Quintez Brown —
In an email sent to students Oct. 31, a week before midterm elections, vice provost for diversity and international affairs Mordean Taylor-Archer addressed the emotional impact of recent hate crimes, but also called for the condemnation of three highly-debated political issues.
“We must speak against policies that seek to repress, exclude and deny the rights of others,” she wrote.
“This would include the proposed policy that would define gender at birth, acts that separate immigrant children from their parents and the deployment of military to stop immigrants who traveled thousands of miles to seek freedom and opportunities from entering this country.”
There should not be an argument that this is a political message sent out to all students. Her email directly called for students to speak against certain policies. Specifically, policies that seek to repress, exclude and deny the rights of others.
However, in a follow-up email the next day, Taylor-Archer pointed out that the policies she mentioned were controversial and specified that the university doesn’t argue for or against political positions.
“I regret if my comments suggested that the university was taking sides on political issues. The university does not advocate for any political party, candidate or positions,” she wrote.
University spokesperson John Karman backed her up, saying that university does not view Taylor-Archer’s comments as a political message.
“Dr. Taylor-Archer has clarified her statement, and the university is supportive,” he told a Cardinal reporter.
The university is wrong and does not appear to be on the same page as Taylor-Archer. It’s obvious her message was political, but what’s more telling is that she didn’t apologize for it, and I think she shouldn’t.
Her message was about moral issues that are being discussed as political ones. Taylor-Archer did not choose a political side in her message, she chose a moral side. She was clear that the policies she mentioned go against everything that the university stands for. They go against what a moral society should stand for.
Taylor-Archer ended her email with a call to action; not to vote against those who initiate these policies, but to stand for values that lead to a more just and inclusive society.
That is a moral argument, and that is acceptable.
Being political should not be something we shy away from. All conscious people should be political. In our society, our policies should reflect our morals and values. Taylor-Archer simply asked us to be engaged in determining the policies that represent social justice, inclusion, and equity.
What our university shouldn’t be is partisan. There is a difference in being partisan and political. What would be unacceptable is for our university to advocate for a political party or candidate. Taylor-Archer addressed that in her follow-up email. If your political party supports any repressive, unjust policies then it is up to you, an engaged citizen, to make a decision at the polls on Nov. 6.
Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal