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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  In case you missed it | Getting the message
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Thursday, January 13,2011

In case you missed it | Getting the message

 

 

Getting the message

University of Colorado officials’ reaction to more alleged sexual wrongdoing by, in this case, a former member of the football team was markedly different than their response almost a decade ago when football-related sexual assault claims arose, then rocked the university in a first-class scandal two years later.

Back then, it was ignore for a while, hope it goes away, then deny, deny, deny.

This time, CU officials released a statement exactly 13 minutes after Boulder police announced the arrest of senior Michael Sipili, who turned himself in after police issued a warrant alleging one count of sexual assault.

And this time, CU officials bent over backwards to condemn the alleged assault and recite the litany of measures they have taken over the past seven years to prevent such incidents. And this was for a former member of the football team who, by the way, is innocent until proven guilty, last we checked.

“I want the entire community to know that this university has learned from the difficult lessons of our past,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Deb Coffin said. “We have put in place a slate of campus-wide policies that address sexual assault and sexual harassment. We communicate these policies to our students from their first moments on campus, and we hold them accountable to these standards during their time here.”

Obviously, no number of policies or guest speakers is going to completely change the culture of entitlement that seems to be inherent among many college football players.

And while this university can’t seem to go 10 years without some sort of football scandal, at least the PR folks appear to have learned their lesson about how to respond to such claims.

Even new football Coach Jon Embree, who was an assistant coach for CU when the last round of sexual assaults were alleged in 2001, seems to be talking the right talk.

“I intend to uphold the values the campus has established and send a strong and consistent message to our players that respect for women is a basic requirement for being on this team,” he said.

Reese’s piece

Free speech is a beautiful thing, but it can cost you. You may have heard of this school board member in Greeley — we know, shocking that there is bigotry in Greeley — who likes to read anti- Martin Luther King sentiments on his radio show just before MLK Day. The letter that Brett Reese reads from, reportedly submitted by a listener three years ago, calls Dr. King a sexual degenerate, an America-hating communist and a modern-day “plastic god,” according to the Greeley Tribune.

(For Snopes’ take on the truth behind the MLK claims, check out http://bit.ly/69jID4.)

Nice. That’s just the sort of guy we all want on our school boards, right?

Teach them children well.

Well, there are consequences for such speech. According to news reports, the radio station he works for has been losing about $1,000 of advertising a day. Ah, the sweet machinations of the marketplace of ideas.

Reese has even received death threats and plans to begin carrying a gun to school board meetings.

Wait a minute, back up the truck. Proponents of MLK’s legacy have been issuing death threats? Something’s not right here.

Perhaps the Anti-Defamation League’s Scott Levin said it best: “The reckless and irresponsible spread of such misleading vitriol only heightens the divisions in our communities at a time when we should be finding ways to diminish, not increase, hateful rhetoric in public debate.”

In light of the recent shootings in Arizona, all we can say is amen, brother, amen.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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