Rob wrote earlier about how members of the University of North Dakota Administration were joining the Friday #WalkForChange march at UND to demonstrate their full support for tolerance through censorship. The march, as you may recall, is in response to T-Shirts worn by “participants” (some of whom may, as we are finding out, be students from other campuses such as NDSU) at the UND Springfest last weekend. These T-Shirts depicted an image of a Native American (which looks more like the decals on the side of North Dakota Highway Patrol vehicles than the recently retired Fighting Sioux logo used by UND) drinking from a beer bong with the words “Siouxper Drunk”.
These shirts, unarguably, were in extremely poor taste and downright ignorant. But they are also most definitely an example of that protected speech our campuses claim to embrace. Well, except if they don’t agree with it or it otherwise doesn’t fit their narrative.
Colleges also strive to be a haven of non-violence, going so far as to craft and enforce to the letter ridiculous policies on “weapons” like fencing foils. The NDSU Fencing Team for example, due to the mindless interpretation of policy by the college administration, cannot practice fencing or possess foils on campus because foils have been deemed weapons. Never mind these “weapons” are little more than a car antennae. Apparently, symbolic violence is a good enough reason to ban the club from campus. UND has similar policies which can be found here.
So what happens when a UND Professor and her daughter, who happens to be a UND Law School student, advocate violence in response to the UND Springfest T-Shirts — even if the violence could be construed as a joke or sarcasm? This isn’t a hypothetical. The below was posted to the #WalkForChange Facebook event page by Holly Annis (the law school student) with a ringing endorsement by her mother, Lucy Ganje (the professor):
According to the policy linked above, such words could be deemed menacing, which is “…knowingly frightening or attempting to frighten another person through threats of imminent and serious harm”; or terrorizing, which is to “… threaten to commit an act of violence and/or to threaten to commit an act that would endanger another person’s life.”
After all, such words must be taken seriously even if the utterers claim it was only in jest. Had any other student, especially one supporting the Fighting Sioux name, written them on Facebook (even with the qualifier “prefer” such as above), it would not be surprising if the full force of UND Administration would come down on them like a ton of term papers.
But, in this instance UND’s own policy doesn’t fit their narrative, so it will likely be ignored.
All kidding aside, it is hard to take seriously the concerns of people like Ganje and Annis when their own words are at crossed purposes to what they claim to support.