PHOTO: Oregon State University student newspaper's front page headline story by Tori Hittner, "Candidate admits to posting anti-gay slurs," Oregon State University Barometer, Apr. 14, 2014, p. 1, 4. "Those particular kinds of comments go beyond any sort of debate with a call to violence," said Qwo-Li Driskill, assistant professor of queer studies. "It calls each of us to ask what kind of conditions exist that these things are allowed." Also see story by Tori Hittner, "A brief, unofficial voter's guide to who's who in the ASOSU presidential election," OSU Barometer, Apr. 14, 2014, p. 1, 2 and opinion page pieces by Cassie Ruud, "Hate speech from ASOSU candidate should not be tolerated," OSU Barometer, posted Apr. 14, 2014. Kaitlyn Kohlenberg, "Some dissatisfied with lack of administrative action toward hate speech," OSU Barometer, Apr. 17, 2014, p. 1, 4, Editorial Board, "ASOSU scandal proves social media's impact," Apr. 14, 2014, p. 7, and Editorial Board, "Drama igniting ASOSU's election," OSU Barometer, Apr. 17, 2014, p. 7
PHOTO: on a typical rainy Oregon day, Conservative radio host Lars Larson broadcasting his show in the Oregon State University Memorial Union Quad on Apr. 16, 2014 shortly after the show started the Noon to 3 PM Northwest edition. Larson, a University of Oregon Journalism graduate and former mainstream Portland broadcast TV journalist started his right-wing talk radio show a few years ago. Lars also broadcast from the MU quad his 3 PM to 6 PM a national version of his show. Although many students were observed walking through the Memorial Union mall between classes, only a few stopped by to talk with Lars. The biggest crowd he gathered at the beginning when it appeared the OSU Republican club members greeted him, but they all quickly left, probably off to class. During the first three hours, he managed to wrangle-up one person he called "a Marxist liberal OSU Professor" to argue with him about climate change research and also a Corvallis, Oregon small businessman, who operates the Pedi-cab bicycle cab service, who called Lars names, at least according to Lars. (See "OSU student GOP hosts Second Amendment Week," gazettetimes.com posted Apr. 11, 2014 -- Local and national radio commentator Lars Larson again is scheduled to broadcast his show live from the quad between noon and 6 p.m. Wednesday -- "OSU Republicans Second Amendment Week 2014 osugop.com/2aw/ accessed Apr. 15, 2014 and Radio station "Affilliates" of the Lars Larson Northwest show noon-3PM PT, larslarson.com Updated Nov. 2013, accessed Apr. 16, 2014 -- listen to "The Lars Larson Show," Live Audio Stream from KXL 101FM Portland, Oregon, April l6, 2014 Noon to 6 PM Pacific Time)
I was surprised that Lars Larson never seized on this OSU issue during his show, but I hope it is because he is professional enough to know the dangers of doing a 2nd Amendment gun show to help OSU Republicans while also talking about a student who made violent threats against gays (in jest according to the student). Nonetheless, I wrote the following letter, in advance, and I still think it probably represents Lars opinion he would have. I wrote this in an attempt to reach conservative students at OSU who believe in living an ethical and moral lifestyle, instead of bashing gays:
Conservative radio host Lars Larson will likely see the flap over the Associated Students of Oregon State University presidential candidate Bret Barlow's anti-gay posts as being another example of "politically correct" university liberals restricting the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech during his coincidentally scheduled radio show from the MU quad featuring the Second Amendment right to bear arms in support of Oregon State University Republicans.
I agree with Lars that the First Amendment right to free speech is important because the gay and former OSU Professor W. Dorr Legg (1904-1994) famously won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding his First Amendment right to publish a scholarly journal discussing changing the laws against homosexuality, including Oregon's law, which was not repealed until 1971.
I am sympathetic to OSU student Bret Barlow's situation, because I have also been publically humiliated for impolitic comments, and I have also feared being blackmailed -- as he did.
Hopefully, the ASOSU election flap will teach everyone the lessons I learned only with maturity -- first, confess, as Bret did, and second, don't play the "victim role," as Bret unfortunately did, because you are not a victim like the people you terrorized -- "real men" never feel the need to be impolite or act immature on purpose.
To see a photo of Prof. Legg and read about the importance of free speech in the formation of the first gay student group at OSU, see my history that is now permanently stored online by the OSU Scholars Archives in the Valley library.
Thomas Kraemer, Founder of the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund
See previous posts:
- OSU conservative student newspaper wins freedom of speech case (4/6/14)
- Oregon free speech laws (12/21/07)
- Gay free speech victory 50th anniversary (1/18/08) - on January 13, 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its first ever pro-gay free speech ruling in ONE Inc. v. Olesen, a landmark decision that allowed a magazine for gays and lesbians to be sent through the U.S. mail
- OSU gay student group history (5/3/06) History of gay student groups at Oregon State University