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  • Chancellor Critical of Cross Used in 9/11: Never Forget Project

    9/11/2013 3:03:30 PM Posted by Hillary Cherry

     Ethan1

    By: Ethan Hollenberger, Conservative Activist

    911 UW Hundreds of college campuses around the country today are participating in YAF's 9/11 Never Forget Project. When I chaired the conservative club at Marquette University, I was honored to participate and lead the project for several years. 

    Today, Marquette and other Wisconsin schools are posting 2,977 flags to honor and remember the victims murdered twelve years ago. During my time on campus, I have seen students both liberal and conservative post pictures of the display on social media. Every student is truly impacted.

    One Wisconsin school, the University of Wisconsin La Crosse was called out by the school's Chancellor Joe Gow.

    The conservatives at La Crosse put their display into the form of a cross. Gow felt it necessary to criticize the use of the cross in an email to the entire faculty and students.

    I first reported the controversy at Media Trackers - Wisconsin:

    UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow emailed the all school's faculty and students promoting the memorial service. Gow also questioned the cross amongst the display.

    In addition, since receiving Ben's note early this morning I've been informed that the 9/11 flag display on the UW-L campus has been constructed in the shape of a cross. Although I'm not sure what the students who put up the flags are attempting to convey with this particular design, I also would like to remind everyone that UW-L is a state and federally supported institution and as such we do not endorse any particular religion. The divesity(sic) of views we hold is one of the most basic strengths of our country-something the terrorists sought to attack on this day 12 years ago. But our principles and spirit remain strong and we are free to commerate(sic) 9/11 in any manner that we choose today. I hope you'll join me in doing so.

    According to Ben Buehler, the clubs' co-chair, the conservative students made a cross because they believe, like the founding fathers, the United States is, "one nation, under God."

    Hannah Bresson, a co-chair of the club, tweeted emphatically, "We are one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible regardless. #NeverForget."

    A Catholic Priest will be on hand to pray at the memorial.

    In an email to me, Ben Buehler noted faith and God plays an important role in his life. The Chancellor's attack on the club's First Amendment right is prevalent at many University's today.

    The conservative student's remarked on Facebook about the Chancellor's email, "Unfortunately his comment took away from what today is about- not bickering about religious symbols, who is right or wrong- remembering the fallen and honoring our troops."

    UW - La Crosse has been posting their flags in a cross formation since at least 2008. 


    UPDATE: 

    Just before 3pm Gow sent another email to faculty and staff linking to the  Media Trackers Wisconsin story. 

    Gow writes, "Apparently, the e-mail message I sent you all this morning has now been disseminated more broadly. And it looks like, in addition to making my usual quota of spelling errors, I am being misinterpreted with regard to what I said about our university's inability to endorse any particular religion"

    The Chancellor also passes along a redacted email from an UW-LAX alumni signaling he will stop providing financial support. 

    Gow's email to the alumni quotes a   Wall Street Journal article. Gow's entire second email canbe read here

    In an email to me, Gow noted, "I am aware that the cross pattern has been a feature of the 9/11 display for the past few years. This fact demonstrates that we have never attempted to restrict the right of these students to express their views as they desire. This year I was asked to promote the display and I agreed to do so. Because I was writing a note to the entire university community I was careful to explain that a public institution like ours cannot, and should not, endorse any particular religion."

    • Readers' Comments

    • ...since receiving Ben's note early this morning I've been informed that the 9/11 flag display on the UW-L campus has been constructed in the shape of a cross. Although I'm not sure what the students who put up the flags are attempting to convey with this particular design, I also would like to remind everyone that UW-L is a state and federally supported institution and as such we do not endorse any particular religion... I, on the other hand am perfectly aware of why this was sent and the second e-mail is a fudging half explanation, called in some circles CYA. Obviously the Chancellor knew why it was in the form of a cross, the students having done this since 2009. What they are attempting to convey with "this particular design" Golleeee, Mr. Dillon, I just wonder. Can I hear a "Duh??" I actually thought the chancellor of a University would understand the amendments to the Constitution. This is the first amendment in case the school doesn't have a copy on campus. Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I see nothing in this amendment that prohibits anyone for putting a cross of any shape on a university campus. The worn out phrase ----UW-L is a state and federally supported institution and as such we do not endorse any particular religion---- has no bearing on this at all. If they're using it as an excuse that's all it is, an excuse with no legal foundation.
      Posted by Charie on 09/11/2013
    • Typical administrative tool bag with no practical knowledge of what goes on in the outside world short of what his secretaries tell him. Mr. Cow should remove his keister from his ivory tower once in awhile.
      Posted by Brian S. on 09/12/2013
    • Residents of 90 nations were killed at the World Trade Center, including 372 foreign nationals. Would they all want to be represented by a Christian cross?
      Posted by Bea on 09/13/2013
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