When he says things that he knows
are drastically at odds with reality. Were you
expecting some other answer?
Colorado College, in scenic Colorado Springs, has an inspirational
endorsement of free expression on page 34 of its Academic
Policies and Procedures handbook:
On a campus that is free and open, no idea can be
banned or forbidden. No viewpoint or message may
be deemed so hateful that it may not be expressed.
[If that seems familiar: it's a direct, unattributed
plagiarism quote from the American Association
of University Professors' statement "On
Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes".]
Which is fine, in theory. In practice,
it took Colorado College about 30 minutes to examine
their deepest feelings about free expression on campus, and say: Just
The "Feminists and Gender Studies Interns" at CC print up a newsletter
entitled the "The Monthly Rag." You can read a poorly-reproduced
but here is, I think, a fair
The flyer included a reference to "male castration," an
announcement about a lecture on "feminist porn" by a "world-famous
prostitute and porn star," [the aging Annie Sprinkle
, for those of you with
fond memories of Wild Pussycats
and Satan was a Lady
an explanation of "packing" (pretending to
have a phallus), and a quotation from The Bitch Manifesto
CC student Chris Robinson, and an unnamed accomplice, perhaps taking
that "free and open" thing a bit too seriously, published a parody
of "The Monthly Rag" entitled "The Monthly Bag" (PDF here)
under the pseudonymous "Coalition of Some Dudes".
The flyer included references to "chainsaw etiquette," the shooting
range of a sniper rifle, a quotation regarding a sexual position from
the website menshealth.com, and a quotation about "female violence and
abuse" of men from the website batteredmen.com.
Which brings nothing to mind more than the very old, but very
Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: That's not funny!
As Chris Robinson relates in a student newspaper op-ed (reproduced here):
The appearance of our satire was handled in a manner which in many ways
approximated to, say, the way Wahhabbi Islam hunts down apostasy.
Apostasy, for the interested party, is the ultimate crime in Islam: an
apostate is one who has known the true faith and deviated from it, and
his punishment for this shall be death.
The college opens for business at 8 am. By 8:30 am on the day of
publication, I observed security forces tearing down our satire. Wow.
Who would have the power and zeal to initiate such a crackdown? I'm not
sure, but all I can say is the Chinese Communist Party would be proud.
CC's president, ex-Ohio governor (and Democrat) Richard Celeste
apparently issued a mass-emailing of denunciation aimed at the
parody, and demanded that the authors present themselves for
judgment. They did, and found themselves before the dread Student
Conduct Committee. Relates Chris Robinson:
I'd love to tell you more about that proceeding, but I'm not at liberty
to do so. I will tell you this, though: it was deadly serious. It was an
open-ended procedure which could have led to any punishment up to
expulsion. It was a corrupt and biased proceeding which inspired in me a
terror I've not felt for many years, and constituted a cruel and unusual
punishment in and of itself, which I suspect was its intent.
The thrilling climax:
Two weeks after their hearing before the student conduct committee,
Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students Mike Edmonds finally
to the "Coalition of Some Dudes" students on March 25, stating that they
had been found guilty of "violating the student code of conduct policy
on violence" and that as a punishment, they would be required to hold a
forum to "discuss issues and questions raised" by "The Monthly Bag."
Although Edmonds acknowledged that the intent of the publication was to
satirize "The Monthly Rag," he wrote that "in the climate in which we
find ourselves today, violence—or implied violence—of
any kind cannot be tolerated on a college campus." Apparently, according
to Edmonds, "the juxtaposition of weaponry and sexuality" in an
anonymous parody made students subjectively feel threatened by chainsaws
Which is ludicrous on its face. If it hadn't been the chainsaws and
rifles, it would have been something else. The policies at CC are vague
and arbitrary enough to encompass any sin the administrators feel like
behavior of university administrators in such situations is
overreaction, followed (if necessary) by ass-covering
obfuscation and sanctimony.
President Celeste is quoted at Inside Higher Ed
in the latter:
Richard F. Celeste, Colorado College’s president, said via e-mail:
“Colorado College values and fosters freedom of expression, and in
discussions with students regarding “The Monthly Bag,” has
encouraged further dialogue about freedom of speech issues on campus.
The students involved in creating this publication were found to have
violated the college community’s standards, but they were not
sanctioned or punished. Instead, they were urged to engage the college
community in more inclusive dialogue, debate and discussion on freedom
of speech, and through a letter to the editor of the student newspaper
and other actions, they are doing so.”
Adam Kissel at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's
The Torch, calls bullshit on that:
This statement is false. The students were sanctioned and
punished. Take a look at their letter of
sanction by Dean of Students Mike Edmonds. Having a guilty finding
on one's record is a punishment. Having the letter put in each student's
file is a punishment. Being required to hold a "forum" is a punishment.
Being publicly shamed in a mass e-mail from the president is a
Here's hoping that very bad things—nonviolent, of
course—happen to Celeste and Edmonds as a result of their
FIRE's go-to page on this case is here, from which
most of the links in this article were obtained.