Students Planning Sept. 11 Memorial Receive Hate E-Mails After Ribbon Decision

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Some UC Berkeley students planning tomorrow's Sept. 11 memorial continue to receive hate messages-a result of their widely publicized statements against distributing red, white and blue ribbons.

Students began receiving hate e-mails and phone calls after a conservative campus publication, The California Patriot, ran an online article on the decision made by the event's planning committee not to hand out red, white and blue ribbons during the memorial.

Some students received over 200 hate e-mails each-many containing racial slurs-over the issue.

"You're nothing but an anti-American hate monger," said an anonymous e-mail sent to Graduate Assembly President Jessica Quindel. "You offend and disgust me and other veterans of this great country."

ASUC President Jesse Gabriel and members of his office said they also received hate messages.

Students who received hate messages said they have been unfairly singled out and added the messages have taken away from the memorial's importance.

"The controversy has detracted from the idea of grieving the loss of life," Quindel said. "We're trying to include all voices and are being outcast and seen as wrong, which goes against American ideals. I think that shows the irony of trying to being patriotic."

California Patriot writers said in a statement released yesterday that they intended for their article to ignite a reaction but did not mean for it to result in hate messages or harm to those involved in planning the memorial.

"It's important to remember we shouldn't let (the students' decision) translate into vicious telephone and/or e-mail attacks directed towards those who wanted to keep red, white and blue out," the statement said.

Sources quoted in the California Patriot's article, who wished to remain anonymous, said it misrepresented their views and included factually incorrect information.

But editors of the publication said they presented all material accurately in the article.

"It's a question of (them) lying or us (lying) and we have the notation to back it up," said Seth Norman, managing editor of the California Patriot.

Steve Sexton, the writer of the article and former news editor of The Daily Californian, declined to comment on the allegations.

Some UC Berkeley faculty members said the controversy has been blown out of proportion.

"It's really sort of surprising how big an issue this has become," said political science Professor Henry Brady. "(The hate mail) shows the depth and concerns and fears that some people have and it's a shame that they've come out in this way."

Last Thursday UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl overruled the white-ribbon decision and allowed the use of ribbons that bear the colors of the U.S. flag. In a joint meeting the next day, organizers said they plan to distribute various colors of ribbons, including white.

"I deeply resent the implication that by planning this service in this way, we are unpatriotic," said Berdahl at a press conference Thursday. "We believe it is a disservice to those who died to allow this memorial to become a political rally of any kind."


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