Satirical Words are 'Violence' in Colorado
by Jessica Peck Corry (more by this author)
Posted 04/10/2008 ET
Updated 04/10/2008 ET
One of the most pressing problems in higher education today: No one in power knows how to laugh. Especially women, and particularly the radical, man-hating sort.
Just ask Chris Robinson, a student at Colorado College, a small private liberal arts school located in picturesque Colorado Springs. Robinson, originally from Maine, has been found guilty of violating the school’s anti-violence conduct code.
His crime? Daring to mock “The Monthly Rag,” a leaflet produced by the school’s Feminist and Gender Studies program, and one in which references to male castration, instructions on “packing,” defined as the act of “creating the appearance of a phallus under clothing,” and an advertisement for the book “Dr. Sprinkle’s Spectacular Sex” were all included.
Robinson, together with a friend who has asked that his name not be used, produced a leaflet titled “The Monthly Bag,” a clearly satirical response to the aforementioned publication.
Published under the pseudonym of “The Coalition of Some Dudes,” Robinson’s leaflet used a similar format, but included statistics dispelling the gender wage gap, a quotation about a sexual position (a play on one referenced in The Monthly Bag), and information about female violence and abuse against men. Most notably -- at least to the college’s leftists, the leaflet jokingly referenced “chainsaw etiquette.”
The satire was, apparently, too sophisticated for the school’s liberals. President Richard Celeste wasn’t laughing. In fact, he sent out a campus-wide email condemning the work. “The flyers include threatening and demeaning content, which is categorically unacceptable in this community. . . .Anonymous acts mean to demean and intimidate others are not [welcome].” Celeste then asked the authors to come forward, which they did less than an hour later.
To reward their honesty, the college charged the two male students with violating the college’s anti-violence code. Both were put on trial, a terrifying two-week process where their accusers were allowed to question them about everything from whether they’d ever taken a gender studies course to how they saw their roles in society as white men. “I was terrified,” said Robinson, a 3.9 student who will spend next semester in Syria studying Arabic and who plans to apply to Yale for law school after graduating next year. “These people had the power to sanction me for something roughly equivalent to hate speech. That’s very serious.”
After waiting 17 days “in a Kafkaesque waiting room,” a verdict was given. Last month, Dean of Students Mike Edmonds found both men guilty of “violating the student code of conduct policy on violence.”
For their punishment, Robinson and his friend will now have to wear the metaphorical scarlet letter, with the administration insisting that they initiate a campus dialogue on the issues brought up by their actions. Although Edmonds acknowledged that the intent of the publication was to satirize “The Monthly Rag,” he wrote to the students that “in the climate in which we find ourselves today, violence -- implied violence -- of any kind cannot be tolerated on a college campus.”
Edmonds feebly tried to justify his censorship by telling the students that “the juxtaposition of weaponry and sexuality" in an anonymous parody made students subjectively feel threatened by chainsaws or rifles.
In other words, Edmonds believes college students are too weak and too impressionable to handle a good politically-incorrect laugh at the expense of liberals who take themselves way too seriously.
Political satire -- even when intended to provoke an active discussion on diversity-related issues, is too scary for insecure leftists who have been coddled their entire lives. Never mind the college’s own “diversity and anti-discrimination policy” that mandates that “no idea can be banned or forbidden. No viewpoint or message may be deemed so hateful that it may not be expressed.”
Colorado College, like schools across the country, has built an entire industry around perpetuating the self-victimization of minorities and women, believing both groups are weaklings in need of special protection and isolation.
The college boasts of its “Glass House,” a “nurturing living environment for ethnic minority and supportive majority students.” The college also maintains its active Diversity Task Force, a 22-person diversity police working to establish “processes for voicing and addressing complaints, and monitoring the effectiveness of these processes.”
In a response to Inside Higher Ed, an online education site, Celeste defended the verdict against the students. “The students involved in creating this publication were found to have violated the college community’s standards, but they were not sanctioned or punished,” he said.
Apparently, being forced to "engage the college community in more inclusive dialogue, debate and discussion on freedom of speech" isn't meant as punishment. Sounds like fun. Maybe the campus feminists can even reenact the Salem Witch Trials while they are at it.
According to Colorado College’s Web site, a year at the school costs more than $44,000.
I pity the parents paying for their daughters to major in Feminist Studies. These young women must be so busy “packing” that they don’t have time to study the great works of Western Civilization. And why would they want to study Plato or Socrates? After all, according to radical feminists, the West has only perpetuated the oppression of women.
At least Robinson has kept his sense of humor. I asked him if the case has helped him get dates. While he is in a committed relationship, he says it has helped his co-author-in-crime tremendously. “Women flock to him like wild game,” he said. “They say they like him because he’s a real man.”
All of this would be funny if it weren’t quite so sad. While the feminist rhetoric polluting our colleges is laughable, its effect on ordinary students -- and especially young men -- is something we can no longer ignore.
*The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) originally reported on this story.