To the Editor,
I’m writing The UW Branding Iron today to express concern for the incoming speaker to the University of Wyoming this week, Dennis Prager. I’m not writing this letter to antagonize or critique the speaker’s beliefs nor to start a discussion on the first amendment or any citizen’s access to free speech. I am writing this letter to express concern about the safety of the students of the University of Wyoming, as well as the surrounding Laramie community, and the state of Wyoming as a whole. Mr. Prager has openly dismissed the problem of rape, has shown widespread distain for Muslim communities, and has offered up opinions about believing that homosexuals should not share the same rights as heterosexuals. Regardless of these personal beliefs, Mr. Prager makes his opinions public further propagating dangerous proceedings. His doctrine allows people who have loathing towards marginalized groups to have a platform to express their detestation. The University of Wyoming supports and is home to a diverse community of students, including international students. The University of Wyoming has also seen an increase of sexual assault reports this year. I worry that Mr. Prager’s stance on these important issues could condone sexual assault and other hate-related and violent crimes. The University of Wyoming’s endorsement of Mr. Prager gives disenfranchised groups a reason to feel unsafe in their community. Even worse, the University’s funding of the speaker through RSO’s funds (and student dues) is an extra slap in the face, not only to people who passionately disagree with the speaker’s beliefs but also to communities that experience widespread oppression and fear. The last thing that Wyoming needs to do is reject diversity. We are in a place where Wyoming needs to revitalize its economy and create new opportunities for diversification. We now have the chance to change the state of Wyoming by welcoming other cultures, as well as creating an environment of acceptance and diversity, and allowing for opportunities for talent and skill to move to a state that does not condone a philosophy of discrimination. If Wyoming continues the path of creating a climate of fear, discrimination and hatred, we will find ourselves even farther away from our goals of becoming sustainable and self-sufficient. I also ask readers to consider the state of our world right now. There have been two tragic mass killings within the past two weeks, do we really want to support the presence of a speaker that incites hostility towards particular groups of people? I urge the University community, faculty, staff, and residents of Laramie to make it clear that there is no place in Wyoming for someone who is a proponent of hate and aggression towards our neighbors, friends, and community members. Join us for a peaceful protest this Thursday at 5:30pm outside the Education Auditorium and submit your thoughts and concerns about this speaker to ASUW.