By Emily Torres
Tolerance is a powerful thing. Tolerance allows for people with different religions, political ideologies, traditions, etc. to live harmoniously. Tolerance also, by definition, tells what is acceptable to an individual, institution, or society.
The choosing of representative Bill Poole as commencement speaker for the Spring 2021commencment ceremony and response to the concerns of students surrounding the selection is telling of what the University is willing to tolerate.
Representative Poole’s voting record is highly concerning and indicative of discriminatory and harmful ideology. He has voted ‘yea’ to:
- HB 314 – Increases Penalties for Abortions
- HB 45 – Authorizes Display of the Ten Commandments on State Property
- SB 60 – Prohibits Alteration or Removal of Historic Markers
- HB 445 – Enhances Penalties for “riots” and Prevent Municipalities from Reducing Local Police Department Budgets
- HB 391 – Prohibits Transgender Youth from Participating in Alabama Public School Sports
- HB 24 – Authorizes Child-Placement Agencies to Deny Services Based on Religion
Are these ideas part of the “robust discourse” Montevallo welcomes?
If these are the ideas of someone who “ has been recognized as one of the most thoughtful, forward-thinking lawmakers in the nation,” then the nation is in trouble. They most certainly do not contribute to a “diverse and welcoming atmosphere.”
They are unacceptable. They are intolerable. To label them as anything less than that is to do a great disservice to the many people this type of ideology aims to oppress. Tolerance is fuel for the survival of injustice.
The students deserve more.