The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, January 01, 2004

The affirmative action bake sale seems to have leverage...

As a general rule, the point of a demo is to make the other guy look like a boorish, clodhopping bully, whilst appearing the model of sweet reason and modesty oneself.

Erin O'Connor, a very good place to start for those interested in knowing more, has a piece (December 30) on a sale at William and Mary College (last namechecked on December 21 as the stamping-ground of slavery apologist Professor Thomas Roderick Dew - how times change!).

William and Mary is a public university, and therefore subject to the strictures of the First Amendment - its founding well pre-dates the coming into force of the Amendment: a page on the site shows the first President (Reverend James Blair) in a full-bottomed wig, and says he was born in 1693!

The present incumbent, Timothy J Sullivan (no bio that I could see), evidently has no truck with such new-fangled contraptions. His goons were dispatched to break up a bake sale held last year on site. And those who wrote to query his policy were left in no doubt where he stood (O'Connor is quoting here a Foundation for Individual Rights in Education open letter to the trustees of William and Mary):
FIRE has received what we fear are representative examples of his intemperate responses to individuals who wrote to express their displeasure with W&M's censorship. On Saturday, December 13, Curtis Crawford, a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, wrote President Sullivan an e-mail that, while polite, was critical of W&M's actions (you will find this e-mail exchange attached). President Sullivan responded:
Dear Mr. Crawford, Some fool has sent me an e-mail and signed your name to it. You should do what you can to discover the identity of the person. He or she is doing real harm to your reputation. I will help you if I can. Tim Sullivan
According to Mr. Crawford, he wrote back to President Sullivan asking if he stood by this comment, to which Sullivan responded, "You can quote me." Two days later, Sullivan sent a very similar e-mail to another person who had expressed criticism of W&M's handling of the protest; this time he asserted that, "Some damned fool is sending e-mail messages and signing your name. I will try to help you if I can."

I think
boorish, clodhopping bully
just about covers it...

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