First of all, I would like to state that I am attempting to be as thoroughly civil as possible. However, if I do manage to slip and express an actual opinion, please forgive me. Recently our Dean of Students, Tomás Aguirre, released a column that advocates ostensibly for “advocacy and inclusion.” However, I am deeply troubled by the fact that he has hidden behind a shelter of “intent and effect” — which is not to say that those are invalid concerns when any action is under consideration, but rather that they should only inform rather than restrict.
I would agree that “Bullying, intimidation, a lack of transparency, misrepresentation of the facts” are all invalid strategies in the effort to effect change systemically, efficiently and objectively. But it is equally as invalid to cite specific students without any reference to a specific event — it is an equally despicable micro-aggression founded in fallacious rhetoric. As the “Students’ Dean,” it is not in your job description to subversively critique student concerns, it is your job to amplify them as an actor within the higher structure of the University. Even further, I would argue that passive-aggressive micro-aggression is thoroughly uncivil. You may have addressed the perceived confrontation of being labeled a “white-supremacist,” but in actuality you have done nothing other than to bolster a lacking rhetoric centered in a pity-seeking pathos at the expense of a student.
Not only is this highly reminiscent of the four invalid strategies you have outlined above, it is appalling behavior. I do not doubt at all that you are indeed not a “white supremacist.” If you actually were, I’m quite sure the student body would have done away with you long ago. However, if you have been critiqued for perpetuating a system that privileges a specific group over another. I would think you would have the maturity to take it as a criticism of your paid position and not your actual personhood, and to make an effort to address the situation civilly, rather than to build a shoddy shield of pity behind which to preach an absurd seditious form of civility. On a less mordant note, I would love to invite our distinguished Dean of Students to share tea sometime, and to civilly discuss the application of civility on our university campus. I’ll bring the scones.