October 10, 2011

Whose Side are You On?

When did UNM become no better than a banana republic hiding behind the buzzwords of "safety" and lurking behind "proper permits?"   Sure, Karen Wentworth can hide behind University policy as justification for the removal of the protesters but weren't the protesters camping out on university property the whole week before?   So I guess the policy is only there when the University gets tired of the protesters?   How convenient.  I guess I’m supposed to be soothed by this bit of “bureaucratese” and disregard the fact that UNM is selectively enforcing its own policy like some sort of banana republic.  If UNM is going to hide behind policy than they should’ve done it last week.   

Now I’m supposed to be soothed by this quote, ““Central (Avenue) is just not a safe place,” she said.  Really?   Central Avenue is not safe?   Did it suddenly get more safe when the protesters we’re on the corner of Central and University?  

Finally, in what struck me as sort of “Kafkaesque” its reported, “Wentworth said protesters applied for a convention permit when they should have applied for an outdoor activities permit.”  Oh my, they got the wrong paperwork?   Would they have been allowed to stay had they gotten the right paperwork? 

Here’s my guess as to what happened.   Protesters camp out on University and Central for what administrators hope is a couple of days.  It turns out that it lasts a bit longer so the university asks if they would be willing to relocate from the pristine environs at University and Central to a more trodden location next to the bookstore.  The protesters relocate and when they don’t disperse after a couple of really crappy, rainy days, the administration starts to get a bit worried.  What if the protesters just don’t go away?  Haven’t we humored them long enough?   Haven’t they made their point?   Okay, well let’s get rid of them.   Let’s do it at midnight so no other students/community members see it.  Let’s hide behind the monster bureaucracy we’ve created and say it’s not “safe,” and it’s not “sanitary.”  Really?

So this is how much UNM supports the first amendment?   We’re here to educate and help create civil minded citizens but when it gets a tad bit ugly, let’s just dispense with it.   Here’s my suggestion.   You support the first amendment but you don’t want people defecating on the lawn, put up a Port-a-Pot.   You support the first amendment but you don’t want a ramshackle “shanty town” to make UNM look like a third world village, put up those nice, neat Lobo tents so the protesters can be protected from the elements.   There are numerous other ways UNM could show its support for the protesters, but as it is, they’ve shown that they support the banks, the corporations, the very elements that have caused a budgetary hardship on every department at UNM.   You’re either support the protesters or you support the banks.   Whose side are you on?
Don McIver

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