Letter to the Editor- Feb. 26, 2018

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The following letter to the editor was received on Feb. 26, 2018 and published on Feb. 27, 2018. 
Dear Editor,
Who invited Ken Ham and why?
UCO just got played as a pawn in the national chess game of “free speech on campus” debate. But by who- and why?
I ask this as a former advertising professional for over 20 years (and a present grad student in History). I saw many dirty PR and advertising tricks in all this. I saw “buzzwords” used and signs of feeding false media narratives.  the details of truth, such as student funds being the source used to pay Ham, were lost in false media narratives of “oppression of free speech/expression of religion.” Far right (and alt-right) media claimed even worse false narratives such as “Oppression of Religion” and “LGBT against Christianity”.
I have done the research… I will be glad to share it with anybody. All the above narratives are false, but were absolutely the only narratives far-right media offered. Some media were clear on the real issues, and others ignored them altogether to feed false narratives. I am disappointed and embarrassed that our university became any part of this. It is a shame that hurts us all.
It is easy to make damaging and false claims in the media – you don’t have to back them up with facts. There is a UCO process to report any such claims, and someone didn’t use it! Instead- they went to national news media-why?
Whose idea was it to invite Ham? The Vista has shown it wasn’t anyone at Valid Worldview, or Pastor Paul Blair. The 5-person UCOSA executive committee seem to be the only ones that know whose idea it was to invite the controversial Mr. Ham.
I would also like to thank President Betz for negotiating a solution that still supports the spirit of free speech on campus, as well as being a solution we all can live with.
Jay Smith
Grad Student, History  

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