Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, November 17, 2006

No One's Buying Leonard's "Apology"

More proof that no one is buying David Leonard's "apology" came in a letter to the editor of today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The art of the nonapology is still alive

I see the Washington State University professor(s) involved in the fracas with the College Republicans have learned the art of nonapologies รก la John Kerry very well. They are not sorry they did it. They are only sorry over the way it turned out.

From what I read in the newspaper, they didn’t apologize at all. They need some remedial training. Let’s try doing it right and repeat after me: “The other day out on the Glenn Terrell Mall I made a fool of myself. I had anger in my heart and I shouldn’t have. It was immature of me and I was wrong on that count. To make matters worse I acted out on that anger and said and did some things beneath the dignity of my profession. I am ashamed of myself and I am humbly asking the forgiveness of all those I offended. I am also asking those students who witnessed my irresponsibility to not emulate my actions.”

Bill Tozer, Moscow


April E. Coggins said...

David Leonard has rewritten his apology to be more palatable. He has significantly toned down the defiance and blame that was in the original.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Does anyone have a copy of the original? Leonard shouldn't be allowed to rewrite history.

April E. Coggins said...

Paul, I'm not sure which version this is but I found it on a blog.


On November 2nd, after speaking to several upset students about a demonstration on the mall, I ventured over there in hopes of engaging the protestors with a dialogue. In our department, we work hard to be active in the community, using the daily happenings in our community as "teachable moments."

Upon arriving at the demonstration, I initiated a discussion with a young man, but before long it seemed that he was more interested in "playing to the camera." With it feeling a little too close to my face, and it seeming that my counterpart was more focused on the camera instead of our discussion, I did not feel comfortable. At the time, I found the camera and the environment itself to be a deterrence and restrictive to a meaningful conversation. I respectfully asked the student to stop filming me, which he declined to. While many folks have questioned my request, noting that the mall is a public place (I do have the right to request this), in the moment, the camera felt like an impediment to the desired intellectual exchange, in my estimation my role as a teacher. The student code of conduct states, under WAC 504-25-120, the following: "the willful refusal or failure to comply with a proper order or request of a university official, or law enforcement acting in performance of their duties is prohibited." His decision regarding the camera prompted me to ask for his student identification in light of my (mis)understanding of the student code of conduct- this was unnecessary and a mistake.

Again, the student chose not honor my request, leading me to walk away from the discussion, unable to have a dialogue and discussion, something I believed was the purpose of the demonstration and my being there. As I walked away, a young woman with the protestors informed the camera man that he indeed needed to turn off the camera, with him telling me that he would erase the tape. Unfortunately, this was not the case, with the tape being broadcast on Youtube, and used to disparage me, my family and my colleagues (just today, one was berated with anti-Semitic rhetoric while walking on the streets), to the level that many threats have been waged against me over the last week.

This situation is unfortunate for all involved, and I regret that it happened. At the time, my request was based on my understanding of the student code of conduct, the faculty manual, and my job description, and not an attempt to intimidate or stifle discussion. Regardless, my actions have added fuel to the fire. For this, I apologize. If my understanding of the code was/is (I have been informed about the misinterpretation) incorrect, for this I apologize. To the student involved and the College Republicans, my intent was in no way malicious nor to intimidate, but nonetheless I am sorry. The issue of immigration is contentious, and fosters a lot of anger and pain, and personal attacks and threats against individuals serve no purpose toward the mission of education. Yet, the efforts to vilify and condemn, to cast aspersions and threaten, leading my family to fear for its safety and livelihood adds little more to the debate.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

That looks like it might be the original. I'd have to compare it with the copy that's up on cougster.com.

...but I don't feel much like spending the time on it, especially since Leonard can't do anything to save himself from this one, now, anyway. :)