A bulletin comparing military veterans with white supremacists made its rounds around a University of Colorado campus in Colorado Springs, a university situated in a town that is known for both the US Air Force Academy and the US Army’s Fort Carson.
The newsletter, titled “Should Veterans Be Banned From UCCS and Other Universities,” was written, delivered and posted to the bulletin under the presumed pseudonym of Terry Steinawitz (no student or local resident appears to go by that name), read as follows:
“A four-year, traditional university is supposed to be a place of learning, of understanding, of safety and security. However, there is an element among us who may be frustrating those goals: Veterans.
UCCS is known for its number of veterans who are full and part-time students. But these veterans of much of the school prides themselves on may be hurting the university.
First off, many veterans openly mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society. This is directly in contradiction to the mission of UCCS. Many veterans utter the mantra that they, “do not see color”. But the problem lies in their socialization into the military culture that is that of a white supremacist organization. They have been permanently tainted, and are no long fit for a four-year university.
Second, many students are frightened by the presence of veterans in their classrooms. Veterans usually have an overwhelming presence in the classroom, which can distract other students. This is usually true for vulnerable individual such as LGBTQQ12SAA, who have been known to be the butt of insensitive jokes made by veterans.
Finally, veterans usually are associated with extremists right-wing groups such as the tea party and the NRA. In order to provide a safe place for all students, extremist right-wing groups must be suppressed on campus. This would include their followers: veterans.
That is not to say that veterans should not be allowed an education. Veterans should be allowed to attend trade schools, or maybe even community college. But, in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.”
The newsletter fell under its parent title of the Social Justice Collective Weekly and the UCCS administration has quickly noted that the written work has nothing to do with the school and does not represent their views as an institution. However, it was approved by the university -as anything can be placed on the bulletin board- and posted for all to see.
The posting comes not long after the Huffington Post published an article by David Fagin, titled “Becoming A Racist: The Unfortunate Side Effect Of Serving Your Country?” In this article, Fagin accuses veterans of being racist and lambasts the militia groups -which were allegedly staffed with several veterans- who stood in between extremist protesters and extremist counter-protesters at the now infamous incident that left one dead in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“There is only one side to this fence,” Fagin wrote. “To think we’re not only welcoming home members of the armed forces whose opinions and beliefs have been shattered and damaged due to their perilous environment, but who find solace in a President willing to condone those twisted beliefs, rather than make it his mission to do everything he can to help them, makes one worry about where the next Charlottesville will be, and who, exactly, we’ll be fighting.”
Meanwhile, back at the University of Colorado Campus, not everyone is buying what the Social Justice Collective Weekly -whoever they are- is selling.
“They [the authors of the letter] try and talk about inclusion as a principle,” UCCS student Joe Hollmann told KKTV. “Yet they’re excluding one of the most important members of society, those that are guarding our freedom to even talk about this.”
At the end of the day, the extreme polarization of modern politics -combined with the “echo chamber” effect of social media has given a loud voice to once-marginalized and otherwise ignored extremists such as the Antifa and the KKK, who attract so-called “Social Justice Warriors” and white supremacists, respectively.
While the author this bulletin is well within his or her constitutional rights where free speech is concerned, it is incredibly hypocritical of them to suggest suppressing the rights of those who swore an oath to defend the very Constitution that gives them the right to call for the suppression -and outright persecution- of the veterans who protected their right to free speech in the first place.
We as veterans should do our best to remember our oaths and avoid being caught up in a war between two sides who -at the end of the day- have rather authoritarian and unconstitutional demands.
After all, our sacred oath never really ends.
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