Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student

“We applaud Ellen Smith…”

5 Comments on “We applaud Ellen Smith…”

  1. Gotta love the inevitable firestorms that result from any proposed change. Glad to see that there’s so much support for all this, and that you’re sticking to your guns, Ellen.

    Good job, sis. Keep being spectacular.

  2. Tommy Turner // May 11, 2011 at 7:01 PM // Reply

    The only shame is that this letter is only signed by 16 people. Such a beautiful and eloquent response should be a unanimous cry by the entire K-community for sanity, respect, and introspection in, what is otherwise, an amazing campus-community.

    ~Tommy K’10

  3. Wendy Heath // May 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM // Reply

    Fabulous response. So glad to see some familiar names backing this! And really sad, that in the very same college environment where I learned to critically think, so many have obviously failed to do so. I am very frustrated that I missed the original dance in question, so that I only have bits and pieces of the information and can only respond with support for someone who chose to critique it who has been bullied as a result. Go Ellen, and all of you who signed this letter.


    (Transferred prior to graduation in K ’08 due to health issues.)

  4. Kelsey Breck // May 12, 2011 at 12:25 PM // Reply

    K College is a community I am proud to have been a part of on a daily basis because of people like Ellen who voice their important and well-articulated opinions. Tommy is right; the entire student body should have signed their names to this letter. I hope to see more support for people who are willing to critique their environment and begin important conversations. It is only by continued expressions of tolerance, understanding, and compassion that this community will continue to improve. Keep at it Ellen, you’re great.

    Kelsey – K ’10

  5. Matthew Kufta // May 12, 2011 at 4:14 PM // Reply

    As one of the individuals to initially respond online to Ellen’s article in last week’s Index, I wanted to say that while I may not agree with Ellen’s viewpoint on this matter, I fully support her right to express herself and her opinions and I had no knowledge of any of this hateful speech nor would I ever endorse it. Frankly, I was disappointed to see that the post following mine contained the quote that “pick your battles wisely and you might win one for once.”

    Truthfully Ellen, as hurtful and disparaging as these remarks are, you must ignore them. It is important to remember that these individuals made their remarks under the cover of anonymity precisely because they knew how unintelligent and belligerent they would look. If they had any reason to them, they would of attributed their names to them.

    In the hopes of moving this conversation forward, as this is usually where it ends normally on K College campus, with battle lines drawn and nobody willing to continue it out of fear, I want to present to you some ideas, and they are solely mine, but I would be lying if I said that I honestly believe that there are not others that believe this way. They are not easy to say, and I fully expect backlash, but nonetheless I still believe they are important.

    I think part of the reason this conversation becomes so divisive is partly because of the language used in the conversation. In the above article, the words “rape culture”, “cycle of systematic repression”, and “enforced conformity to patriarchal mandates”. Take for example “rape culture”. How emotionally charged are those two words? When I hear that, especially in the context of this article, it makes me think the following, “These individuals are accusing me, just because I am a man, of perpetuating ‘rape culture’. They must mean that I promote rape. This is obviously not true, as I have walked lots out of my way in life to make sure women get home safely after a night out and many of my best friends in the world are women who I would do anything to help, and certainly would never want to promote anything that could ever possibly harm them”. I think of myself, despite my flaws that are probably more obvious to others than myself, that at the end of the day I’m a good person. So when I feel that I am being accused of promoting rape culture, I feel that who I am and my core values and perception of myself as a good person is under attack.

    It is next to impossible to even get somebody to try to understand your side of the story if right from the get-go you feel that they are accusing you of such horrific things that are against your very being. The same goes for the other phrases, I don’t know what exactly you mean by the cycle of systematic repression or enforced conformity to patriarchal mandates. I assume they have specific meanings in specific academic contexts. But when I hear those words I think again that here is a group of people that believes at their core that if I even have the slightest disagreement with them whatever I say or do is immediately pooled into “promoting systematic repression” or “enforcing patriarchal mandates”. Knowing my care for my females friends and wanting women to be all that they can be no matter who they are, again I feel that my core is being unjustly and inaccurately attacked and there is little to no chance I will even make it to the discussion without already deciding I shouldn’t listen to what you have to say, because at your core you believe all that I stand for is bad, and how could I ever have a civil conversation then?

    I also feel that individuals on your side of the table are unwilling to even have this civil discussion even if individuals like myself can make it there without all of the negative feelings. Personally, and maybe this is just me, I have never had a conversation with individuals that want to inform me of women’s issues where any reason I provided for why I felt a certain way wasn’t right away blasted as some male status quo, multiple syllable word, power structure. I am not saying that you have to change what you believe, but I think the conversation never starts on equitable terms. In fact, I believe the conversation never starts. I think even if it does, it quickly turns into a preaching session. I know that is not probably how it is meant to come off as, but that is how it often sounds. So what I’m saying is, in order to have a conversation both sides need to come open-minded enough at least to listen, not as an opportunity to preach to the other.

    Obviously, we disagree on the matter of the importance of the man dance in Frelon. However I dare say that most men and most women want both sides to be treated equally and fairly in society. Right now I care so much about my female friends that I would never want anything to stand in their way or that would make them feel in any way dejected. I imagine you all have male friends and you would never want them feeling that they are being unfairly treated by individuals because they are doing their best, yet are still being accused of holding up power structures. I believe at the end of the day we have the same core beliefs at heart, what we disagree upon is what is important and what needs to be done to fix these elements. However the charged language will not progress the conversation, but only make each side entrench themselves further. However, most importantly, even if we might disagree, do not let yourself be silenced because of intimidation.

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“We applaud Ellen Smith…”