Schlafly is an arch foe of the Equal Rights Amendment, the United Nations, Darwinism and virtually any other ideas or institutions that have emerged since the Dark Ages. She has advocated banning women from traditionally male occupations like construction, firefighting and the military; and defended men's property rights over their wives' vaginas ("by getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape").
Many of those who are asking the university to reverse their plan say their protest is not about free speech. They are simply protesting the university's honoring of her and her despicable ideas, not her right to speak them.
Many of Schlafly's views go against "some of the most fundamental principles for which the university stands" such as tolerance for people of all different backgrounds, Sally Goldman, president of the university's Association of Women Faculty said.
Dan Tilden, a graduating senior and a leader of the protest told the schools student newspaper, "She is not representative of the community we want to build here. She has made statements that go against the basic tenets of the University. I couldn't sit in commencement as a senior and do something that is recognizing her not as a politician but as a person."
Michael Murphy, a lecturer in the Women and Gender studies department, said, "Don't think that the very possibility of a disruption to the University's most solemn event (commencement) would not sway the University."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Monday that Mary Ann Dzuback, the director of the women and gender studies department, would not take part in commencement exercises, along with several other members of the department.
A Facebook group, entitled "No honorary doctorate for anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly," has gained more than 1,000 members since being formed a week ago. In comparison, a group supporting Schlafly, entitled "In Support of Phyllis Schlafly's Honorary Degree from Wash U," has approximately 25 members.
Schlafly said of those opposing her receiving an honorary degree, “They are a bunch of bitter women. It was 25 years ago that we buried the Equal Rights Amendment and they are still whining about it.”
Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton sent an e-mail to the university community this afternoon in which he apologized for the anguish that the university's decision to honor Phyllis Schlafly has caused for many people. However, he said they were still going ahead with the plan.
"Personally, I do not endorse her views or opinions, and in many instances, I strongly disagree with them," Wrighton said.
Isn't that nice?
The Post Dispatch reports about 25 students and faculty members protested outside Chancellor Wrighton's residence on Tuesday afternoon (see picture) , chanting and holding signs that said, "This school teaches evolution" and "Marital rape is still rape" in response to some of Schlafly's controversial statements on those subjects.
One of the protestors David Lawton, chairman of Washington U.'s English department, said he was particularly offended by one of Schlafly's columns in which she wrote that she was not surprised to learn that Cho Seung-Hui, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, was an English major since she had heard that English departments are hotbeds of radicalism.
The protesters plan to return outside the chancellor's house today.
In a letter to Wrighton, 14 Washington U. law professors said they were "extremely disappointed" in the university's decision to honor Schlafly. They wrote that she has berated scientific inquiry, shown bigotry toward gays and lesbians, and led campaigns to "undermine the independence of the judiciary."
"Our objection to honoring Ms. Schlafly ... stems from the fact that she has devoted her career to demagoguery and anti-intellectualism in the pursuit of her political agenda," the letter says.
The letter adds, "An even more important reason to rescind the degree offer to Ms. Schlafly is that her repeatedly expressed views are antithetical to some of the most fundamental principles for which this University stands."
Below are a few gems from the mouth of the women the university plans to honor.
“It’s very healthy for a young girl to be deterred from promiscuity by fear of contracting a painful, incurable disease, or cervical cancer, or sterility, or the likelihood of giving birth to a dead, blind, or brain-damaged baby (even 10 years later when she may be happily married)”
“Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children.”
“Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be.”
“Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”
“Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women.”
“[The] ERA mean[t] abortion funding, mean[t] homosexual privileges, mean[t] whatever else”
“When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the intolerant, uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men?”
You can let Chancellor Wrighton know what you think by emailing him at Wrighton@wustl.edu.
The following is from the St. Louis Examiner.
Protesters demand honorary degree for Schlafly be rescinded
Protesting students and faculty are demanding that Washington University rescind the honorary degree it plans to give conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly on Friday.
They gathered Wednesday outside Chancellor Mark Wrighton's residence and his office, chanting and holding signs.
They say they're not protesting Schlafly's views, but the university's honoring those views.
The university has said the honorary degree is a recognition that the 83-year-old's life and work have had an impact on American life.
Schlafly, who holds two degrees from Washington University, does not plan to speak at Friday's commencement ceremony.
She called the protesters "a bunch of losers."