Weapons-Grade Bigotry from My Alma Mater April 5, 2012

Weapons-Grade Bigotry from My Alma Mater

When I attended Purdue University, I did my best to avoid The Exponent, the student newspaper. The reporting seemed (more than) a little lacking, the articles were frequently riddled with spelling and grammar errors, and I always tended to be more interested in U.S. politics and world affairs than the latest updates on the ice cream socials hosted by the student organizations. If I did read it, I would immediately flip through to the Letters-to-the-Editor section, which seemed to always attract the, erm, more colorful sections of the student body.

Jen McCreight over at Blag Hag understands. Here’s the latest gem:

Resident provides suggestion for LGBT youth

Dear Editor,

Many of us are getting a bit tired of hearing about the demands of Purdue’s so-called gay and lesbian community. I suspect that many of those most vocal are probably out-of-state students. I have to ask why did they apply to Purdue in the first place, if all they are going to do is complain about it? These petulant children have ‘gay friendly’ schools in their home states, and the Hoosier troublemakers (if any) should have applied to Bloomington. As a Christian, I hate the sin, but love the sinner. I see no reason to destroy these people, but they should not be working to destroy our Boilermaker values either. So the best solution for all concerned is for Purdue to set up some kind of Director of Gay and Lesbian Issues on campus, someone well versed in transferring academic credits and the application process, so these young people can be directed to better pursue their values and ‘interests’ unhindered in more accepting institutions, and traditional Boilermakers who love Purdue and are happy with it as it is can better pursue our own values and interests as well.

Boiler Up!

Harlan VanderMeer, West Lafayette resident

It’s very possible that the writer is a Poe, and I know that editors frequently choose the most inflammatory or controversial letters for publishing, but I also realize that there will be a decent chunk of the readership that agrees with him. While the university exists in a more liberal bubble, the surrounding community is predominantly conservative Christian. Around campus, it’s very, very common to see Christian preachers proselytizing in the common areas during warmer months — sometimes even the students themselves take on the role of street preacher.

For those who might be in agreement with Mr. VanderMeer, I’d like to offer my own letter in response:

Mr. VanderMeer,

Unfortunately, since you have chosen to attend a public university, your opinion on what sort of person should attend is beside the point, and the fact that you would put your personal preferences regarding your college’s culture over the right of a specific minority to attend in the first place says much more about your version of “love” than the empty lip-service you pay when you appeal to your religion. Had you bothered to consult any of the “so-called” GBLT individuals your letter was directed to, you may be surprised to find that many come from the Hoosier state, and many are quite principled individuals, just like you and me. You mention “Boilermaker values” as if your values are represented by the rest of the student body, but Purdue’s Statement of Integrity contradicts the principles you espouse. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):

We champion freedom of expression. To ensure our integrity, we safeguard academic freedom, open inquiry, and debate in the best interests of education, enrichment, and our personal and professional development. We embrace human and intellectual diversity and inclusiveness. We uphold the highest standards of fairness, act as responsible citizens, respect equality and the rights of others, and treat all individuals with dignity.

You generously state in your letter that you don’t want to “destroy these people.” Is this all of the love and compassion, Christian or otherwise, that you can muster? Can you not see that your attitude, beyond failing to meet the ethical standards put forward by the university, is also abysmally lacking as a human being? At the very least, forego the hypocritical language of claiming to “love” the group of people that you would like to banish.

Mr. VanderMeer, it is solidly within your power to help solve some of the problems in the LGBTQ community that annoy you so much to hear about. A good first step would be to shed some of that bigotry that you’re wearing (not a good look for anybody). Following that, a good second step would be to introduce yourself to the community with an open mind, as you may find that they are less likely to “whine” about allies instead of enemies.


A Fellow Boilermaker

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Fargofan1

    “I love you sinners. Now go away.”

  • “I see no reason to destroy these people”

    Well, isn’t that nice? LGBT people on said campus should be happy that at least they are not going to be destroyed by this gentleman.

    Christian love at work.

  • Tainda

    Why not just put them all in a train and ship them off somewhere.  Hell, just throw anyone who is different than we are in there.  We can mark them so we know which ones are the “undesirables” so we won’t accidentally talk or associate with any of them…….


    People like that scare me 🙁  I can understand a person’s wanting to believe in a higher being more than I can people that judge other people based on color or sexual orientation or whatever. (and that’s saying a lot)  I just can’t wrap my mind to their thinking and I guess for that I should be glad.

  • Brandon

    People like this, and attitudes like this, are whats wrong with the country today.  What happened to “LIBERTY and justice for ALL?”  i said the pledge of allegiance every day as a kid…personally, i thought it meant something.  

  •  “I love you so damned much, I just can’t look at you.  You’re going to have to leave.  BEGONE!”

  • Allen Bouchard

    People like this are the sort that slowly roll along to “one country”, put an extra emphasis on “under god”, and then blow through the rest in 2 seconds.

  •  Segregation is a sign of love. The blacks understood that.

  • Between Mr. “Save White People” who moved to Indiana because Virginia  wasn’t racist enough to ol’ Harlan here (who’s not a student, he’s a local mouthbreather who belongs to the sports Booster Club) at my workplace,  I don’t know how much more embarrassed to be here I can be.

    BTW, we call “The Exponent” “The Excrement”. The quality of  “journalism” deserves that name, especially since they dropped the Friday “Sex Position of The Week”.

    We have another campus paper, called “The Purdue Review”, which I refer to as “The Libertaretard Gazette”. They publish it as a counter to the “Liberal” “Excrement” (what a laff!)

    We need another “Boobquake” to shake up the local tight-asses.

  • Ndonnan

    I bet this is the last time he bothers to stand up for someone else,he had the guts to stepout of his comfort zone only to be riddiculed,well done.Everyone should try and do what he did, it would help challenge our own mindset and understand others

  • Kkbundy

    Let me just say that as a real Boilermaker (that’d be the actual craftsperson who build boilers, Union boilermaker local 647.  Sorry Hemant, I just can’t consider you a real boilermaker) that I am appalled at the bigotry of this man.  So the only solution for his Christian mind is to transfer everyone he doesn’t like away from him?  What a fuktard.  

    We union construction people  try to be a bit more enlightened.  And they call us barbarians.

  • Collin

    No, far from stepping out of his comfort zone, he only succeeded in revealing how how small that zone of comfort  of his  really is.  As for challenging our own mindset, I’m doubtful anyone except those of the same bigoted nature would consider this a “challenge” at all.  The appropriate response to these kinds of comments is ridicule.  Please keep posting,  as it is reactions like yours that let us know how far we have actually come towards a more just society for everyone. 

  • This author is being more than reasonable! He isn’t saying gays can’t go to college at all! He’s allowing them to go to a separate institution of equal quality. It’s really best for both gays and straights this way, even if the gays can’t appreciate it. This philosophy should also be applied to primary and secondary schools, and I’d go so far as to say waiting rooms, movie theaters, and drinking fountains (the gays have different diseases remember).


  • Nazani14

     Thanks for confirming that he is not a student.  Why bother to print his letter?  There are lots of colleges in areas where the townies are knuckle-draggers.   There’s not much point in “shaking them up.”   That just leads to police harassment.

  • Nazani14

     Thanks for confirming that he is not a student.  Why bother to print his letter?  There are lots of colleges in areas where the townies are knuckle-draggers.   There’s not much point in “shaking them up.”   That just leads to police harassment.

  •  They print letters from anybody, students, faculty, support staff, “townies”, alumnus… At lest they’re equal opportunity.

  • Lisa Blair

    My experience with Purdue is limited to a single visit – I got tickets through a relative to attend a talk by the Dalai Lama (hilarious speaker, btw). It was one of the best events I’ve attended. 

    Immediately afterward, I had dinner with one of the people who happened to work for the college. I mentioned having come to see the Dalai Lama and the first question I got was “Is he Christian?” o.O 

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