Student questions speaker’s use of monetary resources

I was not surprised to learn that Western has invited Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and “civil rights activist,” to speak on the Hill tonight.

After all, last year we were treated to words of wisdom from communist radical and erstwhile “black power” militant Angela Davis, and had he not given Western the proverbial shaft, we would also have been graced by the presence of arch-race baiter and “civil rights” hustler Al Sharpton. Given the nature of such illustrious individuals, it surprises me little that the school would invite someone that’s been called “the white Jesse Jackson.”

Dees and his SPLC organization claim to be champions of “tolerance” and “civil rights” and such, but it seems that Dees is mostly a champion of fundraising, the majority of which is never used on so-called “civil rights” oriented activities.

In 1999, the SPLC took in a reported $44 million from fundraising and stock investments, but only $13 million was used on “civil rights” programs that year, according to an article in the November 2000 issue of Harper’s Magazine, called “The Church of Morris Dees” by Ken Silverstein. According to Silverstein, Southern Center for Human Rights director Stephen Bright once wrote a letter to Dees calling him “a fraud and a conman.” Silverstein has Dees receiving some $273,000 a year in “compensations” and said the SPLC has some $120 million in its treasury, making the SPLC the richest “civil rights” organization. Such would seem to put the lie to the notion that Dees and the SPLC really know much about poverty.

Dees and company make much of their money-stoking fears of so-called “hate groups” and exacerbating existing racial tensions. Despite the fact that any existing Klan groups are a tiny fragment of the historical Klan, Dees still uses such tiny groups as evidence of “domestic terrorism and hate” to drum up donations to the SPLC, case in point, his sensationalistic “Klan Watch”. According to Silverstein, Dees and the SPLC made $9 million in donations from the well-publicized legal decision against a Klan faction, the actual plaintiff in the case only $51,874.70.

Any occurrence of a “hate crime” typically spurs the SPLC to start wailing about “intolerance” and “hatred” with outstretched palms.

According to Silverstein, though “hate crimes” are often blamed on SPLC-designated “hate groups,” more than 95 percent of the time, it’s individuals acting on their own that commit the aforementioned “hate crimes” that the SPLC so loves to exploit. Apparently accuracy matters not to Morris Dees. It’s not good for business after all.

I encourage the Western student body to go hear Dees’ speech; after all, it’s probably our money that will be used to “compensate” Dees .I also encourage students to take what Dees says with one giant grain of salt, given the nature of the man and his organization. Don’t take my word for it, though. Find out for yourself. Campus Activities Board: If you are willing to invite leftist extremists such as Angela Davis and race-profiteers like Al Sharpton and Morris Dees to speak here, why not those from the other end of the political spectrum for the true “diversity” of opinion so touted these days?

Zack Cummins is a junior from Smryna, Tenn.

The opinions expressed in this piece do not reflect those of the Herald or Western Kentucky University.