The University of Michigan used school resources and state tax dollars to advertise a partisan event entitled “The Republican War on Women,” according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential website. Such paid advertising violates the school’s own policies charges a candidate for the University’s Board of Regents, Robert Steele.
According to the University of Michigan’s own website, Michigan law prohibits “using an official University e-mail list or listserv to campaign for or against a ballot initiative or candidate running for office.” Michigan law also prohibits “purporting to speak on behalf of the University when supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot initiative.”
The event, sponsored by the Communications Studies Department, is scheduled to occur tonight on Michigan’s hallowed Ann Arbor campus.
Steele has charged that the “Republican War on Women” was listed as a factual statement for the event and that the University used its email system to advertise the event.
After Steele raised a ruckus about the event, the University of Michigan website quickly changed the title by adding a question mark. However, Michigan Capitol Confidential preserved the original image.
“The question mark came on only after people started complaining,” Steele said, according to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “Because they are so liberal in their mindset, it never occurs to them that they violate their own rules.”
The school also changed the graphic associated with the event. The original graphic prominently included a red shooting target eerily similar to the one for which Sarah Palin was so roundly criticized after Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot. In the aftermath of that shooting, many on the left called for a “return to civility.”
Each speaker at the event is a severe critic of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a left winger straight out of central casting.
One panelist, Anna Holmes of the Washington Post, tweeted during a presidential debate that she needed Obama to win, reports Michigan Capitol Confidential. Holmes also charged in a tweet that Romney’s “condescending tone towards women (incl moderator) shows mindset of sexist policies.”
Another panelist, Katha Pollitt, a writer for “The Nation,” wrote in August of this year: “I’m ashamed for my sex that any woman is still planning to vote for Romney and Ryan.”
The third panelist, Rebecca Traister of Salon.com, has alleged that the Republican Party wants to use a time machine of some kind to reconstruct 1950s-type social barriers.
The moderator, Susan J. Douglas, Chair of Michigan’s Communication Studies Department, has sent contributions to both President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee.
Douglas has also written several books including “The Mommy Myth,” which purports to show how “vampire slayers, tomb raiders” and other “girl-power fantasies” hold women back, according to panelist Katha Pollitt.
Douglas also wrote an article earlier this year titled, “It’s the Stupid Republicans, Stupid.” That article appeared in the pages of “In These Times,” a periodical founded by avowed socialist James Weinstein.
On Saturday, Rick Fitzgerald, associate director of public affairs at the University of Michigan, offered no comment on Monday’s scheduled symposium.
On Sunday, though, Kelly Cunningham, Michigan’s director of public affairs, attempted to diffuse the appearance of impropriety by explaining that Monday’s event will be no garden-variety discussion of politics. Instead, an event called “The Republican War on Women” will focus on the media’s coverage of the election.
“Monday’s forum is not about election politics,” Cunningham told Michigan Capitol Confidential. “It’s about how the media is involved in politics.”