A word from the Senate
I'd like to take a moment to talk about what happened at the Student Senate last Tuesday. The article printed yesterday ("Monument controversy grows," Feb. 16) is a pretty good summary -- many people have expressed curiosity as to why specific senators voted the way they did. Again, it's important to note that an issue like this is really about the way people look at war and violence in general, and since those are deeply personal issues, I can't really speak for anyone. But generally, several themes emerged in Senate's debate on the 7th. People were concerned about whether the Senate was in a place where it could decide who among the several Medal of Honor recipients deserved to be memorialized. Also, some were concerned about how the legislation was worded to refer to many specific acts of violence and destruction, and whether that was appropriate for a Senate resolution. Some were worried simply about financial and logistical problems around installing a memorial that weren't addressed by the sponsor, and some were questioning the widely-held assumption that all warriors and acts of war are automatically worthy of memorialization. Also remember that 45 senators voted in favor of the legislation! These are only a few reasons for what was ultimately a personal choice for each and every senator.
This issue has become about much more than the actual vote we made -- this is now about what means to have a democratic dialogue. Our society is built on the idea that people who disagree, even to the core of their moral beings, should be able to come together, find common ground and do the work people need them to do. Senators have been receiving hundreds of extremely disparaging and dehumanizing e-mails and telephone calls just because they said what they believed. As a campus that values the ideal of democracy, we should be outraged that people who weren't even at the meeting are using this opportunity to take shots at the dignity of free-speaking people. To disagree with others is welcome and necessary -- but to do it by attacking their humanity goes against every American ideal.
Let me personally vouch that on Feb. 7 the Senate engaged in a very respectful, very human debate about a timeless issue. Everyone left Senate with their dignities intact. I hope that everyone now involved in this discussion can work to restore mutual dignity on both sides. The UW community should be proud of the senators who represent them -- they amaze me every week with their respectful demeanor and thoughtful discussion. They are an example to the members of American society who have not shown them the same human regard.
-- Alex Kim
ASUW Senate Chair
Don't forget Pappy
Last week the Student Senate failed the entire University of Washington community by voting down a resolution to honor Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, a UW graduate and Medal of Honor recipient, with a campus memorial. It was nothing short of outrageous.
Even more outrageous, however, was the reasoning that some senators offered to reject the memorial. One argued that Col. Boyington "is not the type of person we should be honoring" while another contended that "we don't need to honor any more rich, white males." After coming under scrutiny, the senators who I quoted in my weekly e-mail now claim the comments were taken out of context. The minutes of the meeting prove otherwise.
Amidst all the hoopla surrounding this story, let's not forget Col. Boyington and what he did in defense of our country. Let's not forget that our peers are fighting right now in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the debate that we're having. Let's not forget all those who serve and have served our country. Let's recognize them.
I urge the Student Senate and the ASUW to reverse course and give this great man the respect and honor he deserves.
-- Brent Ludeman
President, UW College Republicans
Recognize your debt
What a shame that your school decided not to honor Medal of Honor winner Greg Boyington! Here's a man who fought so you and I could live in a free society. I wonder if you ever consider what America would look like if there were not men and women such as Colonel Boyington willing to defend it from those who hate it? If we would have lost WWII, would your school even exist? Probably not, because once the Germans or Japanese would have taken over, they probably would have shut down all schools along with the government, hospitals and businesses. Hopefully, someday, your school will truly be open to diversity and honor this man and others like him!
-- CPT (P) Tim J. Gawry
U.S. Army, USMC
I was deeply dismayed about UW's decision not to honor one of its most famous alumni, Marine Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington with a monument to the man and his legendary service to our nation.
After reading Col. Boyington's book about his service in WWII, as well as the TV series about his personal saga, I and likely many others were inspired to join the Marines Corps.
I point out that Col. Boyington was awarded the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for heroism. Out of the millions of veterans who have served our country as of this writing, only 3,640 have received this highest of honors.
Why wouldn't the UW want to commemorate Col. Boyington's service to our country? Why wouldn't the UW want to commemorate one of its most famous alumni? Why wouldn't the UW do the right thing by offering proper tribute to a man who repeatedly endangered his own life in service to the United States of America? I find the UW's actions untenable, and its apparent attitude toward honored veterans to be morally unconscionable. Until this changes, I would never send any child of mine to the UW.
I remind the UW that because of the sacrifices of veterans such as Col. Boyington, that it owes a profound debt to all who serve and defend this country. The UW needs to be reminded that the very buildings on its campus stand safe because of America's armed services, period, end of story.
-- Dr. Andrew S. Berry
Marine Corps League
Department of Missouri
Changing face of UW?
I was saddened to learn that the University of Washington's student governing council has voted down a proposed memorial for one of its more famous alumni, Colonel Gregory Boyington. As you may well know, Col. Boyington served in the United States Marine Corps honorably, after being a distinguished wrestler at the UW. During his time in the Marines, he was often decorated for heroism, including the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. Col. Boyington led one of the most successful squadrons in all of World War II. He was shot down and survived more than 20 months in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. He bravely faced the enemy of our country and fought to defend his country and his way of life. It is rather confusing as to why the University he attended would not approve of a tribute to such a man.
To better understand the current culture at the UW, I took the opportunity to visit your Web site. It quickly became apparent that strong male role models are no longer desirable at your institution when the featured person at the Graduate Diversity Fellows Dinner is none other than Gloria Steinem. She has advocated the dismantling of the core family unit for about 30 years now and finds strong males to be reprehensible. To quote Ms. Steinem, "What has the women's movement learned from Geraldine Ferraro's candidacy for vice president? Never get married." This attitude is more desirable at the UW than patriotism and defending your country?
It is no wonder that the council voted down a memorial for Col. Boyington. As long as these attitudes persist at your University, I will make sure that neither of my children attend the UW.
-- Brent Talbot
As the United States leads the world in a war on terrorism, it is with deep regret we veterans hear of such narrow thinking and a complete and utter disregard for the principles that this great nation, and its educational institutions as well, were founded upon. Col. Boyington was not only a UW alumni, but a former POW and was awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for bravery and valor. It is hypocritical in my opinion, that your student council would not honor an American hero who also happens be a UW alumni, while exercising the very rights and privileges Col. Boyington spent a majority of his life defending.
It reflects poorly upon the UW, as well as the Pac-10 as a whole that this kind of rationale is prevalent in students (or just the council?).
-- Andy Schwake
US Marine Corps, 1981-1994
Extend due respect
I just learned of, and am sickened by, the student senate's decision to not honor WWII fighter pilot Gregory Boyington. I find it odd that a school that hasn't produced many alumni who have done great things would shun a war hero who risked his life to free the modern world. Because of what? We're against the war? Get over yourselves. Because he's white? Look around, there's a 90 percent white population out there right now, I have a feeling it was higher in Gregory's time. There were probably not a lot of minority students looking to travel to Seattle to get an education. Therefore there most likely weren't many potential alums of color who could accomplish greatness back then. You call yourselves liberals yet you are bias because of someone's color (or lack thereof). The man won the Medal of Honor. Our country found it fit to give him our highest honor that it could. The least you could do is show the same respect.
-- Shane Savery
Where's the budget?
Although I was very pleased with The Daily's coverage of the huge cuts in the federal student loan program and Dick Cheney's marksmanship, I was disappointed with the lack of coverage of the President's new budget. As tax time approaches, I would expect students to be interested in how their hard earned cash is spent by the folks in charge. I know I was disappointed to see how much more money the Pentagon was allocated. Also, this is a great time for activism. As Congress still needs to approve the budget, there is still much time left to write letters on important issues and persuade congress to take important actions. I hope to see future reporting that disseminates information and encourages involvement in our political system.
-- Scott Johnson
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