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Friday, February 5, 2010

Diploma See

An exciting and provocative debate has emerged among students about the wording on the Trinity diploma. The date is preceded by the wording "The Year of Our Lord..." Non-believers and non-Christians would like that wording removed. The student government and Trinity Diversity Connection co-sponsored a forum to discuss this issue last week.

There is no easy answer. The issue does offer a choice, however. In the academic setting, the process is more important than the outcome and our University has handled this issue with great diplomacy, if you will. The forum, moderated by Dr. Jarrod Atchison, debate coach, featured three-minute presentations from various faculty members representing a variety of disciplines: Religion, Philosophy, Communication, History, and Political Science. Students then posed questions and an open exchange of ideas followed. It was an outstanding event. The faculty never took a stand, but merely illuminated the issue. (Their views could obviously be inferred...)

Those wishing to see the language retain cited the historic and cultural ties to the Presbyterian church. one student noted that the Trinity seal, featuring a Bible etching, is on the diploma as well. Should this also be removed? Others cite the inherent nature of the modern calendar as rooted in Christianity. Probably the most common argument is that this would begin a shift toward political correctness and an erosion of what we are. What goes next - prayers at commencement? Vespers? The Rev?

On the other side, students participants discussed the internationalization of the campus and its marketing efforts at promoting a diverse and welcoming campus environment. Then, say some, students come here to only learn that the diploma has overtly and unnecessary Christian lingo on a document that is very personal.

There is no middle ground. The wording stays or goes. Logistically it would be a nightmare to allow for customized diplomas (Choose A or B). It would be a mistake to compromise on this issue. The University needs to make a decision and live with it. Trinity should take a stand. Watering this down to appease both sides is like a tie in an athletic contest.

ASR will be voting on this issue next week. That resolution will then be forwarded to the Commencement Committee, which is reviewing the issue in full just days later. That meeting will feature invited student speakers for and against the change. Presumably the committee will then consider all of this input and make a recommendation to the President and Trustees. This has been an extremely civil and thorough process - again, we should be proud.

It has appeared to me that the students pushing for a change have more at stake than those who wish to retain the current language. It would mean more to the students who object to the wording to have the language removed than it would mean to the students who want it to stay the same. For the former it is personal and about acceptance and inclusion. For the others it is primarily philosophical. Most wouldn't feel that the change would lessen the diploma. Most didn't know the language was even there in the first place. In a year, no one would miss the current phrasing. Shouldn't we respect the wishes of those who feel hurt by this? Removing the language, ironically, would seem the Christian thing to do.

What do you think? Weigh in on the poll at right.

31 comments:

Martin Schwed said...

Check out a Trinitonian writer's opinions on the matter: Kristina Meyer's Article

and also an editorial

Marisa Shipley said...

Thank you for talking about the issue and recognizing that even if people dont feel that the wording should be taken off we should at least make the effort to understand why certain students are pushin for it.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crap.

As a former International student and Trinity graduate, who is also a non-Christian (non-any Judeo-Christian religion) I have absolutely no problem letting things remain the way they are.

Unfortunately, the many Internationals and First-gen Americans who seem to be at the forefront of this "debate" evidently do not feel the same way. The outcry here seems to be mainly by a certain small group of students who seem to think that the cultural past of the University must be erased simply to massage their OWN overblown "cultural sensitivity."

What kinda BS is that?

When you're a guest in another country or culture, you should learn to abide by the rules, regulations, and customs of that culture. It's also strange that people who are from the very cultures that do not tolerate dissent are now presenting their contrarian "opinions" as the ONLY solution without any actual thought about what it would lead to, beyond what they see through their myopic and rose tinted lenses. I suggest they go to France and see how they handle things. For they have forgotten that nobody is keeping them at Trinity (or Texas, or the USA, as the case may be) by force.

Trinity has been good to me, in terms of what I attended there to achieve. But on a much smaller scale, it has also helped me comprehend the very essence of master - slave morality. While this may not have been the case when I joined, by the time I graduated I felt as though I was surrounded and suffocated by Muslim and Christian zealots, materialists who hopped on whatever wagon was passing by without a original idea in their head, and pure morons.

This debate seems to me to have gathered together a good mix of all three of these groups. Let's call them "Trinibones."

What comes next for the Trinibones? Separate professors and classes? A separate dining area for Trinibones? Separate chairs for those who don't eat (enter your choice of food). A new library just for Trinibones? Entire residence halls for Trinibones??? Oh, wait a minute...they're already going to convert the Tiger's Den into a multicultural prayer space with alcohol for communion, aren't they?

And what happens when they remove the "year of (y)our Lord" from the diploma? Why not remove the damn year also, since it's still the Year of (y)our Lord, isn't it?? We could use the Mayan calendar instead...

All in all, I would imagine that the idea being pimped by this small group of noisemakers is that Trinity needs to adapt to and adopt a sort of "cultural relativism." Stepping up to the edge of a cliff, as this debate has led to us doing, gives you a good perspective of the terrain below. Taking one step too far, as cultural relativism does, is simply a disaster.

The administration needs to strap on a pair and take a firm stand on the matter. If Trinity wants to admit students from different backgrounds, then they better have a plan to deal with the demands for special privileges that come their way. They also have the option of showing them the door. There's only about 3500 other universities out there to choose from.

Sneha said...

@ Dean Tuttle and Marisa: Thank You very much for your opinions and views on this matter, It is much appreciated.
@Mr/Ms. Anonymous: Firstly, I would like to point out that, this issue is not only supported by "Internationals and First Gen Americans" as you explicitly accuse, but also has various Americans in support of this, so I think it is very insensitive and prejudiced of you to discriminate against these groups. Let me also point out that First Gen Americans have equal rights in this country, as much as you do and you are not superior to them to ask the management to 'show them the door'. If you can't respect others' opinions, please stop imposing yours' in such a rude manner, doesn't seem like you have learned much from Trinity's education.

All one is asking for here, is to change the wording to a more common platform, that applies to everyone, not to the 'Mayan calender' as you muse.

Also let me justify that there are 'American' Atheists and Agnostics who support the removal of the wording as well.
Removal of "the year of the lord" is not going to erase the University's culture past, if anything it's going to promote the school's nature of diversity.
I don't think it's any of us who need to travel to France, but it's you who needs to get out there and learn more about globalization and racial equality.

Digital Subway said...

The decision that the University takes ultimately on this debate will clear one thing for sure and that is-whether it wants to move forward towards openness and progress or, it wants to keep bogged down with conservative beliefs.

@Dean Tuttle, It may not be right of you to assume that every Christian wants this to remain as it is while non-Christians want it changed/removed. And similar reasoning goes to the international anonymous commenter. International students subscribe to different religious faiths, and some of them are devout Christians who may not want what you think every international student wants.

Universities in the past have had strong ties to one or other forms of Christian religion. Courses on Christianity were mandatory for everyone. Even at Trinity, every student had to take such courses just until 30-40 years ago (or maybe even more recent that). But as time demands it, we have to move forward, towards progress and truth. And, universities and colleges across the US have been pioneers in this field; they have led the Crusade of Truth and Knowledge.

After students have raised this issue, rejecting to listen to their arguments and hence, sticking with the same statement on Diploma will be a step backward. It is important that a liberal college like Trinity in this liberal nation respect diversity, not only of other religions but also of non-believers.

As for comment of Anonymous International commenter, he makes it seem as if international students come here to suffer, by saying they should endure what's laid out in their way. Trinity has been accepting and respectful of diversity, and I am hopeful that its commitment will not falter in this issue either.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sneha: Since I imagine you still have a few years at Trinity left, I hope you will take a class that teaches you how to properly read an argument, and how not to respond with reactionary impulses that make you look even more stubborn and/or stupid than I have insinuated.

At no place have I suggested that this debate is "only supported by Internationals and First-gen Americans," I have simply said many of them are at the forefront of the "debate." Please point out where I have said otherwise?

And before you write an entire essay parroting on the rights of First-gen Americans, please re-read and understand that my comment on abiding by the rules are aimed at those who are GUESTS in the country. How on earth is a US citizen, whether first generation or otherwise, a GUEST? GUEST = International = You. Like I said, put up or shut up.

Dear digital subway: At absolutely no point in my comment have I made it seem as though International students here are suffering. You have taken my comment on suffering the company of zealots and morons as universal - unfortunately, since so many people screaming their heads off here belong to those groups I hardly see how exactly that constitutes everyone "suffering." I'm not going to dwell on the rest of your post as it is of no relevance to the issue at hand.

What's most amusing to me is that nobody has yet mentioned the route taken by other schools on their diploma. All I hear is the cry of "bigoted" or "Christian" or "intolerant" when it comes to the argument at hand. What disturbs me most is that nowhere in their arguments do people like Sneha, Subway, or any of the other fine folks drawing attention to themselves compare the diploma with those of other universities. If you want support for your case, then have some of the professors look at their own diplomas and see how nicely they have avoided the issue at hand here. Here's one from MIT:

http://www.hep.lancs.ac.uk/~rakitin/pics/2006.ny.diploma/100_0514.JPG

ASU: http://online-education-degrees.front.lv/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/arizona-state-university-diploma-sample.jpg

UMichigan: http://chrismetcalf.net/uploads/diploma.jpg

What disturbs me most of the inability of our above busy bodies to simply understand somebody's take on an issue, instead believing everybody is against them and they alone have the right answer, putting words where none were given, and tossing in mindless red herrings.

Sneha, since you seem unable to comprehend simple English, let me make it clear to you: I have no problem if the University decides not to change the diploma (not that I care, I already got my diploma, and like the thousands before me didn't care how it was worded). I also have no problem if those asking for a change set about it in a SENSIBLE manner, such as comparing the diploma to other (frankly better) schools.

How did you get in to Trinity, anyway?

David Tuttle said...

Anonymous and others: I think being able to express opinions in a generaly unfiltered way is really important, so I appreciate all of the honesty. It would be my preference tat the posts remain civil. I know Digital Subway and Sneha and they deserve respect. Anonymous, your comments are a bit inflammatory, so please cut it out.

Anonymous said...

DTuttle, Sneha, and Subway: I understand my comments can be taken the wrong way, and may seem like I have some personal grudge. As I don't even know any of you, I intended no malice. It was simply how I felt about the matter and the responses received. I apologize for being out of line. DT, you are welcome to edit or delete the comments. I can post another without reference to any individual.

David Tuttle said...

Thanks - and keep reading me!

The Kemps said...

I love reading Dave's blog and have enjoyed thinking over the comments to this post; it makes it easier to see how passionate people are on both sides. Personally, I still stand on the fence.

Critiqu said...

Anonymous, your argument is clear and concise. I no way do I ever see you deter from your original statement and all evidence you provide is accurate as well as moving. I am a student with no affiliation to religion what-so-ever, in fact I almost outright despise what it has done to people as well as governments (for the most part) and yet I have to quarrel with leaving the diploma's the way they are. Traditions are a foundation of a society, they are what hold the people in line above all else, including laws. Therefore, I think that it would be an all out shame to change such a noble and outstanding tradition. Sneha, your argument is completely one sided and in some ways offensive. My lasting thoughts to you are in regards to an analogy. Take a look at whichever country you came from. Probably south Asia, and let me ask you. Would anyone come to your country and demand a change, and then EXPECT the change to be made, merely because they have differing opinions than your own? The answer is no, the option would not even be there. Ask yourself, what are women allowed to wear in your country, are they given freedoms such as the right to vote? (that I do not know, I am simply proving my point) Would gays/ homosexuals be allowed to speak their views and not be, truthfully, murdered or at the very least extradited? You all think yourselves fundamentalists, seeking to revolutionize the U.S. and , in a way, praying on the U.S.s' vulnerability and susceptibility to change. My advice to you is this, learn to be more tolerable before irrationally lashing out in attempt to change a principal upon which this school, as well as nation was founded.

Thank you for your time.

willthornton said...

I agree with Anonymous (2nd poster) for the most part. The whole situation is caused by uppity college students looking to hop on any bandwagon of change they can. Our American culture has degenerated into one of "overblown cultural sensitivity." Political correctness is bullshit. Changing religious wording on a diploma is bullshit. The "nature of diversity" at this financial institution as well as on a national level is also bullshit. The only good reason a person has to want to go through the bullshit of getting a diploma is to make money. Make the money and be content, there is no benefit outweighing the costs of processing through all the bullshit entailed in attempting to change three or four words on a piece of paper.

As an atheist, I couldn't care less about this religious wording. It is not in my face trying to convert me or sending preachy, worshipful messages.

And now for the response which I have not seen yet for this issue but which I receive whenever I complain about anything: "As a student, you decided to attend this University. If you disagree with the diploma wording you may attend another institution with diploma wording more suited to your beliefs."

OMG is that offensive? But that is the same logic used when students complain about things like the mandatory meal plan and residency requirements, or the COMPLETE BULLSHIT 25% shelving fee in the bookstore. I am surprised you haven't just told these kids to shut up and deal with it, Dean of Students Tuttle, because that's essentially all the response I get when inquiring about issues more important than this one.

Anonymous, don't worry if people say you are being offensive or uncivil. Those types of people are the exact pussyfooters and PC-liberal-bleeding-hearts that bring up these inane issues in the first place. Deeming remarks "inflammatory" seems complimentary to me, especially if said remarks are well-structured, to the point, and reinforced with evidence (as yours are). Sometimes it takes questions like "How did you get into this school?" to get people to wake up and view another point reasonably.

And lastly, @Critiqu: You should read up on the religious beliefs of our founding fathers. Most were Deist, which is probably abhorrent to modern Christians. The statement "Our nation was founded on Christianity" is false yet used incessantly by ignorant conservatives, and is false.

David Tuttle said...

Will,
You are consistent. I think I could have posted that for you. People in the majority love to preserve the status quo. When others want to be heard or respected it is easy to try to discount them for being politically correct. It is a natural impulse to want to be treated with respect, to matter, and to be heard. I also think opinions can be contrary and expressed civilly. The two aren't mutually exlcusive.

Bojangles said...

Dear Anonymous 1 and Will Atheist, you make my LIFE!
This entire debate is absolutely ridiculous, and it will break my heart if the administration caves in to such irrational demands.
The agnostic ones et al pushing for it, I hope they do realize that even recognizing this issue as significant just compromises their stance on the insignificance of religion.
So, it all comes down to the Muslim few, or should I say ONE, who touts herself as a crusader for all things diversity-wise. As president of TMN, or TDC, or whatever bullcrap it’s called these days, how don’t you see that imposing your egotistical fickle wants and needs on others isn't exactly being culturally sensitive?
It's like if some dumbass vegan came to Trinity, and bawled their eyes out cos they can't find enough vegan options at Mabee, and then pushed for EVERY stand at mabee to offer Vegan food. Surely, we should be sensitive to her plight, but we don't ALL have to buy into the idea, whether we care or not. That would be to trample on my rights as a person, be me American or not.
The first time I was approached to sign a petition, one of my friends was so upset about the idea that people were even pushing for it, and I actually argued with her that there was some sense to it (to opting to change YOUR OWN diploma to say whatever the hell you wanted!)
I'm an international student, and the one thing about America that struck out to me, is this resounding idea of freedom and freedoms to any and everything. The society has cultured people into believing that they are entitled to asking for what they want, stupid or no. As such, it has degenerated into a huge mess. And so now, because 3 students are free to practice what religion they have, yeah, sure, you can also change your diploma to reflect so, heck it’s your god-given right!(huh?). There is such a thing as too much freedom, sometimes your freedom just gets in the way of others.
I really think that since it has come down to an all or nothing situation, a school-wide referendum should have been held because this mole-hill turned mountain now affects us all. Whether or not you care, seeing that we all live in the imposing oblivion that is the Trinity bubble, such an issue definitely affects the entire student body, because there stands a chance that some selfish little shit wants to change your diploma. Personally, I could care less about God or religion, but the thought of that just doesn’t sit well with me fundamentally.
Having 15 "democratically" appointed people of ASR decide what the people want, is most unfair, and illogical. In as much as they represent the people, in reality, they all voted based on their own personal religious inclinations or lack thereof. I'd bet a pretty penny no student thought this was an issue last February when they all voted. That "omg, someday we might actually have to call your religious fibre into question, not just your facebook group, or dashing good looks, or oh well, you ran unopposed so ya whatever!"
So, if the Trustees meet in May and decide to take off the words, are we all going to pretend that 2010 does not in any way, shape or form refer to Jesus Christ? Personally, I like the Mayan Calendar idea!

David Tuttle said...

Bo,
Thanks for reading and diving into the discussion. Look at history. Sometimes the majority isn't right and also has its on self-interest in play. There are just more on that side. Also, if the language "Year of Our Lord" wasn't currently in the diploma would anyone be pushing to include it? I really doubt it. best wishes.

boru said...

The words aren't "In the year of MY Lord" but "Our Lord"."Our" depicts the Founders of Trinity,NOT its current Grads or Faculty.
So if "OUR" is omitted or taken out,the Founders are being dis-respected.
The name "Trinity"(Father,Son,Holy Ghost) itself will have to be changed as well, based on attempted neutrality,thereby insulting Trinity's Founders two-fold.
Just my two cents..Thanks.

I do not attend Trinity but wish I had!

mark said...

It would not be a nightmare. It's desktop publishing. It's not The Ohio State University. It's Trinity. It's a few hundred graduates at most. Kinko's could print them overnight.

Critiqu said...

Not to deter from the topic at hand, but this was bugging me. Will, you are mislead. The founding fathers were present during the period of the enlightenment, and while looking for pure, unequivocal logic to answer all of their questions, they did in fact believe in the faith Christian faith. That aside, no where in my argument did I state that we were founded upon Christianity. You let your emotions get the best of you, and you lost your argument. I was also advocating your point, and you further hurt the argument by undermining what I said. So...thanks.

K. said...

I don't see the problem with Trinity taking a step back and reviewing the ways that all of its materials present religious language and symbols. It's 2010, not 1876.

The tradition argument is, frankly, nonsense. When I look back on my time at Trinity, I don't think about the Bible on the seal or the words "Our Lord" on my diploma. (I didn't even know they were there.) I doubt that anyone else does, either. Whatever happens with these items won't detract one bit from my memories of friends and teachers, classes and dorm life.

Finally, I must say that I'm disappointed in the tone of some of these comments, and can't help but notice that a few of them hide behind anonymity. During my four years at Trinity, I engaged in many debates with fellow students, some of whom I liked and some of whom I disliked. Either way, the sneering tone of these comments never found its way into our discussions.

If Trinity is going to err, err on the side of religious respect and diversity. This won't alter Trinity's integrity; it will strengthen it. Times have changed. It shouldn't be difficult for a university, its students, or its alumni to recognize that and adjust accordingly.

Paul Goode
Trinity '77

JeffN said...

According to the news article, a non-Christian student who first noticed the phrase, "In the Year of Our Lord," on a diploma frame in the bookstore said, "I felt I was the victim of a bait and switch," because the University staff had told him during the application process that Trinity was not a religious institution. I realize people can't help how they feel, because feelings, by definition, aren't rational. Still, I find it difficult to understand how someone, so sensitive to institutional references to Christianity, would apply to a school named for the concept that is the centerpiece of Christian doctrine, a name that would surely be imprinted on his diploma, could encounter feelings of victimization and perceive bad-faith on the part of the staff simply because the school employs the same formal wording tradition on its diplomas as a vast number of other institutions, both religious and secular, around the world to this day. Perhaps the young man was misquoted or his comment was somehow taken out of context?

Anonymous said...

Gotta be a bunch of Democrats here. 3 people want it changed, 7 don't. Wait! That sounds like the new Obamacare law that passed that 70% of the people did NOT want.

In the year of our Lord according to Wikipedia: The Gregorian calendar, and the year numbering system associated with it, is the calendar system with the most widespread use in the world today. Well damn, there goes that comment about "but it's you who needs to get out there and learn more about globalization and racial equality."

Tolerance is to decide to go to a school and respect it's rich history and traditions, etc. and to be tolerant of the things that are in place. Be tolerant, let the wording stay.

Grow up people. Why don't we just erase all borders and all become one nation under one ruler and homogenize the world where everyone says "the book" "the big game" "that day" etc and can't speak at all as to be PC and not have a view that is different from any others.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you even know what the word TRINITY means?? and you are worried about the small print on the diploma referencing the commonly accepted globally used "year of our Lord" ??

I thought I went to a better school with smarter people than this.

Why would they change "Year of our Lord?" Change the school's entire name since it too is offensive and by the way, it's on the diploma.

Where does it stop? I'm losing my ability to want to donate back to Trinity - i mean, TU (don't want to offend anyone).

Let's open a debate about why you can't drink alcohol in your dorm if you aren't 21. I mean, they do it in other countries. I'M OFFENDED! - Like that "open debate and topic of discussion" wouldn't be a waste of time.

This is all so lame.

K. said...

ANONYMOUS wrote:

"Tolerance is...to be tolerant of the things that are in place."

If this is what you learned in four years at Trinity, you deserve a refund. This has to be the single most bizarre definition of tolerance that I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

- Wow K. speaking of (in your own words) "sneering comments?" Guess you're one of those "do as I say, not as I do folks, huh? -

My point was that this Muslim and the other students that are bringing up this point should be tolerant of how Trinity marks their degrees with Christian phrases. Why should Trinity change and be tolerant to Muslims? Why can't Muslims be tolerant of the school that they chose to attend? (Tolerant of things that were in place before they got there and thus tolerant of how things are - is this easier for you to understand now?)

Please tell me, Mr. Wizard, in the light of this debate, why should Trinity be asked to consider changing the fine print on a diploma but not have to change it's Christian defined and rooted name to begin with? Why is it unacceptable for a Muslim to display a diploma with the words "Year of our Lord" when in much bigger print on the same diploma it says, "TRINITY?"

Where's that refund office again? It sounds like you've been there already.

K. said...

"Why should Trinity change and be tolerant to Muslims?"

So, according to you, Trinity is intolerant to Muslims. Maybe you should think this one through.

"Why can't Muslims be tolerant of the school that they chose to attend? (Tolerant of things that were in place before they got there and thus tolerant of how things are - is this easier for you to understand now?)"

You definition of tolerance keeps slaves in the cotton fields and Galileo silent.

"Why is it unacceptable for a Muslim to display a diploma with the words "Year of our Lord" when in much bigger print on the same diploma it says, "TRINITY?'"

Ask them. It's not at issue here, so the point is irrelevant. Also, the origin of Trinity's name is not as cut-and-dried as people might think.

To repeat, the tradition argument is nonsense. When I look back on my time at Trinity, I don't think about the Bible on the seal or the words "Our Lord" on my diploma. (I didn't even know they were there.) Whatever happens with these items won't detract one bit from my memories of friends and teachers, classes and dorm life.

David Tuttle said...

K.
Thanks for checking out my blog. I invite you to follow me. I appreciate your comments. We have been inundated by comments that really show a couple trends. First, people feel that Christianity should receive the same consideration as other faiths. Ie, don'tr expect Christians to take the religion out of Christmas to appease, and then expect consideration inissues like this. Second, the slippery slope argument has taken root. I don't see that one, but I get it. In any case, the response has been pretty emotional from the right and that has been reflected in some of the comments here. That seems to me to be why civility has taken a hit.

K. said...

David,

In truth, I suspect that as time passes, this will become less of an issue to the affected students and they will look back on their time at Trinity as something more than a few words on their diplomas. At least, I hope they will. However, their request is small enough -- despite some of the commentary I've read, it's not as if they want to change the name of the school or tear down the chapel.

I read the Trinitonian article linked to by Martin Schwed. I was impressed with the faculty's handling of this matter -- clearly, they seized upon a teachable moment and did a great job with it.

Trinity has changed a great deal since my day. The list of available majors is probably twice the size of the 70s. The Chinese Department gave an excellent presentation last year to Seattle area alumni. As Trinity's scope and internation appeal broaden, it must on an ongoing basis examine how it presents itself to the world and ensure that it offers a welcoming environment to international students.

Please don't misunderstand anything I've written here: I love Trinity and wouldn't have gone anywhere else.

I'll add The Dean's List to my blogroll.

Critiqu said...

This is all futile. For those of you who attended the lecture last night, the new President of the school made a snide comment about this argument which should have given all of you the final answer. I tip my hat to you, sir, that was both funny, but also very much needed. A great introduction of yourself to the Trinity student body.

While I'm on the subject. If we do away with the application of a religious context within our Diploma, why don't we just take away that Easter Break that we all just so whole heartedly enjoyed...Why don't we disband the utilization of the "Winter" (Christmas Break) and instead merely make our winter break as long as our fall one, an extra Friday off. You signed up to go to school here. Deal with the rules and fundamentals of our society.

I apologize for speaking out with such emotion instead of logic, I'm just tired of this debate...

Thanks

JTajBozeman said...

This is all really very absurd. We can't live our lives trying to make sure no one is offended by anything that we do.

It's silly to think that because a few students complained that they felt hurt, that some change is warranted. Why do young people today seem to think they have a right to a world where they're never offended, where they never feel bad, where a harsh word is never spoken in their midst?

It shouldn't be about the possibility of hurting a few people, because let's face it, a handful of people are going to whine about everything and get hurt over the smallest things in life. The point made by those who say that this cheapens history are right.

We could live in a completely scrubbed down society, never a stand taken on anything, but seriously- is this what we want for our kids? A world where we tiptoe around a handful of people, scared to death that we might offend their delicate sensibilities in some way?

Does any rational person actually believe that a grown college senior is truly "hurt" or "offended" by a phrase that appears on the Constitution of the United States itself? Will they demand the phrase be removed from the founding document as well?

Toss aside your traditions and values for a few whiny college kids who seem to think a world free of hurt is their right, then you'll soon have no traditions left at all.

JTajBozeman said...

Also let me justify that there are 'American' Atheists and Agnostics who support the removal of the wording as well.
Removal of "the year of the lord" is not going to erase the University's culture past, if anything it's going to promote the school's nature of diversity.
I don't think it's any of us who need to travel to France, but it's you who needs to get out there and learn more about globalization and racial equality.


This is exactly the confused view that causes these problems to begin with.

Removing phrases that are part of a cultural history completely removes pieces of that university's cultural history. The phrase is there for traditional purposes, so to claim its removal would lead to greater diversity is, in my opinion, rather silly.

Besides- let's be honest, "diversity" is liberal code for removing any mention of Christianity or anything of a traditional nature. We seem to think that a melting pot somehow means that we should all lose our historical and cultural identity to a world that makes no judgement calls and places no value in a a concrete set of beliefs.

Erase a piece of a culture here, erase a bit there, and now you have "diversity." Diversity, in a rational sense, is accepting that some college's have historical and cultural ties to a particular religious tradition. Accepting that and embracing that it exists and maybe you don't agree but it's still there- that's the kind of diversity we need.

lprashad said...

I went to Trinity and have just found out about the diploma issue. I was not the most politically active student in my cohort but really wanted to be. I was looking for a university experience that would push me to be more involved in major political and cultural issues. I have to say while the academics were great, the student body overall was disappointing. I got to experience other liberal art schools (some of which were my top choices when applying) through a undergrad research program where we worked in the field with other students and visited other schools. These experiences somewhat filled in the culture I was looking for but I still feel some regret that I did not attend one of those schools. This current diploma debate and the awesome kids who brought up this issue make me hopeful that the school is bringing more diverse minds to campus and breaking down some of the apathy I saw when I was there. While I am sorry that the diploma wording was not changed, I agree with David that the process the kids went through was most important. I hope these kids keep pushing boundaries and bringing up these issues of diversity.