With a little digging, we happened upon this gem published in the UCSF Student Newspaper. The author is anonymous and the editor’s note is extremely revealing…and commendable.
It is not the policy of Synapse to run opinion articles anonymously, but we have broken that rule to publish the accompanying article on Proposition 8.
We do so because we think it is important for all shades of opinion within the campus community to be heard. We do so because we have printed many articles from those opposing Prop 8, but hadn’t received any from the other side.
Efforts were made to get the writer to agree to use his name, but he refused, citing fear of harassment. While we devoutly hope that would not be the case, we were sobered by a column on November 23 by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Editorial Page Editor John Diaz. He wrote:
A supporter of Proposition 8, fed up with what he believed was the gay community’s and “liberal media’s” refusal to accept the voters’ verdict, fired off a letter to the editor.
“Please show respect for democracy,” he wrote, in a letter we published.
What he encountered instead was an utter lack of respect for free speech.
Within hours, the intimidation game was on. Because his real name and city were listed – a condition for publication of letters to The Chronicle – opponents of Prop. 8 used Internet search engines to find the letter writer’s small business, his Web site (which included the names of his children and dog), his phone number and his clients. And they posted that information in the “Comments” section of SFGate.com – urging, in ugly language, retribution against the author’s business and its identified clients.
We at Synapse would like to think that this would never happen at UCSF, but finally decided to let the accompanying article run anonymously, to spare the writer of any of the harassment that has occurred since the passage of Prop 8.
In this democracy, the way to rectify errors at the polls is to convince a majority at a future election of the rightness of your cause. No matter how passionately one feels about an issue, it is important to maintain a civil dialogue and a reasoned debate. [emphasis added]
We welcome any and all comments from the campus community. Email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposition 8 and Our Society – the Majority Perspective
In light of the recent election, and the call for reflections on the outcome by Synapse, I feel that it is time to voice the feelings shared by a MAJORITY of us Californians and perhaps many of us here at UCSF: we support a traditional definition or marriage being between “one man and one woman.” The responses published in Synapse, both before and after the election, have been in strong opposition to Proposition 8 and in reading these articles and discussing them with others in the campus community I have realized an irony that exists here at UCSF. I hope to address both the issue of tolerance here at UCSF, and also the justification of Proposition 8.
The UCSF Principles of Community (http://www.ucsf.edu/about-ucsf/principles) claims, “We affirm the individual right of public expression within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect. We recognize the right of every individual to think and speak as dictated by personal belief, to express individual ideas and to state differences with other points of view, limited only by University requirements regarding time, place and manner…[and] we reject acts of discrimination…based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and religious or political beliefs.” In light of this unbiased, and non-discrimination policy let us examine the following example.
I became aware of a recent situation in which a speaker with a conservative (and in no way discriminatory) background was sponsored by a group on campus. Before he even arrived, numerous emails expressing offense to his conservative background and messages were circulated among students and sent to those responsible for the event. After the speaker’s presentation, those in opposition to the event called for an open forum for their opposition to be voiced to the event’s organizers. Unfortunately, the discussion was tense, and some of the comments would perhaps be more appropriately termed accusations.