Students respond to Erickson

I am one of the students who wrote that opinion piece in the Cluster expressing our disapproval with the dministration for inviting Erickson to speak at Founder’s Day.
Although I am a mostly Republican voter from a Baptist family, I couldn’t stay silent on this issue.
I continue to believe Erickson was the wrong person to invite to Mercer for all of the reasons previously stated.
This was never a political thing; the faculty didn’t write our student letter for us or ask us to write a letter to the Cluster.
We were four students expressing our respectful, albeit critical, disapproval with the decision and offering suggestions to improve Founder’s Day.
Naturally, Mr. Erickson has complained that we students who protested his invitation had turned Founder’s Day from “an event designed to be about the University” into an event “about me.”
This sounds like a very reasonable suggestion coming from the man who, when speaking at the event, spent most of his time praising himself, his morals, and his heroic virtues as a student and in his later career (witnesses report that this got a few eye-rolls from the other speakers onstage).
Anyway, he wrote his speech masterfully to avoid sparking controversy while he was on campus, and for that I applaud him.
The coup de grâce of this whole fiasco came after Erickson left campus, when he retreated to Facebook, Twitter, and RedState to defame individual students for their “stupid” or “intolerant” questions and to bash entire departments within our university.
We invited Erickson to our university, we allowed him to flatter himself in front of the student body, we arranged for Mercer Singers to serenade him, we organized a luncheon in his name as our guest of honor and he reciprocates our hospitality by doing the very thing which he claims to have outgrown: slandering and misrepresenting people through social media.
It seems his time at CNN hasn’t tempered his tongue, and I doubt Fox News will do much to encourage him to represent Mercer’s values here and abroad.
What I’m trying to say is that, while I don’t exactly know how the faculty feels, the students never saw this as a dispute between political parties.
It has always been more of a matter of whether Mercer’s values were being reflected.
On the one hand, we value honesty, openness, freedom of expression and thought; on the other hand, we value respect for others, civil discourse, and appropriate and mature criticism free of slander, insults, name-calling, and fabrications.
On Feb. 13, the students and the faculty did not fail these values.
Everyone was the very model of Mercerian civility.
There were no walkouts, picket signs, or scandalous outbursts.
Either we attended the events or we didn’t, and our Founders would be proud of our behavior.
With that in mind, I have faith that we students and faculty will continue to be more respectful in private than Erickson is in public.