Phil Edmunds’ letter (CDT, March 14 “Penn State indifferent to misconduct”) turned my stomach and raised my ire.
The letter compared the individual actions of an upset young woman to the institutional incitement of racial violence and hate speech of a group. It characterized that deplorable bigotry, calling for nothing short of murder of black people, a “silly song” that was not “politically correct.”
Edmunds seems to imply the problem was that they used the wrong word to convey their sentiments of institutional intolerance and brutal killings.
I do not know the circumstances of Ciarah Bishop’s arrest other than what was reported. I am not excusing or defending her behavior. And it very well may be the case that the university should take disciplinary action against her.
However, Edmunds’ comparison isn’t even apples to oranges. It’s apples to elephants in relative similarity and in the scale of magnitude each incident represents to the institution of education.