Apr 22, 2007
Cleary University President Tom Sullivan broke his silence about his decision to pay more than $30,000 to have racist hatemonger Anne Coulter spread her unique brand of hate speech at the school’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series with a letter-to-the-editor in Sunday’s edition of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.
Sullivan claims the goal of the series is to:
"enrich the community by hosting speakers who can share a broad spectrum of business, social, political, intellectual, and cultural experiences."
Since that time, a wonderful array of 10 diverse speakers shared insightful stories of success, leadership, and personal reflection. Their invitation to speak did not include an endorsement of any of their messages, but rather recognition that a community is strengthened by encouraging diversity of thought and conversation.”
Again, how is Coulter’s appearance enriching anyone but her own pocketbook? However, if the school wants to make money on the LEC series that's fine, but they can make more money by inviting a speaker with a positive message, with more appeal and at a less expensive price. We have provided them a list of many to choose from at the same place they booked Coulter from.
I also fail to see the broad spectrum of diverse speakers. Other than the Mayor of the largest city in our state, all of the speakers have had a conservative bent. How can anything Coulter has ever said or done meet the goal of “insightful stories of success, leadership, and personal reflection.” Her success is from making hateful, racist remarks, and why would anyone want to emulate that? A less hateful remark than Coulter’s numerous racist remarks cost Don Imus his job, but Cleary hired and is paying 30 grand for Coulter’s remarks. Paying someone $30,000 to speak sounds like an endorsement to me, Mr. Sullivan.
"In inviting Ms. Coulter, the university recognized that she often (regrettably) uses shocking language to make her apparent point that media bias and political correctness have effectively removed several contemporary topics from critical analysis and public debate. We imagined her presentation would be thought provoking and that our guests would be able to determine for themselves if there were any merit to her message."
Saying she uses “shocking language” is an understatement, much like saying the Sears Tower is a tall building. It goes well beyond "political correctness and media bias” when you call for the mass murder of Arabs and Muslims and their forced conversion to Christianity, calling them “ragheads,” saying North Koreans should be "nuked for fun, calling Native Americans “Injuns” and savages, calling respected, veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas an "old Arab” or saying the Emancipation Proclamation should be repealed. If your guests want to be able “to determine for themselves if there were any merit to her message” they can borrow one of her books at the library, read her columns in the few newspapers that still carry it after her last discriminatory remarks or watch her nightly appearances on fox news, but they don’t have to endorse her racist views by showing up at hear her talk.
"Some in our community were not pleased with the invitation to Ms. Coulter and expressed their disappointment. The university noted that someone posted a clarion call to several Web sites, encouraging people to contact the university and the founding partners of the club to express their disapproval of Ms. Coulter's presentation. In some instances, "talking points" were suggested and allegations were made of rampant local outrage.
At the risk of unleashing another storm of correspondence from the bloggers, in fact, local reaction to Ms. Coulter appears to have been mixed, but fairly evenly split. Much of the negative correspondence was vitriolic, some simply voiced disapproval, and a few were quite thoughtful. We certainly appreciate the latter."
It’s OK to take shots at us bloggers, but that’s the only way to get any critical coverage of her appearance because the instrument for doing that, the newspaper, is a sponsor of the event. I would like to you point out the talking points, Mr. Sullivan, or better yet dispute them if and when you can point them out. Unfortunately, we have no way to know if the response was “evenly split,” but it appears no matter how negative the response to Coulter’s appearance the only real numbers or response that matters to you are the ticket sales. The school and community’s reputation be dammed as long as ticket sales were good.
"One Web site included the message "The gauntlet has been thrown!!" — an apparent reaction to the fact that initial response to Ms. Coulter's appearance was positive and fairly evenly balanced. In encouraging Web visitors to communicate their displeasure, it went on to say: "The chance to take money out of Ann Coulter's pocket is here!" Candidly, this motivation seemed to mitigate the impact of the correspondence."
I’m more concerned with the reaction that some of our students received when they went to a choir festival and were called racists, based on the welcome racists like Coulter seem to get from our community. Now, I never said, “The chance to take money out of Ann Coulter's pocket is here!” Nor do I recall reading that. That’s not to say it was not written somewhere, but I have no problem saying I think it’s wrong to throw money at a person simply because she says outrageous, racist things, and it’s simply wrong to get rich for doing that.
President Tom Sullivan
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843