Sunday, August 30, 2009

More school drama - flyers

The Society of Non-Theists has had a particularly bad time putting up flyers at Purdue. I've had events where 75% or higher of the flyers were torn down after 24 hours, and I had to constantly replace them. We only put them where they're allowed to be, but that doesn't stop students from tearing them down. Purdue used to allow you to tape flyers to the ground (no longer do, it was an eye sore), and even those went missing. I actually caught someone in the act and tried to stop them, but since he and his friends were very large males and weren't being too kind to me, I decided my well being is more important than a flyer and backed off. And if the flyers aren't being torn down, they're being written on - stuff like "Jesus loves you" and "You're going to hell." Interesting dichotomy there, no?

Anyway, we have some new flyer drama developments. I was going to LILY to relax in the library, but instead I got all riled up. Why? Of our five flyers on the main for, two were torn down and replaced by a Fraternity's flyer, and the other three were directly covered by that Frat's flyers like so:

These poster boards had plenty of space for the flyers to go, and the only other group that had a flyer perfectly covering it was the Queer Student Union:

Coincidence? I think not.

My first instinct was "Grrrr Delta Pi Rho!!! You're a minority frat! Shouldn't your members know better than treats other minority groups' flyers like that?!" But then I looked at the flyer set up again. None of them completely covered our flyers, which had been the case in the past. They all made sure to include "Atheist?!" or "God?!" or "Big Gay." What do I think is really happening? Some jerkface probably thinks it's funny to slur Delta Pi Rho by calling them gay atheists by rearranging the flyers that way.

And you know what? That probably makes me crankier than if Delta Pi Rho themselves had just been acting like jerks. The fact that "atheist" is used as an insult really illustrates how most of America (especially conservative parts like Purdue) view nonbelievers. It's a dirty word and a slur. What's worse than being an atheist or gay?

I usually could care less when rival frats play pranks on each other (which is probably all this is), but at least do it without making some of the largest minority groups in America the butt of the jokes.

17 comments:

  1. Isn't there a way to staple laminated flyers to those billboards/whatever-they-are? That way they wouldn't be scribbled over, for starters, and would be harder to tear down. Or is that not allowed?

    That's why I've always hated the idea of students putting up their own flyers and ads on billboards. It causes so much trouble for so little gain. There would need to be some other, more reliable, system.

    Or at least, there'd need to be some very harsh punishment for anyone caught intentionally vandalizing other people's flyers. If you can't reason with 'em, scare 'em off.

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  2. Shame on me for thinking that the frat had shot themselves in the foot with that placement. Good thing you're cleverer than me.

    Have you thought about joining forces with them? Or are there no Latino atheists? Or gays? Or gay atheists?

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  3. Does the Dean of Students Office know about this? How about the Exponent? Would be a way to make people realize that a University setting - even one as conservative as Purdue -- is all about sharing divergent viewpoints.

    Remember that religion (or irreligion) and sexual orientation is covered in your non-discrimination policy.

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  4. Once again, I am of the opinion that you need to stand up here. It's not right that atheists are used for casual humour by frat boy morons. I hope there's a campus paper and the like, Jen. You write eloquently enough to make a passionate argument.

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  5. I already wrote the Dean of Students/People in charge of student organizations before writing this post. Honestly though, they probably won't have much of a response other than "Sorry it happened." When I previously talked to them about it, they said they basically can't do anything unless we catch the individual doing it, then they can reprimand them. Short of setting a video camera on all of our hundred posters 24 hours a day, I'm not sure what to do. They didn't seem willing to make any general announcements either.

    If I get a similar response to this most recent email, I'm going to the Exponent (student paper).

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  6. See, that's where things actually happen on campuses, Deans hate rocking pots. Remember, especially with frat houses, there is a lot of power involved. Everyone knows people who were part of X fraternity...

    I really dislike fraternities and sororities. Other than the obvious reasons for the latter.

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  7. If you go to the exponent Jen, I'm going to support you and write an op-ed if someone slams your opinion

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  8. Frat boys as self-appointed God goons. Now I've heard everything.

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  9. "What's worse than being an atheist or gay?"

    Being both, of course. Durrrrr.

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  10. I hope this run in with those frat boys don't leave a bad taste about all frats. I mean, we aren't all godbotting goons. But the next time you get a run in with guys like you did with those big guys just get some of your buddies and tell them to knock it off. More then likely they will.

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  11. Yeah, I feel your pain. Definitely write to the Exponent -- perhaps just writing a general letter about flyers being torn down or covered up would be more tactful than saying it's only your group's. I think the deeper issue here is, as gnwmann said, the ability to voice different opinions and avoid discrimination. It's not right for anyone to remove any posts, and it's just childish and cowardly to do so.

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  12. You should definetely go to the Exponent with this. If you need backing I am sure Jessi or myself can write an editorial in response to anybody who replies to you.

    Also, I think the three of our organizations should co-sponsor some event due to this.

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  13. This is not a new problem, and it really needs to be addressed by Purdue. I think there are more people out there on your side than there are spineless idiots who can only tear down posters and make dumb unfunny jokes.

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  14. See, Jen, lots of support. Just make sure that if you do write a letter, you post it here as well!

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  15. I would also suggest writing a letter to the school newspaper. Be vocal, make a stand and all that other rhetoric that applies here.

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  16. I call my gay atheist friends gaytheists... The fundies worst nightmare :)

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  17. Yeah, that's pretty crappy.

    But I can't be the only one sidetracked by the thought of an AWESOME Gay Latino/a Atheist Mixer.

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