Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Colorado Springs

I love that little city. When I go there I feel like I'm home.

Many people assume it's a very conservative place, what with Focus On The Family being headquartered there. Honestly, my guess is that there is a very narrow stripe of people in the country who even know that Focus on the Family exists--they're the ones with the bumper stickers that read Focus On Your Own Family.

But Colorado Springs isn't "conservative", it's rather diverse. When I last visited two summers ago, the downtown area around Acacia Park (in other words, downtown) was festooned with rainbow flags. Commercials and signs on buses told us about "the dog that says 'moo'", about being different. Colorado is an independent, Old West kind of place, where, it always seemed to me, the credo was "live and let live".

But there's a fortress of unabashed liberal fascism in Colorado Springs, just a few blocks from Acacia Park. And wouldn't you know it, it's an institution of higher learning--Colorado College. And they're not very nice to conservatives there.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is criticizing Colorado College for punishing students who distributed a flyer that mocked a flyer distributed by feminist students on the campus. The feminist students’ flyer is called “The Monthly Rag” and the leaflet mocking it is called “The Monthly Bag.” When the latter appeared, with its authors identified only as “the coalition of some dudes,” college officials asked those responsible to come forward. When they did, FIRE asserted, they were ordered to hold a campus forum after being found guilty of violating the student code against violence. FIRE called this inconsistent and unfair. Greg Lukianoff said in a statement: “One flyer that mentions ‘male castration’ is not violence, but a flyer that makes fun of it by mentioning ‘chainsaws’ is prohibited? Both should be protected, but the double standard and lack of respect for freedom of speech in this case is simply staggering.” 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.”

FIRE reports that, despite what the school says, the students were sanctioned.

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 punishment.

Here we go again.


KauaiMark said...

I really like the line in the last paragraph of the letter of sanction:

"...I hope [b]you[/b] can move beyond this incident"

I guess that means the university has defined itself as an "immovable object".

Anonymous said...

"A fortress of unabashed liberal fascism" -LOLOLOL.

As a CC student, I can only say: that it is. Nicely put.