Unethical Quote Of The Month: Wheaton College

What prompted this anti-educational, anti-discourse “message to the Wheaton community”?

Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation gave a presentation entitled “Black Lives Matter In and Out of the Womb” at the evangelical Wheaton College (in Wheaton, Ill.) on November 14. He was the guest of the Wheaton College Republicans. Bomberger’s talk criticized  BLM leadership for announcing its solidarity with Planned Parenthood, the “leading killer of black lives.” Bomberger  is a biracial African American conceived in rape, adopted, and then raised in a mixed-race family. He responded  to the allegations in the letter by saying that Rowley, Waaler, and Shields had demonized him, and said he had been told that only Shields among the three signatories had attended his talk.

“I would think it would be against the college’s mission to intentionally mislead students,” Bomberger wrote in response to the student leaders’ backlash against him.

“I am a person of color, a clarifying fact which you conveniently left out of your letter of denouncement. I was primarily presenting a perspective of those who are never heard, always underrepresented, and are actually unsafe — the unborn,” he said.

“For anyone—student, faculty, or staff— to claim that they were ‘unheard’ or ‘underrepresented’ obviously didn’t stay for the 25 minutes of Q&A that followed or the additional 30 minutes that I stayed and responded to more thoughtful questions as well as some baseless (and even hostile) accusations,” Bomberger added. “For anyone to claim they felt ‘unsafe’ by anything that I said is unfortunate and simply hyperbole.”

“Are students at Wheaton taught to fear or taught to think?” the anti-abortion, pro-adoption activist asked.

It appears to be a good question. The three can send out whatever silly and lingually nonsensical message they want, but after watching the presentation, it’s hard to see how the crux of the complaint can be defended, or even understood, unless it is written in some kind of code. So what if the speech made people uncomfortable? Since when is feeling uncomfortable with positions one does not agree with or that do not comport with one’s assumptions and biases a bad thing, or justification for a complaint, especially on a college campus?

In the context of Bomberger’s speech, what does “unrepresented, unheard and unsafe” mean? It can’t mean that African-Americans were unrepresented, since the sole speaker was African-American. It can’t mean that dissenting voices weren’t heard, because there was an opportunity to respond to and question the speaker.

What definition that obviously has nothing to do with actual safety does “unsafe” carry in this kind of context? A speaker who is not threatening violence but is merely stating a moral, ethical or political position can’t possibly make a listener feel literally unsafe, unless something is wrong with the listener. Nobody is or should be “safe” from having their beliefs challenged in this country, and the whole point of attending college is to be challenged, as well as to be able to defend ones’ position using rhetoric, logic, and critical thought.

It’s disappointing that Bomberger, in his fiery response, says that he’s seeking legal action for “slander.” First of all, if anything the letter would be libel, but mainly “I’ll sue you!” is a tactic designed to chill speech and punish dissent. He’s better than that. The letter is close to res ipsa loquitur, as it is self-debunking by its whiny premise and equivocal wording. “Troubled’? What in the presentation was worthy of evoking such a reaction? What was the “offensive rhetoric”? (The presentation has no offensive rhetoric at all, just argumnents and points of view that apparently offend those intellectually or emotionally incapable of rebutting them. The letter isn’t a rebuttal. It’s an expression of anger that anyone would dare to challenge cant.

The topic of Bomberger’s presentation is irrelevant to the unethical nature of Wheaton’s response. That letter would be unethical in response to any civil presentation with a Q and A at the end on any topic.

Are students at Wheaton taught to think? Does Wheaton want them to think?

__________________

Sources: Life Site; PJ Media

 

20 Comments

Filed under Bioethics, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Family, Government & Politics, Race

20 responses to “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Wheaton College

  1. The Shadow

    A bit of inside baseball about higher ed – student government is usually not really representative of students as a whole. It usually consists of those students on the fringe or with an agenda or ax to grind. I suspect most students completely dismissed this message.
    One thing that is a bit troubleing is messages to the student body like this are usually moderated and approved by an employee of the school (although most likely something like “Student Life” that is tasked with catering to students).

    • Rich in CT

      I was going to post something roughly equivalent. I will note, however, the university apparently did sign on via Sammie Shields, the adviser/university Executive Vice President (EVP) of Community Diversity.

  2. Chris Marschner

    This is a clear example of ” if some is good, more is better” fallacy, or in economics terms the inability to assess when diminishing returns set in and eventually go negative. Inclusion is great if it builds knowledge but ultimately, total inclusion tends to faction formation and idea stagnation if the only premise for inclusion is to obtain political power through numbers. As the total number of groups represented grows, the resources to advance individual factions power wants diminish then decrease. Then infighting grows.

    The success of the United States was built on individual achievement but the nucleus that holds divergent interests from devolving into chaos is a common ideal of we are one people free of tyranny, and not subject to the tyranny of the many. Out of many, one.

    The college advisors have let these student leaders down if they did not counsel them that the extension of their reasoning would eventually lead not to greater inclusion but to ideological exclusion. It is painfully obvious that the SGA wants to exclude someone. You cannot promote inclusivity if it means to exclude those not like you. Being not like you is not genetically or ethnically based. Not like you really means differences in cultural values and experiences.

    The college does not bear total responsibility in this matter. Politicians, the media, and peer pressure enforce and reinforce compliance in the diversity movement.

    One example of media reinforcement is the “Erase the Hate” campaign in which recognizable celebrities stoke the fires of animus against the rising forces of hate in the U.S. They don’t specifically call out any particular group but the same celebrities are well known for very liberal perspectives. As a result, the message is interpreted as anyone critical of progressive causes is an instigator of hate. This is a dog whistle if there ever was one.

    These students should be asked if the truly believe in diversity and inclusion or do they just want to include all people of the same ideological constructs that they hold.

  3. As an alum, this is somewhat disappointing, however also knowing some recent grads, I would say that the college and its faculty are still in the business of getting the students to think, and to think critically in the best sense. That said, there have always been those who wish to not accept the challenge. I suppose this is just a current, PC example of the same tendency that’s always existed.

  4. Willem Reese

    “Since when is feeling uncomfortable with positions one does not agree with or that do not comport with one’s assumptions and biases a bad thing, or justification for a complaint, especially on a college campus?”

    OK, Jack, I’m pretty sure you’ve not been in a coma for the past 10 or 20 years, so……..?

  5. If you listen to the whole talk — I did, but I admit that I sort of scanned through it — you will realize that at around 1:20 he begins to criticize the BLM movement in more direct terms. Those terms are the typical ‘Conservative’ terms, and talking points, such as you might hear or read on Fox News and in other venues (and on this Blog I should add).

    His terms of critique have to do with pointing out that Blacks kill more Blacks than the police ever do; he also critiques the profanity and violence used in the movement and mentions the ‘Pigs in a blanket, fry them up like bacon’ slogans and Black-on-Black crime ‘which gets dismissed all the time’. He says that ‘the examples of police brutality pale in comparison to the levels of Black-on-Black violence’.

    He attempts to define a specific ‘Christ-centered’ resistance to racial and economic injustice in America and he says, in so many words, that BLM is out of harmony with his sense of such (proper) activism.

    I would suggest that it is here that he began to *disturb* some of his listeners. I doubt that their *discomfort* with him was about the portion of his talk dealing on abortion, and I’ll wager that it had to do with his more ‘conservative’ critical comments of BLM. He also quotes Frederich Douglas who said (I paraphrase from memory) that ‘some of the most pure examples of reasoned moral and ethical defense of the plight of the oppressed Blacks came from Whites’, and with this statement Bomberger tried to point out that the extremely polarizing views of BLM fail to take into consideration that it is whites that have often served in the cause of rectifying the injustices BLM advocates against.

    Still, all of this applies though I don’t think the letter of WC had to do with his stance against abortion per se:

    What definition that obviously has nothing to do with actual safety does “unsafe” carry in this kind of context? A speaker who is not threatening violence but is merely stating a moral, ethical or political position can’t possibly make a listener feel literally unsafe, unless something is wrong with the listener. Nobody is or should be “safe” from having their beliefs challenged in this country, and the whole point of attending college is to be challenged, as well as to be able to defend ones’ position using rhetoric, logic, and critical thought.

  6. Glenn Logan

    What definition that obviously has nothing to do with actual safety does “unsafe” carry in this kind of context? A speaker who is not threatening violence but is merely stating a moral, ethical or political position can’t possibly make a listener feel literally unsafe, unless something is wrong with the listener.

    I’ve often wondered this very thing.

    What kind of “unsafe” do they feel? Does this man’s words make them feel like they will be subjected to some kind of gang violence? Or perhaps, it makes them feel as if the school administration is thinking about locking them up in a gulag. I think somebody owes us all an explanation of how words at an educational discussion can make a rational person feel unsafe.

    I know by including the word “rational,” I may have defeated my own argument, but really, I’m just wondering what “unsafe” means in this context. Does it make these poor persons feel as if their myopic view of the world might be threatened if arguments offered by the speaker are allowed to impinge upon their consciousness?

    My supposition is that the word “unsafe” is used as a substitute for “uncomfortable,” because nobody really cares if you’re made uncomfortable. But everybody cares if you’re made “unsafe.” So my conclusion is that the word itself is to put a maudlin spin on a much more innocuous concept.

    How can the “education of whole persons” be conflict-free? Can someone explain this concept? Conflict, and resolution, are essential parts of the human condition. It is mandatory that you suffer conflict and learn to resolve it in life, and in the educational experience. But apparently, university student bodies are somehow trying to excise this fundamental concept from their reality.

    The real world is going to come as a rude shock, I tell you that.

    • What kind of “unsafe” do they feel? Does this man’s words make them feel like they will be subjected to some kind of gang violence? Or perhaps, it makes them feel as if the school administration is thinking about locking them up in a gulag. I think somebody owes us all an explanation of how words at an educational discussion can make a rational person feel unsafe.

      Perhaps an example is in order: By organizing the ‘Unite the Right Rally’, Jason Kessler invited (though not through a formal invitation) different groups with different interests to come to Charlottesville to voice their various opinions, but mainly around the troubling issue of removing the monuments. The groups who did choose to attend were Confederate identity groups of different sorts, Militia groups, the Oath Keepers, the 3 Percenters and perhaps one or two groups or people who admired Hitler and in any case carried a Nazi flag.

      Obviously, if such a group marched through your town, and especially perhaps if they marched at night carrying torches, you might feel *unsafe* in addition to feeling *uncomfortable*. Those who defend the Confederacy do so in terms that are inconsiderable and in unthinkable terms in our present. All of those Right-leaning groups, in one way or another, have ideological and social connections to groups whose existence is intolerable in the present. Consider David Duke or Louis Beam. Consider those who are White Identitarian Christian. All of them, I think without exception, have links to groups and to ideas that are represented as completely incorrect and intolerable.

      And you have to frame a question as to what could make people feel *unsafe*? It should be obvious that underneath even those groups now operating that are socially-condoned (BLM, the Antifa, some communists and some socialists) are people quite capable of engaging in militancy and also violence. The militant Left has the larger blemish on its record, doesn’t it? for liquidating opposition and all the other historical horrors one could name. It is simply obvious that the Right-leaning groups, too, are capable of violence and strong assertion. Therefor, at one level or another, at one point or another, there is always the threat of what you call ‘gang violence’. In Poland and in Hungary, now, the Right-factions are *claiming space* and this occurs, doesn’t it? through a violence-of-sorts if not in a more direct violence. Social will that becomes pointed is a type of violence. Even non-violent activism is, in its way, a focus of violence.

      I think somebody owes us all an explanation of how words at an educational discussion can make a rational person feel unsafe.

      Put in that pseudo-innocent sort of way it does not seem like a very good question. As if you really need an explanation! As if anyone does. You were always asked the *rhetorical* question: What would you have done to stop Hitler? Why did the people do nothing to ‘stop Hitler’? The only thing to be done would have been assassination, en masse, of Nazis and fascists. At one point or other, in complex and dangerous social situations, violence is always there. And the threat that the present might be (as they say) ‘hijacked’ by a powerful faction. Like the coup of October Revolution or Hitler’s Nazi machinations.

      How could you really ask this question when the events of Europe are going on? When strong national parties are gaining power and in some instances taking power? When a constructed ‘world order’ stands to be modified or disassembled? You are an American. Your own CIA intervened in Latin America — I would note Chile especially as a prime example — in dozens and dozens of different instances. And you need an *explanation* as to why such para-governmental and para-Constitutional choices were made?

      Amazing!

      • Glenn Logan

        Thank you for raising a strawman, then kicking it to pieces. It was entertaining, if not very enlightening.

        • It is not a strawman, it is the larger context of the issue. It is what the issue actually is. But can you, in a short paragraph, explain where the strawman is located? I promise not to argue back.

          • Glenn Logan

            Not at all. You’ve expanded the issue beyond it’s actual parameters into something it really isn’t. That’s the strawman. Your point isn’t unrelated, although its taken to an extreme level that renders it a part of a completely different argument.

            Hence, in the current context, it’s a strawman.

            • Well then, I agree to disagree with you. See my comment below. I am trying to get to the core of the issues. Expanding the conversation is different from building a strawman. Because the central ideas are related, it is a question of if you are willing, or not, to allow that expansion. I am comfortable (heh heh) with the expansion and see it as necessary. You do not. Fair enough.

  7. Michael R.

    It is disturbing, but not surprising. If you look who the letter came from, it is from the typical activist students and the ‘Diversity’ VP. Every college has to have a Diversity VP or two now. Diversity is strictly defined in the liberal terms. Administrations are terrified of these people because if you cross them, they will declare the institution ‘racist’. It is very difficult to hire such a person who isn’t a liberal ‘social justice warrior’, so a school like Wheaton is forced to hire someone who is actively opposed to the university’s mission and then tolerate it. If you want to know why they have to do this, I have one word…accreditation.

    • Other Bill

      Ironically, even at a religious school, diversity has become tantamount to a religion. If you don’t worship at its altar, you’re a heretic and burned at the stake or at least run out of town. Also ironically, it is yet to be proved diversity has any actual benefit for the institution or any of it’s students, (or faculties or administrators) while on campus or once they graduate. If diversity is inherently beneficial, why isn’t it beneficial for athletic teams? Why doesn’t the NBA “look like America?” Or the NFL? Or MLB?

      • Michael R.

        It is the government religion. In many education departments, they have pushed to make ‘social justice’ a value. This means they have to measure the ‘social justice’ value of each education major. If the student isn’t ‘social justice’ enough, the student must be thrown out of the program. This is one way the left maintains its control of public schools. If you don’t throw out the conservative students, you lose your accreditation.

        • Other Bill

          It’s also the religion religion, Michael. Churches now sport banners saying “Social Justice” along side or in lieu of banners saying “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Charity.” What a strange, awful conflation of societal roles. The government is now the church since churches are on their way out.

          • Michael R.

            Well, several years ago I had to look for a new church. The new church leadership foisted on my old church was throwing people out for…well…being Christians (wanting to help disaster victims and share the message of God’s love to those with little hope, you know, horrible stuff like that). It was depressing how bad the churches were. They were either full of the elderly and dying or they were preaching a watered down ‘fun’ faith of full acceptance of everything and no responsibility. It took a long time to find a church with a good balance between worship, reflection, learning, responsibility, and service to others. It shouldn’t be that hard to find such a church.

            • Other Bill

              I suspect the theological schools have been over run as have the colleges and universities. I haven’t darkened the door of a church except for weddings and funerals and concerts in over fifty years. So, my expectations are non-existent. But the one big difference people don’t make between churches and governments in lieu of churches is attending and giving money to a church is voluntary, paying taxes to a government is not optional. Let churches help the poor and needy, just don’t make governments into charities against the will of the taxpayers. This really grates on me.

  8. JLo

    I’m a bit late but wanted to add a short note I read recently and had not heard before about the state of learning and discourse at institutions of higher learning:

    The opposite of diversity is university

    Apparently this statement has been around for a number of years (and too many at that) but it is new to me.

    When will there be sufficient self-awareness by student government, faculty and administrators to see they are contributing to the devaluation of higher education and increasing the contempt for the educated elite?

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