Author’s Note: The author is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. His defense in this column of a fellow Sigma Chi cannot be seen as objective. But, then again, none of his columns are objective.
It’s bad enough that college administrators try to censor student speech that actually takes place on campus. But the latest trend in “hire” education is for college administrators to censor the off-campus speech of their students. And www.FaceBook.com has been one of the favorite sites for the campus thought police to patrol in recent years.
Although this is a widespread trend, Johns Hopkins University has elevated academic idiocy – not to mention childishness – to a Zen art with its recent suspension of a student for an entire year for posting Halloween party invitations that some students found “offensive” in a Face Book chat room.
Eighteen-year-old junior Justin Park is a brilliant student who was admitted to Johns Hopkins at the age of fifteen. But, now, he has been found guilty of failing to “respect” others, “harassment”, and “intimidation” by an institution of “hire” learning so steeped in the tyranny of tolerance that it feels (not thinks) it has an obligation to sooth the inner child of every student at every moment of the day. This feeling trumps the feelings our Founding Fathers had regarding free expression.
The Hopkins Halloween controversy began on October 26, when Mr. Park - also the social chair of the Sigma Chi fraternity - posted an advertisement for the fraternity’s “Halloween in the Hood” party on Face Book. Predictably, Director of Greek Affairs Robert Turning asked Park to remove the invitation because some students found it “offensive.”
Mr. Park cooperated with the censorious actions of the administration by removing the advertisement the following day. But people still asked about the party. So Mr. Park ran another advertisement and Sigma Chi did, indeed, host the party on October 28.
This is when the real trouble began.
The following week, Associate Dean of Students Dorothy Sheppard sent Mr. Park a letter expressing her constitutionally protected, although silly, opinion that the two Face Book ads contained “offensive” racial stereotyping. She also said there were “offensive” decorations at the party. The only “offensive” decoration was a skeleton hanging in the Sigma Chi house. For years, I’ve seen these decorations and never knew they were “offensive” reminders of the practice of lynching carried out by the KKK. But, thanks to Dorothy Sheppard, I stand corrected.