Earlier this week an IU-Bloomington student group, SKY, held a fag demonstration on the university’s dime. No, it wasn’t that kind of demonstration, that was the name of the event. Event organizer Grace Miller pitched the demo to the Indiana University Union Board as way to bring awareness to the word fag, and also to promote the student group.
Radical Feminism and pro-LGBT events go hand-in-hand on IU-Bloomington campus, and they rarely run into much resistance. That is, unless the Traditionalist Youth Network at Indiana University shows up. Sorry for party rock’n, SKY.
Miller was so confident that she had the Union Board’s support that she didn’t think anyone would notice if she decided to take her show off of the reservation. The Union Board funded Miller’s event for approximately $200.00 dollars, paying for demonstration props and fliers. But, it wouldn’t be an IU-Bloomington feminist demonstration if there wasn’t at least one flier about bashing white men.
After the Union Board was confronted about having sponsored this event, their reaction was priceless.
The Fag Demo was an all-day event. Event participants set up tables and posters in Dunn Meadow (one of the campus’ free speech zones) while talking with passersby. Though concerned primarily with anti-gay speech, their literature table was just a wee bit different than it was described to the Union Board. The literature that landed SKY in the hot-seat was your typical anti-white, anti-male piece of radical egalitarianism hyperbole against “The Kyriarchy.”
The flier reads, “Kyriarchy: (‘rule by a lord’) is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission”, and is then followed by a picture of a young Asian girl with a railroad hammer saying that she’s going to smash “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” Because SKY is their own best caricature, there’s no cherry-picking or exaggerating required here. You can’t organize a militant grassroots activist network to smash a system of oppression without becoming a system of oppression. The pure irony of this proposition was lost on the event organizers. It’s about the same as forming a now-defunct student group called “Students Against Intolerance” to…. stop groups they don’t agree with. Yeah, that happened, too.
Thursday night, Oct. 23, the Union Board of Directors found out that they were victim to a classic bait-and-switch conducted by a former member of their board. Event organizer and SKY member Grace Miller knew that she had went off the reservation by purposely hiding promotional material from the Union Board. Speaking from the other side of the room while wearing her problem glasses, Miller disgorged in a cringe-worthy opening statement while attempting to distance SKY and the Union Board from her decision to distribute anti-white male-bashing literature under the auspices of a Union Board sponsored event.
“I would like to thank the Union Board in their support of the Fag Demonstration. Without your help we would not have been able to achieve it. Some of you may have my statement in front of you, I do apologize, I wrote it pretty quickly. I would also like to point out that I came to the Union Board with this program on behalf of SKY, the Union Board did not come to me looking for this. Anyone is welcome to bring a program to Union Board. So, first of all, like I said, I would like to thank you for your support in this program. Second of all, I would like to apologize as a former director and the person who brought this to the Union Board. I should have thought about this, I should have brought you all of our promotional material, and that is wholly my responsibility. That is not on SKY, that is not on the Union Board, that is my fault.”
Miller knew the material wouldn’t have passed vetting by the Union Board, so she hid it. The material that she didn’t hide was your average run of the mill pro-gay material depicting two white men laying side by side in bed. To be fair, my complaint that the material was advocating for violence wasn’t a slam-dunk, but a visual reading of the two fliers (which were displayed together at the demonstration) is nothing less than a concrete and fully distilled statement of their worldview: The only good white man is a gay white man.
SKY member Morgan Mohr was quick to add that they weren’t calling for violence against white people.
“So, we, of course, are not advocating for the mass slaughter of white people. As you’ll notice we have several members who identify as white and male, and that’s not a problem for them. I’m sure you could ask them about why they want to be a part of this organization, and it is all about equality.”
Yeah? When slaves are well taken care of they can live happily enough, but that doesn’t make slavery right. Having a team of neutered beta-males as a back drop doesn’t really help her argument much there. After Mohr thanked the Union Board for funding the event, and for funding their own “good speech”, a member of the board said he would have had second thoughts if he had seen the suspect flier before hand.
Alumni Representative Cathy Deal described the board’s funding decision process as being function-centered, and content-neutral.
“We’re really looking as a board, when we vote on any program, at being content neutral and looking at those kinds of factors that might foster or encourage whatever kind of controversial viewpoints anyone might want to bring to campus because it is an educational institution. What we’re about here is process, not judgement on content.”
Vice President of Finance Jackie Gauthier’s opinion was similarly minded, and recommended that students take their more controversial political statements to events that are not sponsored by the Union Board.
“I think that the director has the responsibility if they are co-sponsoring to give an approval to materials that will be handed out at events. I think that’s a pretty simple way. If you are questionable about it ask another director, get their opinion about it, and if you’re not sure we want to be associated with it don’t give it out. Encourage your student group to do it on their own events, and I think that will hopefully help us to maintain a neutral content as far as our programs and what we are funding.”
We can’t win all of the fights, but small victories like this are possible by the simple act of calling others on their B.S., and keeping them accountable. Perhaps the brightest part of the board’s meeting was that they would be open to the idea of sponsoring a Traditionalist Youth Network event if it was presented to them. Radical Traditionalist activism on a campus does have its challenges, and making inroads is not impossible. For the IU students reading this, keep your eyes open. We’re not going away. For those outside the IU-Bloomington community, let us know when you’re ready to get in the game and start your own chapter of the Traditionalist Youth Network.