The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

GMU: Still Slouching Towards Dhimmitude?

The following e-mail was sent out to all GMU students moments ago:

From: Peter Stearns, Provost and Sandy Hubler, VP of University Life
Subject: Respecting Free Speech

(Photo added for illustration purposes.)
Already this fall, a number of students, staff, and faculty have raised concerns and engaged in dialogues related to controversial campus, national, and international issues. As conversations ensue both in and outside of the classroom on issues such as Mason?s quiet meditation space, recent acts of racism at UMD-College Park, and the upcoming Jena 6 trials, we encourage dialogue that fosters critical thinking, positive engagement, and mutual respect. Our challenge as a community as we engage in these dialogues is to stay committed to honoring and encouraging free speech, while at the same time attending to those who may feel that their safety and dignity have been compromised.

On our campus, there has been much discussion on the use of the quiet meditation space located in the Johnson Center. The meditation space was established seven years ago in response to those in the university community who wanted a quiet, convenient drop-in location for reflection and prayer. We are currently collecting usage data on the space for further review with the goal of assessing and meeting the needs of our student populations [Ed.:—There's more than one student population at GMU now? Who knew?]. We want to ensure that the space is open to all on campus who wish to use it for quiet meditation. If you have questions or comments about the space, you can email

Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that this e-mail is directed at me? I must be getting paranoid in my old age.

Feel free to send your questions or comments to the above e-mail address—in a respectful and non-dignity-reducing manner, of course! And, in continuation of my desire to be open to all discussion on the matter, you're more than welcome to do the same to my student e-mail address, which is still

I don't know about you, but everything I've seen from our side of the debate (with the exception of a handful of Al Gore's "digital brownshirts") have carried our argument in a most respectful manner. What we've seen from the University up until now—which is what makes the matter more frustrating for everyone involved—is a distinct lack of action, followed by utter and complete silence. Had the Administration begun to address this issue back in April, things would certainly not have reached as contentious a point as we're in now, would they?

In any case, feel free to scour my previous articles on the topic for hints of an attack on anyone's "dignity."

Previously at Snapped Shot:

Update: Scott at Power Line is tracking a far more egregious case up at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Is this a sign of coordinated efforts between the various Muslim Student Associations across our country? Or is it a case of a student group abusing their "powers of room reservation?"

I definitely look forward to Scott's updates—and Scott, you're welcome to my silly headings any time!



#1 captainfish 25-Sep-2007
Great Update.
I love how the reduction in DIGNITY is an actionable situation. Dont they realize that public school systems have done all they can to rid kids of their dignity?

Thus, this tells me that they only care about the "dignity" of those cultures that put a much higher value on the showing of dignity and protecting their dignity.

Americans are always taking pot shots at our dignity. We make fun of ourselves all the time. Look at Larry the Cable Guy. To try and uphold the dignity of one group would actually harm/reduce the dignity of another.

I like how they are taking "usage data". Like counting people will do anything. Just LOOK at what people are doing and that will tell you your usage data. geesh

Brian, what is this about, "acts of racism at UMD-College Park"?
#2 forest 25-Sep-2007
Good pick-up on the use of the plural "student populations" in the letter. Is that an accidental admission as to which way things are heading?

And what about this "usage data"? It shouldn't matter if one group uses the space more than others if it really is a non-denominational reflection and prayer space. Besides, the data are already skewed because one group appears to be taking liberties with the space to make it more inviting to Muslims and less inviting to others.

The last thing the school should do is to make it even more exclusive by continuing to permit the sexist divider or by adding a mihrab, a footbath or a shoe rack.

Is it a non-denominational prayer room or is it a Mosque?
#3 Brian C. Ledbetter 25-Sep-2007
The UMD incident apparently involved a noose and a tree.

I'll refrain from comment on that incident for now, until the facts are in. Suffice to say that it wouldn't surprise me in the [i]least[/i] to find that it was self-inflicted.

#4 CJ 25-Sep-2007
Never stop covering this story. The truth about what is happening will eventually come out. Look at what's happened already! Continue starting "dialogue that fosters critical thinking, positive engagement, and mutual respect."
#5 Brian C. Ledbetter 25-Sep-2007
Thanks for the support, CJ! I continue to hope for the best possible outcome, even as the Administration slowly begins to understand the nature of the problem.

Most Respectfully,
#6 captainfish 25-Sep-2007
from your linkage: "campus police said they believe the small noose had been hanging for about two weeks before it was reported to them. " .... doesn't it seem odd that a noose that was supposedly intended to intimidate was hanging in an area that was not noticed for 2 weeks?

"Shawna Murray, a vice president of the black student union, says the speak-out is being held on September 11th "because this is terrorism."" .... nothing like jumping to drastic conclusions...

"The rope was found between the school's student union and the Nyumburu Cultural Center, where organizations such as the Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Black Explosion newspaper are based." ...Ok, since it was in between these two places, who was this "noose" intended for? Also, why name your newspaper... "EXPLOSION". Doesn't that in of itself bring up connotations? I get the 'feeling' of churches exploding. I think that newspaper's name is affecting my dignity???

"the university's police chief, Kenneth W. Krouse, was reviewing all campus video equipment, examining physical evidence at the scene..." ... you would think that after several weeks that they would have had that video viewed by now? hmmm?

"... and meeting with students and other members of the campus community." ...yeah, cause that is where the real evidence lies. How about hold a few more townhall meetings, a few more sit-togethers, then a few candle-light vigils, maybe do some marches .... and the people of the college will get all riled up.

"University of Maryland's Police Department, said the noose was removed by someone before he arrived on the scene on Friday, but Dillon believed it was seen by various students..." if the evidence was removed before police arrived, then how do we know it was really there? Are there photos of the noose on the scene taken by the police? Who were the ones that "witnessed" this incident? Could they be just like the Duke "witnesses"??

"University of Maryland police are investigating a report of a noose in a tree near a cultural center housing several African-American student organizations as a possible hate crime,..." ... this is all about a report??? And, forgive me, but is this just like GMU with a cultural center that here seems to be only housing black organizations? Shouldn't cultural centers house all kinds of cultures? Maybe this alleged noose was targeting the Iranians, Syrian, or Communists. Those are caucasian skinned folks. And don't the Iranians JUST LOVE NOOSES?!!?
#7 Genevieve 26-Sep-2007
Good lord. I guess I got this email too, but since I graduated, I don't check my GMU email anymore... they need to stop going around in circles on this and definitely need to stop using events at other universities to provide weak excuses as to why one group of students is allowed to over-take a public space and dis-allow those who have every right to be there from being there. How about enforcing the rules as to how this property is to be used? I mean, "non denominational meditation space" is not exactly a vague term. You could totally make the argument of the tort of conversion by the MSA on GMU's property, just as a side I may ponder and write on myself.

Great update, Brian. Keep 'em coming.
#8 GBU 28 26-Sep-2007
I am a graduate of the GMU law school and have informed them that I decline to continue my support because they have installed foot baths. Can you confirm that? What is the university position on that? Is there any reaction to this clearly religious facility on the grounds of a state university?
#9 Q 28-Dec-2007
Wow... you guys are really ignorant.

How could you state that there arent persons who felt terrorized by this event...

submerge yourself in the definition
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