John McCain Does Not Speak For Us

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    Dean Colombo, Dean Quigley, CC'06 President Kwame Spearman
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    Columbia College Class of 2006
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As members of the Columbia College Class of 2006, we are writing to voice our concern at the universitys decision to invite Senator John McCain to speak at our Class Day on May 16, 2006. Class Day will be our last opportunity to sit together and celebrate our achievements, both academic and extracurricular, and reflect on our challenges and accomplishments as individuals and as a community. Senator McCains presence at this event would be disrespectful to members of our class and contradictory to our values as Columbia students.

Throughout his career, Senator McCain has shown a consistent record of intolerance and discrimination toward women and homosexuals. His seventeen-year voting record boasts consistent denial of a womans right to choose, and he recently voiced his support for South Dakotas new law prohibiting abortion. He currently supports an initiative to ban same-sex marriage in his home state, Arizona, and he opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would make it illegal for employers to dismiss employees based on sexual orientation.

Further, on May 13, Senator McCain will deliver another graduation address to the students of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty Universitys founder and current chancellor, Reverend Jerry Falwell, has defined his career by radical and intolerant views towards homosexuals, Jews, feminists, civil rights activists and victims of AIDS, to name a few. Senator McCains politics may not be as radical as Rev. Falwells, but when he congratulates Libertys student body, he will effectively acknowledge Rev. Falwells hateful teachings as a legitimate voice in the American political dialogue.

As members and allies of the many communities negatively affected by Senator McCains policies, we ask that the administration reconsider its invitation. On May 16, we will bid farewell to a home which, for the past four years, has helped to shape and prepare us for our careers and our lives; it would be unfortunate to do so in the shadow of a speaker so disrespectful to our values and our diversity.