The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs finds itself in the middle of a scandal after a newsletter went out seeking to ban US military veterans from attending four-year colleges and compares the military to white supremacist groups, according to Independent Review Journal.
Paul J. O’Leary, a veteran of both the army and law enforcement, issued a brutal response. “This I do know–the veterans you fear and wish to keep from getting the benefits of an education come from many diverse backgrounds. Many of them could not afford college on their own and paid their way through hard work, sweat, and oftentimes blood.”
The so-called “Social Justice Collective Weekly” newsletter attacks veterans as a source of disruption of higher learning. “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,” the newsletter reads.
It goes on to criticize veterans who supposedly “mock the ideas of diversity and safe spaces for vulnerable members of society” and make jokes at the expense of “LGBTQQI2SAA” members.
Sickeningly, the newsletter goes so far as to claim that military culture is comparable to that of white supremacism, saying, “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 longer fit for a four-year university.”
It closes by stating that as an alternative, veterans should be permitted to attend trade schools, “But, in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.”
School Chancellor Venkat Reddy claims the university “vigorously rejects the offensive viewpoints expressed in the flyer” and stated that veterans are “positive and valued members of our academic and campus community.”
This statement seems rather weak considering the newsletter required university approval before it could be released, and the school has no intention of removing it, saying the university “rejects the notion that we should censor those who denigrate others, as censorship would have silenced many voices over the decades who needed to be heard.”
O’Leary responded with a well-written post aptly titled, “An Open Letter to a UCCS Student,” which severely rebukes the writers for their elitism in relation to both veterans and students of trade schools and their grossly false assumptions when comparing the military to white supremacists.
O’Leary chastises the writers for demeaning veterans and students of trade schools: “Or is the problem that you just feel you and your university student colleagues are simply better than they are? Do you look down from the lofty reaches of your superior school and gaze upon the chattel of humanity with the smugness of uncaring indifference? If so, I suggest you take a long, hard look at yourself and who you want to be…”
He points out that 17 to 20 percent of the alleged “white supremacist” military is made of up black service members, a larger ratio than the 14 percent of the entire US population. O’Leary also points to the number of minorities serving in leadership roles throughout the military in nearly every field.
He closes with a pointed reality: “In the parlance of the 21st Century college student, I would ask you to please check your privilege.”
It’s deeply upsetting that some in our society would be so demeaning to the men and women who protect our country and that they are given free reign to make these ridiculous statements. More upsetting is that the university considers the false statements and bullying as voices that need “to be heard.”
We respect those brave men and women who fight for our freedoms and wish them the best of luck with their educational pursuits–pursuits which are guaranteed by the GI Bill.