Elon University has now ceased to be a serious institution of higher learning. In fact, it no longer deserves to be called a university in the wake of its decision to create a new Vendor Policy Study Committee. The committee, which was created by Elon's Board of Trustees in October, is part of a response to efforts to ban Chick-fil-A from the Elon campus. Its very existence shows that Elon cannot expeditiously handle simple issues concerning tolerance and inclusion. Instead, it legitimates bigotry by giving serious consideration to anti-religious zealots who would best be ignored.
Elon's 15-member committee is made up of trustees, alumni, students, faculty, and staff members. During five meetings the group has held since the fall, they have had what they characterize (in campus email updates) as "thoughtful and respectful discussions with a collegial spirit." They also report that they have "reviewed" a large volume of materials. In other words, they have been thoughtful and respectful and collegial as they consider banning companies from their campus because they do not hold politically correct beliefs. And they have spent a lot of time and resources doing it.
This Orwellian committee started by reviewing Elon's current vendor and purchasing policies and practices. They have also received input from legal counsel, reviewed actions by the Student Government Association, solicited input from Elon's Inclusive Community Council, and studied more than 200 emails from members of the local community. The committee reports that these sources have provided "a variety of opinions and perspectives on the issues."
In other words, Elon University has launched a McCarthy-style investigation into whether the campus has been invaded by subversives who want to undermine the community by suggesting that marriage requires one man and one woman. Did anyone notice that the Chick-Fil-A sign is bright red? It's enough to cause a modern-day red scare.
In addition, the committee has reviewed decisions by other universities related to Chick-fil-A as well as media reports on the company and its activities. Those media reports have come from reliable sources like the Huffington Post. They show that the chicken vendor has consorted with the KKK. Just kidding, it's worse than that. They've donated to the Family Research Council.
The committee continues to seek input from interested persons and stakeholders on these issues. In addressing the charges given the committee by the Elon Board of Trustees, they are developing options for the Board to consider related to vendor policies and guidelines. They are also developing a set of pros and cons related to Chick-fil-A's continued operation on Elon's campus. In the spirit of inclusiveness, I've included my own set of pros and cons related to their continuing operation at Elon.
1. People can eat delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries at Elon.
2. Elon can profit from sales of delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries on campus.
3. Homosexual activists might decide to boycott Elon.
4. Angry liberals might join the boycott of Elon.
1. I can't really think of any.
The Vendor Policy Study Committee anticipates providing a progress report to the Board of Trustees at its March 1-2 meeting. They hope to conclude their work with a set of findings for the Board's consideration prior to the end of the spring semester.
Accordingly, members of the Elon community have been extended an invitation to express their opinion or provide the committee with information on these matters. I am encouraging my readers to do the same by sending an email to email@example.com. They claim to welcome the involvement of all members of the Elon community in these discussions. But I think that is too exclusive. I think all Americans should provide them with input.
I plan to write Elon and tell them not to be chicken of a little ideological diversity. If you have a nugget of advice, please share it. But try not to use any fowl language. There's too much hate speech out there already.
Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand, due out in April.