Firing Line for April 9: Charles Murray and Civil Rights Summit

The Daily Texan editorial board will publish a selection of tweets and online comments culled from The Daily Texan website and the various Daily Texan Twitter accounts, along with direct submissions from readers every Friday and, occasionally, in response to current events. 

Our intention is to continue the tradition of the Firing Line, a column first started in the Texan in 1909, in which readers share their opinions “concerning any matter of general interest they choose.” Just like in 1909, the Texan “will never express its approval or disapproval of opinions given under the [Firing Line] header.” In other words, take your shot. 

Submissions can be sent to [email protected]. Submissions are edited for length.  


April 8th is the start of the Civil Rights Summit at UT-Austin, meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The summit, comprised of afternoon panel discussions followed by evening keynote addresses, will reflect on the seminal nature of the civil rights legislation passed by President Johnson while examining civil rights issues in America and around the world today.

Also on April 8, UT-Austin is going to allow Charles Murray to speak on campus, sponsored by a student group. Charles Murray, for those that don’t know, is a conservative social scientist who believes African-Americans are, as a population, less intelligent than whites because of genetic differences and that poverty remains a national problem because “a lot of poor people are born lazy.”

To me, it is not only disgraceful to allow a such discriminatory views on campus but also stands completely contrarily to everything the Civil Rights Summit is supposed to stand for. I would ask that all of my fellow UT-Austin students, alumni and people involved in the Austin community send an email to UT-Austin stating how inappropriate it is to allow someone like Charles Murray to speak on campus, especially at the same as a Civil Rights Summit is being held.

As a current student, I would like to know who approved this event where a known bigot and racist is allowed to speak on a campus that supposedly prides itself on increasing diversity and being inclusive to all peoples. Is allowing avowed racists like Charles Murray to speak on campus how this university plans to kick off the Civil Rights Summit? How can minority students, like myself, feel respected and valued when UT-Austin welcomes people like Charles Murray here? 

I am a student and a veteran who chose to come to UT-Austin based on the principles that this school stands for and based on the belief that UT-Austin is a place where everyone is welcome. I will graduate in spring 2014 with honors and carry the name of UT-Austin with me wherever I go. It pains me to know that this school would allow someone who believes in a racial hierarchy of intelligence to speak here, especially at a time when we are honoring the legacy of a movement that fought for equal rights for all, regardless of color or ethnicity. I hope that in the future such events will not be allowed to take place again.

— Bernard Hayman, international relations and global studies senior, submitted via email