Saturday, February 18, 2006

Marine veterans appalled by University of Washington attempt to spin Boyington controversy

Below is the Marine veterans' answer the University of Washington administration's weasel-like response to the Boyington open letter.


A group of Marine Corps veterans remain dismayed by the University of Washington's response to the national outrage surrounding a decision by the university's student government to quash a proposal that would have honored university alumnus and Medal of Honor recipient Gregory "Pappy" Boyington with a small memorial.

Angered by reports that the student government's action was animated by the view that Boyington was a "white male" who killed other people and thus was not a role model worthy of emulation, a group of one-hundred-fourteen Marine Corps veterans wrote an open letter to the university community defending Boyington and calling on the university community to reconsider its decision. Yet instead of a thoughtful response to an upsetting controversy, the veterans received a form letter reply that denied that any of the outrageous statements reported in the media took place.

According to Nicholas Provenzo, author of the open letter and a Marine veteran, the university is attempting to spin the controversy away rather than take ownership of the appalling statements made against the memory a great American hero.

"This controversy didn't miracle itself into existence," says Provenzo. "What did happen was members of the public examined the posted minutes of the student senate meeting where the monument proposal was voted down. When they read the offensive and incendiary statements made by some of the students, that was enough to ignite the firestorm."

"It's the students own record of their meeting that sparked this national outrage," says Provenzo. "Yet the university nevertheless has the gall to accuse the public of misconstruing the very words the students used to describe their own debate."

"This issue is about more than just a monument to one man," says David Williams, another veteran signatory of the open-letter. "It is about recognizing that the actions by certain people in history were essential toward protecting the freedoms that are the basis of our nation and civilization."

"The irony of this debate is that the students are now spiting on the memory of a man whose very deeds allow them to speak their minds without fear of repercussion from police, church, or government," says Williams.

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