Scouts' Honor

Boy Scout officials on all levels of bureaucracy are giving us to believe that this is a happy compromise. Maybe in the short run-but the lurking fact remains that for all its chumminess, the BSA can exert firm control on the Great Trails Council in several meaningful ways; for example, several positions in the Great Trails Council require membership in the BSA and the concomitant commitment to remaining “morally straight.” The apple doesn’t fall as far from the tree as it might claim.

That observed, the faculty seems right. Money donated to the United Way goes in part to the Great Trails Council; the BSA can force the Great Trails Council to discriminate, regardless of letters and non-discrimination policies. If we don’t want money donated in the College’s name to be used by an organization that discriminates, better for the College to direct its donations elsewhere.

But as Professor Jagannathan observed, the United Way donates to several other charities that don’t discriminate, and it seems like a shame to withdraw support from an organization that does mostly good. So it seems appropriate for the College to give them a chance before withdrawing its donations. Amherst should advise the United Way that if they continue donating to the Boy Scouts and the Boy Scouts continue operating under the aegis of the BSA, then it will withdraw its donations; banding together with any of the other Five Colleges that feel the same way would send an even stronger message. But we should give them some time to straighten out their policies.

If the United Way doesn’t take measures to ensure that its money doesn’t go toward potentially discriminatory organizations, the College should do whatever it can to continue donating to the other charities that the United Way supports.