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Author Topic: Shake Up At William & Mary!!  (Read 4004 times)

philibusters

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2008, 08:05:38 PM »
I agree with Aerynn; the problem wasn't so much what Nichol did as how he did it.  At a school which highly values tradition, running roughshod over the will of the alumni, community, legislature, and many students and faculty isn't a good way of going about things. 

As far as I can tell, the three things which most got people ticked off, in order of outrage generated were:
1. Removal of the Wren Cross from the altar to a side area. While I'm surprised that a cross is "offensive" but an altar isn't (maybe people are just ignorant), this isn't so bad.  The cross isn't really all that old.  However, had he simply declared that the cross would be moved so as to avoid the possibility of theft or damage this would hardly have registered with people.  He and his wife apparently have a record of harassing Christian groups, however, and so this was taken as another sign of that.
2. Allowing the Sex Workers Art Show to be performed on-campus (including about a week before his non-renewal, when he was already on the hot seat).  There are other venues in the area.  I don't like my tuition money and tax dollars going toward funding a venue for this, and it seems to me that the non-renewal (as opposed to firing) is a reasonable response by the BOV.  This isn't a free speech issue; Nichol made a deliberate political decision and is suffering the political consequences.  Some may disagree with the solution, but it's certainly a licit one.
3. Allowing W&M's athletic program to be semi-stripped of its name ("Indians" / "Tribe") and the feathers from its logo.  The problem apparently is that the Virginia Indian tribes, who are officially supportive of the logo and team name, aren't federally recognized.  Thus, Florida State, backed by the Seminole tribe, can dress up in war paint and throw a flaming spear into the middle of their field, but W&M can't have feathers on their logo.  While W&M people would have liked to keep these things, Nichol's problem wasn't that they were stripped under his leadership but that he didn't seem to do much to try and keep them.  He was seen as not being willing to go to bat for the school.

Sorry to write so much, but a lot of people seem to think that Nichol was fired because the BOV didn't like his political views.  That's misleading, and the truth is more mundane.


In my opinion, Gene Nichols wasn't a good fit for the school.  This includes that he was not on the same wave length ideologically or personality wise with the other school leaders. I think they didn't renew his contract because he was such a bad fit, saying they were motivated solely by ideological reasons or leadership reasons misses the larger picture  that it just was not a good fit.  Probably they had many reasons and any time somebody says it was only one thing, they will only be getting part of the truth.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

andynomore

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2008, 11:20:05 PM »
As a College alumni and likely headed back to W&M next year for law school, the resignation doesn't come as a surprise.  As a less conservative former student, I liked some of the things for which President Nichol was lambasted.  That being said, I think another major reason he was ousted was monetary.  Besides riling many conservatives, from alumni to the state legislature, the controversies also spurred removal of at least one large donation.  I wish those two things weren't tied together, that people could support their alma mater without making political demands, but at W&M that doesn't seem so. 

Bosox

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2008, 01:52:11 PM »
I looked at William and Mary when I was applying. It is a strong school and will unlikely be fine in the long run. Hardly as controversial as that blog seems to think. Its a great school if you want to work in the midatlantic area.

philibusters

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2008, 02:42:38 PM »
I looked at William and Mary when I was applying. It is a strong school and will unlikely be fine in the long run. Hardly as controversial as that blog seems to think. Its a great school if you want to work in the midatlantic area.

People keep equating the entire university with the law school.  The law school was only indirectly affected because their dean is acting as the interim dean of the University.  None of the controversies had a thing to do with the law school.  We are about two miles away from the rest of the university and don't have much to do with them to be honest.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

marlinspike

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2008, 11:48:40 PM »
I'm just ticked that so many of the students (and Nichol himself) talk about how allowing the show was a 1st Amendment rights issue (interesting way of looking at it, at any rate I happen to think if it got through low level bureaucracy, I don't care if they do it, so long as they don't make me attend), but then nobody has a problem with the school stripping us of our 2nd Amendment rights.

BTW, TRIBALHOKIE - if you remember discussion of ranges in a thread last year, if you're willing to drive out to The Marksman, look into Lafeyette Gun Club. You need a sponsor to join, but I might be able to coordinate that. It's certainly not expensive to join and I had a sponsor (though I never did join because I lost my means of getting out there...long story). You have to be a member of the NRA first though.
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aerynn

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2008, 06:28:53 PM »
I'm just ticked that so many of the students (and Nichol himself) talk about how allowing the show was a 1st Amendment rights issue (interesting way of looking at it, at any rate I happen to think if it got through low level bureaucracy, I don't care if they do it, so long as they don't make me attend), but then nobody has a problem with the school stripping us of our 2nd Amendment rights.

BTW, TRIBALHOKIE - if you remember discussion of ranges in a thread last year, if you're willing to drive out to The Marksman, look into Lafeyette Gun Club. You need a sponsor to join, but I might be able to coordinate that. It's certainly not expensive to join and I had a sponsor (though I never did join because I lost my means of getting out there...long story). You have to be a member of the NRA first though.

Seriously?  I mean, I see both sides of the issue, but having the administration ban a group the students chose to bring to campus because of the message that group is sending (or the topic of the program) at a PUBLIC university at least implicates the First Amendment.

Plus, reasonable time and place restrictions apply to ALL amendments.  I think no guns on a school campus is arguably a reasonable restriction, whereas censoring speech among people old enough to vote on a university campus is not reasonable, if the justification is that the speech is by sex workers.
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marlinspike

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2008, 10:43:43 PM »
I'm just ticked that so many of the students (and Nichol himself) talk about how allowing the show was a 1st Amendment rights issue (interesting way of looking at it, at any rate I happen to think if it got through low level bureaucracy, I don't care if they do it, so long as they don't make me attend), but then nobody has a problem with the school stripping us of our 2nd Amendment rights.

BTW, TRIBALHOKIE - if you remember discussion of ranges in a thread last year, if you're willing to drive out to The Marksman, look into Lafeyette Gun Club. You need a sponsor to join, but I might be able to coordinate that. It's certainly not expensive to join and I had a sponsor (though I never did join because I lost my means of getting out there...long story). You have to be a member of the NRA first though.

Seriously?  I mean, I see both sides of the issue, but having the administration ban a group the students chose to bring to campus because of the message that group is sending (or the topic of the program) at a PUBLIC university at least implicates the First Amendment.

Plus, reasonable time and place restrictions apply to ALL amendments.  I think no guns on a school campus is arguably a reasonable restriction, whereas censoring speech among people old enough to vote on a university campus is not reasonable, if the justification is that the speech is by sex workers.

It seems to me that the school takes the "sorry kid, you signed your life away approach" wto as much an extent as it can (I know, I know, don't give your rights at the school house door). For what it's worth, the no guns on a school campus is not the rule, but rather students and employees cannot have guns on this school's property. John Doe off the street can carry. Seems like the rule is a bad fit for achieving the end to me. The state seems to justify that a board of visitors can do this on the grounds that as students we subject ourselves to it. If that's their view, that would justify just about anything (maybe not as far as the courts are concerned, but as far as the state is concerned).

I'll agree that there are 1st Amendment implications, and I think Nichol was right in his actions (though I think he, or perhaps the BoV could have stopped the Sex Workers' Art Show with impunity - some justification about glorifying lewd behavior as a bad influence on young minds - I know I wasn't voting age when I was a freshman - or glorifying behavior that is criminal in VA, since the website talks about prostitution, it's not hard to trump up some justification when nobody is really going to challenge you), I just don't see why people want things both ways. We clamor for something stupid like the Sex Workers' Art Show (did anybody here actually go? or even think about going? I get that the greater issue is more important,  but the show didn't sound interesting at all), but then we so gladly give up another right.
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philibusters

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2008, 09:53:45 AM »
Maybe time will prove you write tribalhokie.  100 years ago in 1908 nobody would say the First Amendment protected the right of a student group at a university to present a sex show on campus, now that claim is plausibly made. Until we get a string of cases that hashes out the contours of the second amendment from federal courts, especially the supreme court the second amendment will mean very little as it can be violated with impunity.  Thats at least part of the answer to why the first amendment seems to get a higher priority than the second amendment. Though Aerynn is probably correct, even if the contours of the Second Amendment were more developed, a tightknit community banning guns seems like a reasonable time place restriction or could even pass strict scrutiny if they couldn't sell it as a time place restriction.
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marlinspike

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2008, 10:00:54 AM »
or could even pass strict scrutiny if they couldn't sell it as a time place restriction.

Would it though? I might agree that they could on an outright school ban, but banning only the students seems completely ineffective (then again, so is an outright ban - "i'm gonna go kill a ton of people and then myself...oh wait, possession of a firearm is in violation of school rules, so I guess I won't commit mass murder after all"), but the state concedes that they cannot make it an outright ban. Seems way too under-inclusive to me.
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aerynn

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Re: Shake Up At William & Mary!!
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2008, 10:59:46 AM »
or could even pass strict scrutiny if they couldn't sell it as a time place restriction.

Would it though? I might agree that they could on an outright school ban, but banning only the students seems completely ineffective (then again, so is an outright ban - "i'm gonna go kill a ton of people and then myself...oh wait, possession of a firearm is in violation of school rules, so I guess I won't commit mass murder after all"), but the state concedes that they cannot make it an outright ban. Seems way too under-inclusive to me.

It just strengthens their position, because students and faculty "choose" to give up the right.  Students and faculty also have access to places the public does not, such as locked offices or dorm buildings.  Even the law library after hours is students only.  And isn't most gun violence perpetrated against people the shooter knows?  I would think that would increase the justification for banning guns from students and faculty, as they are the ones who have a relationship with each other and might use a gun inappropriately, whereas a person just walking on campus probably doesn't have those relationships (and the risk of gun violence from a random stranger may not justify an infringement on every stranger's right to carry a gun.  Furthermore, the school may have a duty to the students and faculty to keep the campus safe through security measures, providing emergency phones and fast response times, etc.  Because the school has no duty to people just walking through, other than to not intentionally harm them, they have an increased need to defend themselves?  I haven't researched it or anything, those are just some off-the-cuff ideas.

I understand that you don't care about the sex workers thing, but it really is a much bigger speech issue than it seems.  The show is about the experiences of sex workers and deals with a lot of gender issues.  To bad the show would, to me, suggest a very specific fear not of sex per se (because they have had other programs, such as "I Love the Female Orgasm" which is a sex ed program), but sex workers.  This implicates a TON of feminist arguments about female empowerment and the Madonna-Whore dichotomy. I think if they banned it, every feminist theorist on campus would have raised hell.  Not just students, but particularly faculty.  We had the Journal of Women and the Law Symposium this weekend, dealing with women who break traditional gender stereotypes by being "bad": by committing acts of securities fraud, infanticide, abandonment of newborns or neonaticide, violating workplace dress codes, etc.  It was a level that was considerably more sophisticated than the sex workers show, but a lot less immediate.  I *like* that the undergrads might be drawn to the sex workers art show out of some desire for a cheap thrill and that they will learn some feminist theory at the same time.  To repress that kind of speech is to repress scholarship, which is depressing at a public university.
Here's how it went for me for Fall 2006 admission:
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In: Emory($$), UGA ($), W&M ($$), GW($)
Waitlisted:American(W), UVA (W)
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=aerynn