Patterico's Pontifications

4/12/2008

Colorado College Sanctions Students for Parody Newspaper

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 8:32 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Denver Post reports on a controversy at Colorado College that involves a feminist newsletter The Monthly Rag. Two male students were sanctioned after they published a response they called The Monthly Bag:

“A satirical response to a feminist publication at Colorado College has landed the college and two of its students in the middle of a fierce debate over freedom of speech.

Chris Robinson and another student at the Colorado Springs institution decided to print “The Monthly Bag” after seeing copies of a feminist and gender studies newsletter, “The Monthly Rag,” in restrooms around campus.

The edition of “The Monthly Rag” that prompted action included an announcement for a talk on feminist pornography, information on gender-bending practices, and a tidbit about a myth involving male castration. According to Robinson, it was representative of what appears every month.

In response, Robinson and a friend created their flier, which provided tips on chainsaw etiquette, detailed a sexual position from Men’s Health magazine and provided trivia about a sniper rifle — what Robinson called information for the stereotypical macho man. Staff members removed The Bag within hours of receiving complaints that the publication was threatening.

“It was a serious concern that this thing was posted anonymously and included in bold print the performance characteristics of a sniper rifle,” president Richard Celeste said. “I had to take that as a threat.

The authors appeared before a conduct committee in March and were found guilty of violating the campus conduct code. In lieu of punishment, they were ordered to host a public forum on the issues raised in the incident.”

The students filed a complaint with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, whose director called this “one of the worst cases of the year”:

“It’s such an obvious double standard. The fact that ‘The Monthly Rag’ mentions male castration alongside an announcement for a feminist porn activist provides the same juxtaposition they’re claiming for Robinson of violence and sexuality.”

The feminist group’s response:

“Tomi-Ann Roberts, director of the feminist and gender studies program that publishes “The Monthly Rag,” said participants in her program were surprised when this situation arose.

“We were like ‘whoa … wow … wait.’ Obviously, there are some men here on this campus who are very angry at our flier,” Roberts said. The feminist and gender studies program has been publishing The Monthly Rag for about three years.

At the conduct hearing in March, Robinson and other students raised concerns about the offensiveness of The Monthly Rag. Roberts dismissed those complaints. “There’s a difference between material that is ‘offensive’ … versus material that demonizes or threatens or belittles groups of people.”

So males shouldn’t feel threatened or belittled by articles on castration?

— DRJ

40 Responses to “Colorado College Sanctions Students for Parody Newspaper”

  1. Well, fiddle me fuddled.

    I was under the impression that “on the rag” was a crude and misogynistic phrase. But I guess being a professional feminist gives you the right to use it.

    kishnevi (3cf898)

  2. Colorado College is a private institution and unfortunately can largely do whatever it wants with crazy speech and student codes as this incident illustrates. Luckily, public institutions are finding their liberal orthodoxy more subject to challenge or public embarrassment these days.

    An essay on the situation from the student newspaper by Chris Robinson, one of the authors of The Monthly Bag, can be found here:

    http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/9099.html

    daleyrocks (906622)

  3. Feminism reveals its true identity again – willing keepers of the double-standard as long as it works to their advantage. Their dishonesty is consistently disgusting.

    Dana (fd88d5)

  4. Dana – They also don’t have any sense of humor.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  5. Well….

    You know, I remember when I was little, my mom nodded at a tampon add and told the story of how horrified her mother had been that such a thing was openly advertised; she shut off the TV, and didn’t turn it on again that day. (This is the same woman who nearly gave birth at home because “her show” was on during the opening contractions.)

    Now? We have diagrams of what “impotence” means, and some female has a story on removing the sexual ability of a man, entirely…and complains that someone talks about GUNS?

    Gah….

    Sometimes, I dislike being a woman.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  6. “Sometimes, I dislike being a woman.”

    Not me, Foxfier, I just dislike other women making the rest of us look bad..and they are mroe often than not the ones making the news.

    “They also don’t have any sense of humor.”

    Too true. The hardcore fems I’ve met are so prickly

    Dana (fd88d5)

  7. Dana — more precise, but when 75% of women (in the navy) give you a bad name… you’re getting into bad joke territory. (I am SO not even exaggerating.)

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  8. daleyrocks,

    I need to read your link but there was this from the Denver Post article:

    “As a private institution, Colorado College is not bound by the same limitations for controlling speech that public institutions are, [FIRE’s Adam] Kissel said. However, they have a contractual obligation because they include free speech as a value in the student handbook.”

    DRJ (a431ca)

  9. From Chris Robinson’s article at the FIRE link, as daleyrocks mentioned above:

    “Colorado College is a private institution, which means that from a legal standpoint it can do whatever it wants regarding speech.”

    Does this mean Chris Robinson has conceded this issue? It seems so, but I can’t find a date on the Robinson article at FIRE’s website.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  10. Ace links to the “offending” flyer, which is here.

    I think the portion feared as dangerous is not the bit about the .50 cal, but this:

    Food For Thought: Female Violence and Abuse are…
    Any behaviour which is adopted by a woman to control you, which causes physical,
    sexual or psychological damage or causes you to live in fear. Physical and sexual
    violence are the most obvious forms of violence. Pushing, biting, hitting, punching
    and using a weapon are all forms of violence. Forcing you to participate in sex is
    violence. Threats are a form of violence.
    Other forms of abuse include: Unsafe driving, destroying your possessions,
    insulting or humiliating you publicly, lying, making you think you’re crazy or stupid,
    controlling your money, isolating you from friends or family, hurting your children or
    pets, blackmail, treating you like a servant, threatening murder or suicide, drugging
    you, creating a sense of impending punishment.

    Pablo (99243e)

  11. Does this mean Chris Robinson has conceded this issue?

    DRJ, I don’t see that he’s conceded so much as he has fought and lost.

    Pablo (99243e)

  12. DRJ – If you poke around at FIRE I think it gave the date it was published in the student newspaper. I think what is pointed out above, that the college believes in free speech blah, blah, blah is in conflict with the provisions of its student code of conduct, the Pathfinder, which Robinson highlighted in his essay. The college is saying the code of conduct governs, while at the same time sating they believe in free speech, a nice trick if you can get away with it, since Robinson was not inciting riot or shouting fire in a theater.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  13. Pablo @10 – That probably caused a little shit storm. I wonder whether Robinson is claiming that as satire or not.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  14. I thought the college made its decision in late March and FIRE only recently became involved. I don’t see anything stopping Robinson/FIRE from claiming that Robinson’s contractually-created free speech rights were violated. The problem seems to be that the college didn’t “punish” Robinson, so he has difficulty showing there is a wrong to remedy.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  15. In the article, the College President stated that the part he felt was dangerous was the reference to a sniper weapon. I need to read Ace’s post but I don’t see anything dangerous about the excerpt in #10.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  16. daleyrocks, note that he provided attribution for that.

    Pablo (99243e)

  17. I need to read Ace’s post but I don’t see anything dangerous about the excerpt in #10.

    It’s dangerous to the politically correct status quo. My comment was metaphorical, though I’m sure you could find some feminists who will conclude that this unfairly targets women who are just exploring their liberty and justifies reciprocal violent behavior by bigger, stronger people, etc…

    Pablo (99243e)

  18. DRJ – The college punished Robinson with a letter to his student file and by forcing him to hold a seminar to explore the issues his conduct raised.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  19. And some day this will graduate to Human Rights Commissions with the force of law. Someone should ask Obama what he thinks of Canada’s experience here.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  20. What would someone do with a degree in gender studies?

    arch (28fba7)

  21. Arch – Get a husband?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  22. The Barrett .50 Caliber sniper rifle has an effective range of 2000 meters?
    How was that phrase taken as a threat? It was titled “Did you know?” It didn’t call out to any individual or group. In the context of a satrical Macho Grab bag flier, it’s a throwaway line.
    No, I am sure it has more to do with the fact that, once again, the White Male was one of the choices in the question of “Who is really off the hook here.”
    The Schools’ response was repressive and against it’s stated position of supporting free speech. The Kid should take this to court as an issue of sexual discrimination.
    Anonymous pamphleteering is supported by the Consitution. Radical Feminism is merely another political view and should be fought against with whatever tools are available. For the School to interfere with the distribution of the material is, ineffect, endorsing the Radical Feminist agenda (which in this case, included a de facto endorsement of male castration.).
    The double standard is so onerous it calls the schools fitness to educate into question.

    paul from Fl (47918a)

  23. someone posted perhaps a pdf of the monthly bag

    Perhaps

    http://www.thefire.org/pdfs/037438c8219a336c347bcc601d9c229a.pdf

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  24. hey dont the high preists of the UNIVERSITY OF KOLORADO beilve in FREEDOM OF THE PRESS? why dont someone take those bunchto court and sue their pants off

    krazy kagu (d982eb)

  25. To this non-lawyer, this seems a simple tort case.
    The College, in their handbook, promises students freedom-of-speech, then violates their own principals. Pretty straightforward contract law, is it not?

    The trouble with Libs, is that when they say “freedom-of-speech”, they really mean “freedom from being offended – from a (currently) Liberal viewpoint”.

    They really are junior-grade NAZI’s, aren’t they?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  26. The Monthly Rag for comparison:

    http://www.thefire.org/pdfs/66b48367dce00830b700437a788de2ac.pdf

    daleyrocks (906622)

  27. “In restrooms around campus.”

    Bathroom reading?

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  28. “It was a serious concern that this thing was posted anonymously and included in bold print the performance characteristics of a sniper rifle,” president Richard Celeste said. “I had to take that as a threat.

    A little confused here. Was it posted anonymously? Or presented by the two students as parody. If it was posted anonymously the school’s president would have reason for concern, especially with the numerous campus outbursts since VT. Because the student’s name is included throughout the article it begs the Q: was the president aware of the ad writer’s name at the time.

    Granola gals (especially in academia) can be hard to listen to. The parody guys could’ve named their piece the Monthly Hag – or the Monthly Gag, which would really bring out aspects of centuries-old male oppression. Last line there, sarcasm.

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  29. I think most boxes of .22 rimfire ammunition have “Dangerous at ranges great than a mile” printed on the flap. Are each box a separate “threat” by the manufacturer? No. The idea that the line about sniper rifles being a threat is fatuous nonsense from a college administrator – but I repeat myself.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. For his next trick, Robinson will burn a Mexican flag and a Hezbollah flag simultaneously. That ought to get him expelled if I read the situation correctly.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  31. This guy should enroll at Liberty University.

    stef (84a199)

  32. stef – Rhey wouldn’t put up with his shit at Liberty University, but then again, they probably wouldn’t put up with the crap those vagina warriors are peddling either.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  33. stef,

    I thought college was a place for students to think about different views. Don’t you think Colorado College and other universities would benefit from having a student like Robinson who brings a contrasting view to the mix?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  34. “stef – Rhey wouldn’t put up with his shit at Liberty University, but then again, they probably wouldn’t put up with the crap those vagina warriors are peddling either.”

    I know.

    “Don’t you think Colorado College and other universities would benefit from having a student like Robinson who brings a contrasting view to the mix?”

    Absolutely. Liberty’s loss. Schools shouldn’t be sanctioning legal speech.

    stef (3b5233)

  35. Schools which claim to believe in free speech rights for their students shouldn’t be sanctioning legal speech.

    Fixed that for you stef. I’d like to see a copy of your protest letter to Colorado College when you finish for their unequal trearment of Robinson in this situation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  36. “Schools which claim to believe in free speech rights for their students shouldn’t be sanctioning legal speech.”

    Is Colorado college a state school? If so we shouldn’t even be asking what they claim to believe in. They can’t sanction legal speech.

    But you’re right.There are schools out there with speech codes that don’t give their students free speech rights. I still think they’re at a loss.

    stef (9b0a4c)

  37. I know how to cure this situation at Colorado College, cut off the Federal funding in all forms to it. You’ll see the Feminists and other fringe leftists leave for greener (Federally funded) pastures.

    PCD (5ebd0e)

  38. stef – Once again you miss the point. Colorado College is a private institution as I pointed out early in the thread, but their student handbook claims they are all about free speech.

    When can we expect to see your letter protesting their actions.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  39. “Once again you miss the point. Colorado College is a private institution as I pointed out early in the thread, but their student handbook claims they are all about free speech.”

    Their loss then if they take this to be a prohibited threat. From the information I see, it doesnt look like it.

    “When can we expect to see your letter protesting their actions.”

    After I’m done correcting all bigger problems in the world, of course. Thankfully freedom doesn’t depend on just me. We have FIRE to thank for taking on the Colorado Colleges and Liberty Universities of the world.

    stef (dfd808)

  40. Most of the anti-feminists posting here know better than to voice these opinions to their mothers and sisters.

    laura (d405ec)


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