“We have but one rule - that every student must be a gentleman.”
— Robert E. Lee
Looking for the Red Line

Looking for the Red Line

Letter to the Editor:

Russ W. Chambliss (‘74)-

James H. McCord, IV (‘74)-

Looking for the Red Line

It is difficult to know when to take issue with a statement or an action. Our past President, Robert E. Lee was against secession, against bringing his beloved Virginia into that which he knew would ravage his state and the nation. But his red line was crossed and he brought Virginia into the fight. It is difficult to know what exactly it was that finally compelled him, but the line was crossed, and he took action.

Many of us were dismayed at seeing a recent flyer that announced a Gala party which was sponsored by the LGBTQ coalition. The flier portrayed a silhouette of General Washington and President Lee in an embrace and announced the marriage of Mr. & Mr. We understand this is the seventh year such an event has been held.

It is wonderful that the LGBTQ community comes together to celebrate their diversity. Diversity and freedom of speech are two of the most cherished rights of our country and most certainly of W&L.

But at what point are such depictions a red line of good taste not to be crossed? When is it acceptable to raise our voices in protest? The portrayal was historically inaccurate. It denigrated our founders and tarnished our valuable trade mark, which is their likenesses. What icons will be next? The Colonnade? Old George? The Trident? The Seal of the University? We have spoken to many in the past two weeks and all, are at best dismayed and many are deeply offended.

The administration has chosen to remain silent over concerns of appearing to violate students’ freedom of expression or seeming to censor them. At what point will their voices be raised, not to censor students but to give guidance as to what it is to be Ladies and Gentlemen of Washington & Lee. Guiding young minds as to appropriate behavior and speech is not censorship, it is their sacred duty.

When will their Red Line be crossed?

We are respectfully yours,

Russ W. Chambliss ‘74

James H. McCord IV ‘74

 

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