Dear Dr. Cartwright,
I am writing to express my dismay at the response of the university and the police to the actions of David Airhart– a peaceful protester, Iraq veteran, and one of our own students. I find it particularly ironic that this student who is seeking to voice his passionate beliefs based on his own experience and ideologies, and who has been figuratively and LITERALLY yanked into a place of silence– had this happen to him on the same day that I had submitted a paper titled “The Democracy of Disobedience: In Celebration of the Spirited Child” to an international conference on curriculum. So, perhaps while I am in Finland in May presenting my paper describing “humanizing possibilities that may lie in conflict and moral decisions, even in forms of disobedience and resistance to authority”, I can also share the details of how our university punishes students thoughtful enough and brave enough to confront injustice and lies.
I find it unconscionable that this university condones the current reprehensible recruiting practices of the military by permitting them on our campus. But even more profoundly, I am mortified as a faculty member that this university allows these recruiters to physically accost one of OUR students — merely because the recruiters do not like his message or how he expresses it. I have passed these recruiters over the past few years as they call students over to their “climbing wall” and imagine one or a dozen of these naive young people being enticed into “joining up” and then, perhaps becoming the face in a photo I might see under # 3000 as the next “sad milestone” (to quote FoxNews) of American deaths attributed to this illegal war. These recruiters have staged this same temporary climbing wall in Roosevelt’s high school gym– which makes me wonder if it’s been in
Stanton Middle School, too– or perhaps Holden or Davey Elementary.
I cannot see these recruiters as anything other than OUTSIDE AGITATORS– and do not understand why we encourage their presence and why our students who object to their infiltration on campus are vilified.
If students choose to pursue enlistment– there are recruiting offices that they may go to. I looked– they are listed in the telephone book. Logically, there is no reason for the recruiter’s presence on our campus.
Given their status as an outside agency which chooses to impose their presence and propaganda on a large percentage of student and faculty population who strongly object to their presence and who deeply resent their tactics, I am deeply offended and embarrassed by the university’s reaction to a STUDENT’s peaceful protest.
I am registering my strongest objections to further persecution of David Airhart, and wish to send my personal message of support to this courageous and committed young man.
Sheri Leafgren, TLCS, Kent State University
“I don’t want to be shot with rubber bullets or anything,” she said. “But I want to change the world before it changes me.” ~ Lana Parker, St. Petersburg High student & peace activist