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The Blue & Gray Press | May 21, 2018

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Letter to the Editor: PRISM Takes Silent Stand on Cuccinelli

Dear Editor,

We would like to thank the Bullet staff for covering the important event on campus last week: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s visit to the University of Mary Washington for Constitution Day. However, as president and vice president of UMW’s PRISM (People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities), we feel that a few details regarding PRISM’s role were left out that need clarification.

PRISM, as an organization, chose to not participate in the Virginia Organizing protest discussed in last week’s Bullet article, “Outbursts of Protest Disrupt Cuccinelli’s Speech.” Many community members questioned our decision because of the letter that Mr. Cuccinelli sent on March 4, 2010, in which he recommended “prohibit[ing] a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression’ or like classifications,” in non-discrimination policies. However, since Mr. Cuccinelli was speaking about the Constitution and not that specific incident, it was not PRISM’s place to participate in the protest.

Instead, PRISM took a different approach: we painted the rock, which was featured in last week’s Bullet. We wanted to make it clear to Mr. Cuccinelli that the UMW community, no matter what the Commonwealth of Virginia mandates, does not support discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Several members of our club also attended the talk wearing “Day of Silence” shirts, which said, “Virginia is for lovers/some restrictions apply, see state legislators for details.”

We would like to let the campus community know that PRISM was not against the protest. In fact, several of our regular members took part in the protest by holding signs. Instead, our organization, as a whole, did not participate. While we, Jack Pando and Charles Girard, were not verbal on Saturday, we were visible in our shirts. We were pleased to see that our community has so many allies at the University of Mary Washington.

Again, thanks for covering the event!

Jack Pando is a senior and Charles Girard is a senior.