OPINION | Barry Richard: Rebeiro Should Apologize
Bristol Community College has denounced the exclusion of male reporters from a forum at the school's New Bedford campus by Women's March organizers on Saturday. While the press was invited to cover the event only female and non-binary reporters were allowed in. Male reporters were turned away which is sexual discrimination.
Joyce Brennan, Vice President of Communications issued the following statement to WBSM;
"Bristol Community College's mission is to serve the community as a public institution where everyone is welcome and the college is accessible to all individuals without discrimination or exclusionary activities. BCC fosters an environment that is safe, supportive, respectful, and open to all."
This is not a policy reversal as some have suggested. It is a publically funded institution of higher education recognizing and enforcing the law. Sources at BCC tell me they had no idea when they allowed march organizers to use the facility that male reporters would be denied access.
The issue here is not whether women have a right to gather without men present. The issue is that a reporter was prevented from doing his job based solely upon his gender.
To argue that the station should have sent a female reporter to cover the event is the same argument that was made when female reporters were not given the same access as men to cover professional sporting events. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. The courts have already decided the issue.
Discrimination, whether based on gender, color, religion, sexual orientation or any other factor must be rejected. Surely, Ward 4 City Councilor and forum and march organizer Dana Rebeiro, a woman of color understands that.
Councilor Rebeiro should apologize to anyone who was offended by her actions.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.