - things aren’t
going to get better.
And it’s all vandalism. Chalking. Toilet
papering. Now painting. No matter how you
package it, it’s still ugly.
And whoever decided that chalk was not
good enough to mark on things, but paint
was - that was cheap. In just a short time,
you defaced the alumni association, com
mitted a federal crime by defacing a mail
box, and you made an already bad situation
You should be proud of yourself. Really.
Call your mom. Tell her all about it.
But, grudgingly, we admit that the side
walk chalk - a child’s toy in collegiate hands
that washes off as easily as it scratches on -
is a form of expression.
Thanks to the First Amendment, a state
institution such as ours has no right to tell
you what to say. But, thanks to the Supreme
Court, it can tell you where and when you
can say it. Time and place restrictions are
And it’s about time the university did
some of that.
I Before the days of Nebraska Union con
place,;w2ere*liidf^^ preachers could
But with heavy construction, the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s free
speech place is gone, and with it has come
what seems to be chaos.
Student groups used to be able to ask the
Nebraska Union if they could chalk the
plaza, and it was no problem. Union staff
washed it away as soon as the event they
were chalking about was over.
But now the chalkers and painters have
declared open season on our campus.
; It’s time we got our free speech place back.
A place needs to be designated, a clear
and simple process of obtaining permission
to chalk needs to be established, and punish
ments for those who color outside the lines
needs to be made quite clear.
Why not make the nice, long, high-traffic
strip of sidewalk that runs from the union to
Andrews Hall the new free speech place?
Student groups could get their permits and
chalk the daylights out of it. Everyone - yes,
everyone, regardless of content - could get
his or her message out there.
Sorority sneaks, gay and lesbian events,
speakers, Homecoming, the campus chapter
of the KKK - everyone could chalk until
their fingers went numb.
And the rest of the campus could be spared.
The university needs to step into the void
and give us our free speech place back.
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1997 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will,
not be published. Those who submit
tetters must identify themselves by name,
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affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
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One of the chronic problems with
liberalism is its tendency to overdo,
and therefore ironically undermine,
the means employed to achieve its
ends. In art, we call this the “dialecti
cal conversion,” which means push
ing a tendency to its extreme - even
tually resulting in its opposite effect.
Nowhere better can this be seen but
here on campus, scrawled all over the
sidewalks - aphorisms, written with
good intentions, desperately falling
prey to the “dialectical conversion.”
“Queers are here!” “Queers are
Everywhere!” The problem here is
not with the struggle for equality, the
liberalist’s end, but again, the means.
The necessity of awareness, in this
case, is in itself retrogressive. What
does telling everyone that I prefer
men, sexually, to women, or that my
sister prefers women to men, do?
Gay-bashing is reactionary. It is a
response by people who believe that
“queers” are like locusts, a sign of
the apocalypse! They are here! They
are everywhere! And we know that
these people are irrational, and so we
Is it not, then, important to ques
tion whether letting irrational people
know who you prefer sexually is only
fodder, or an impetus, for discrimi
nation, dangerous or violent behav
ior? This does not mean that homo
sexuals should stay in the closet. Yet
the inability to reconcile sexual pref
erence is due to the dichotomy
between “gay” and “straight” sus
tained and perpetuated by gay
activists who claim discrimination.
Forceful, cynical or hostile
activism, like (that of the) night
chalkers on UNL campus, is not pro
ductive. In fact, it is such “activism”
that creates further hostility and divi
sion, and forces Christian activists,
Mothers Against Anything Remotely
Decadent, or Not entirely Earthy
activists, Nebraska Hicks for Hicks
Equality, or UNL League for a Better
Understanding of Our Hickness
activists, “SAQ” or Sportsters
Against Queers activists to come out
of their closets; and, on some odd
sort of religiously justified grounds,
kick the crap out of homosexuals.
The willingness to stay in the
closet about your sexuality is not a
denial of who you are, but contrarily
a silent recognition, if not affirma
tion, that you are comfortable
enough with who you are that you do
not require public validation.
Someone wrote on the sidewalk
just outside Andrews Hall
“Shakespeare was gay!” Putting the
unsubstantiated factual nature of the
comment aside, one could argue
hypothetically, that Shakespeare’s
reaction to that comment would have
been “If I am gay, it is none of your
damn business!’^Sometimes it is
silence that makes the wo/man.
If it’s so normal to be gay, why do
you have to come out? Why don’t we
have a National “I’m Heterosexual
and Damn Proud of It Day”?
I have absolutely no problems
with anyone who.chooses to be a
homosexual, lesbian or bisexual. But
my problem is this: I don’t heed to
know how OK it is to be gay. Great,
you ve maae your cnoice, but do you
have to announce it? I don’t care, and
I know tons of other students who
care more about whether or not they
should eat Ramen noodles or pot pies
than what someone else’s sexual
I don’t like walking to class and
seeing “Shakespeare was Gay,” and
“I’m Bob and I love Tom, and that’s
OK, ‘cause it’s OK to be gay.” All
this writing is worthless. I think it
gives our school a bad image. All this
was just an incentive to have homo
phobes write words of their own
(which welill should have known
was coming). Not only does this
make news, but it makes gays and
lesbians look like these poor people
who have done nothing to deserve
this hideous treatment and we should
all bear tears of pity for this poor,
prejudiced part of our society.
Why don’t we concentrate on the
news that actually makes a difference
to the world, and our student lives.
Let’s focus on technology, world eco
nomic affairs and world politics, not
on how great it is to be gay.
Chad De Moss
to educate all
For the last year and a half,
I’ve been talking with the uni
versity community about the
need for increased respect and
appreciation of the differences
we find in a diverse learning
environment. But earlier this
week, we experienced yet
another disruption of the civili- “
ty one should expect from such
Hateful messages such as
those chalked on our sidewalks
a few days ago are extremely
harmful, whether they are
aimed at a group with a certain
sexual orientation, a group
with a certain ethnicity or a
group whose politics are in the
minority. These messages are
antithetical to an atmosphere of
learning and create a climate of
fear and hostility. They will not
be tolerated at the University of
We must work harder to
educate every individual about
the need to respect one another.
I believe we are going m the
right direction, but I challenge
every member of our commu
nity to redouble his or her
efforts. Take some time to con
sider the Student Code of
Ethics that was approved unan
imously by ASUN last March.
In part, it says “I will be
respectful toward all others,
their thoughts and aspirations,
and will look upon them with
equality and fairness.”
I am extremely proud of our
students for sending this strong
message, and Lam equally
proud of ASUN’s actions last
week in unanimously con
demning this most recent
example of intolerance. I urge
the entire campus community
to follow the lead of these stu
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