In its February 28 issue, the Second Supper Alternative News, a satirical student-run journal at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (UW-L), published an article titled "Cheney Kills Five Crips in Inner-City Hunting Accident." The piece poked fun at Vice President Dick Cheney after his recent hunting accident, depicting him as a would-be gang member and "stone cold killa." The UW-L Student Association was so outraged by the article that it passed a resolution cutting Second Supper's press run from 2,000 to 60 -- in effect, a deathblow since the journal depends on outside advertising for its funds.
The resolution was a clear violation of Second Supper's First Amendment right to publish political satire. Still, given the knee-jerk leftism rampant on campuses nationwide, the Student Association's decision to punish a gratuitous swipe at a Republican vice president seemed almost courageous.
"Seemed" being the operative word.
It turns out the Student Association had no problem with Second Supper's potshot (so to speak) at Cheney. What bothered them was the stereotyping of gang members. The resolution condemned the article's "racist, sexist, homophobic, ablest (sic), anti-Semitists (sic) speech" on the grounds that it would "threaten the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups." The resolution was sponsored by a grammatically-challenged collection of whiners calling itself "Students Silenced by Privilege."
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened on Second Supper's behalf, petitioning the college administration and demanding that the press run be restored, and the Student Association last week relented -- noting, however, that "directly and indirectly students, faculty, and staff have been hurt by the language the paper publishes."
Sounds like the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is doing quite a job educating the leaders of tomorrow.
Mark Goldblatt teaches at Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York (MGold57@aol.com).