NIU works to cease hatred

By Jami Peterson

Campus intolerance hit home for some NIU faculty and students who joined hands with People for the American Way to combat hate-motivated acts.

Sanford Horwitt, director of Citizen Participation Projects for the American Way, has met with several colleges to exchange ideas and will be returning to NIU to keep chipping away at the problem.

“There are no bumper-sticker answers,” Horwitt said.

He said he hoped to get the full picture of the intolerance problem at NIU in order to bring some suggestions to help decrease the problem on his next visit.

Representatives from the Judicial Office, Student Affairs, The Northern Star, University Housing, the Provost’s Office and the Gay and Lesbian Union met with Horwitt Friday.

The meeting was a result of a “Hate in the Ivory Tower” survey of 128 campuses by People for the American Way, which found intolerance widespread and efforts to knock it out inconsistent.

Donald Buckner, associate vice president for Student Affairs, said he was “very impressed with (Horwitt’s) reasoning and willingness to do any further efforts to combat intolerance.”

Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer said she was “very pleased” with the meeting. “We do all we can at this university to encourage tolerance of people from all walks of life,” she said.

NIU faculty met with Horwitt in the morning and students spoke with him in the afternoon.

Each student agreed NIU has problems with intolerance that need to be solved.

Student Association President Preston Came said he believes labels like “racist” and “sexist” are used so frequently on campus that it becomes hard to determine what they actually mean.

Came said there have been incidents of intolerance on campus, and although he may disagree with them, “people have a right to ideas, even if they’re wrong ideas.”

Cory Parham, co-president of the NIU Gay and Lesbian Union, said although there have been many efforts to stop intolerance, it still exists. “Homosexuals have a right to be treated with dignity,” she said.

Dan Chamberlain, president of the Residence Hall Association, said students of different races rarely socialize. “It’s like pulling teeth anymore to try to get the different groups to come together,” he said.

Judicial Advocate Colleen Halliman said students of different races get along academically but not socially. “This is the way it is, so I make the best of it.”