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The campaign to uninvite Gen. Peter Pace from speaking gig

There are students at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business who have had enough of the bigotry coming out of the Pentagon. The invitation of General Peter Pace to be the keynote speaker at the school’s 55th Annual Management Conference has presented an opportunity to show their displeasure — the students have launched a campaign to get the “homosexuality is immoral” general disinvited.

The Campaign to Uninvite General Pace web site pulls no punches — “Bigotry has no place at the University of Chicago.”

General Pace has become America’s most visible advocate of anti-gay public policy. At a time when gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has used his leadership position to endorse discrimination and intolerance. For General Pace to be offered a podium as keynote speaker
under the University of Chicago’s auspices sends a message that is incompatible with the University’s core values, longstanding  nondiscrimination policies and ongoing efforts to create a climate welcoming of diversity.

…In the first three days following the petition’s launch, more than 750 community members signed it. The signers, nearly all of them are members of the University of Chicago community, include GSB students, staff, faculty, and at least 20 GSB alumni. The overwhelming response to the petition drive demonstrates the profound shock and outrage of many members of University’s GLBT community, and its allies, about the GSB’s plan to go ahead with Pace’s scheduled address under its auspices. The University of Chicago student organization Queers & Associates is planning a demonstration in front of the Hyatt on May 18th, as are several citywide community groups.

The school’s defense for inviting Pace is the usual BS —  retracting Gen. Pace’s invitation to speak “goes against principles of free speech, which we value greatly.”

Hmmm. No one is preventing the General from saying whatever he wants — the school administration is choosing to give him a platform. The students have a right to officially register their opinions with their school about the selection of a speaker and challenge the military’s official unwillingness to let the gays and lesbians currently serving in silence to serve openly.

The main corporate sponsor is Harris Bank, which the group notes has sponsored LGBT events in the past, but ranks in the bottom third in the banking and financial services industry category of Human Rights Campaign’s 2006 Corporate Equality Index.

You can sign the petition, which will go to the University of Chicago, the Graduate School of Business, and Harris Bank, is  here.

See past posts related to General Peter Pace’s comments here.

Hat tip, Steve @ The Frontlines.

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Pam Spaulding

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