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Wesleyan students want to shut down newspaper over criticism of Black Lives Matter

September 29, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Black Lives Matter rally in Minnesota: “Fry [cops] like bacon!”

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

And shutting down the college newspaper is “equity and inclusion.”

That’s the attitude of a bunch of Wesleyan University students who are calling on their institution to defund the Argus, Wesleyan’s student paper, because it ran a staff-written opinion piece criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement in a way those students didn’t like. The offended students are also “boycotting” the Argus, which actually means, as Inside Higher Education explains, that means encouraging other students to “toss out copies of the newspaper that they find on campus.” In other words, to make the Argus disappear so that other students can’t read it.

And no, that’s not censorship:

“‘Don’t think of this as a way to silence free speech, but as an equity and inclusion issue,’ said Aidan Martinez, the student assembly’s vice president, according to the meeting’s minutes. ‘We need diversity across groups on campus.'”

Apparently, the 170 Wesleyan students who signed the “boycott” petition believe that the function of a newspaper isn’t to air differing views for its readers to  think about, but to provide a “safe space” for people who want to be sheltered from feeling offended:

“‘The undersigned agree to boycott the Argus, recognizing that the paper has historically failed to be an inclusive representation of the voices of the student body,’ the petition states. ‘Most specifically, it neglects to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color and we are doubtful that it will in the future.'”

The offending Sept. 14 opinion piece, by Argus reporter Bryan Stascavage, pointed out that the Black Lives Matter movement, founded in the wake of several police shootings of young black men, criticized the movement for fostering anti-police  sentiment that has led officers to fear for their safety in black neighborhoods, and in a few cases to outright violence against police:

“[T] that doesn’t explain Black Lives Matter rallies from cheering after an officer is killed, chanting that they want more pigs to fry like bacon. That wasn’t one or two people. The movement also doesn’t want to be associated with looters and rioters, calling them opportunistic. But it is plausible that Black Lives Matter has created the conditions for these individuals to exploit for their own personal gain.

“I warned in an article last semester that a movement that does not combat its own extremists will quickly run into trouble. The reasons why are now self-evident. If Black Lives Matter is going to be the one responsible for generating these conversations, then a significant portion of that conversation needs to be about peace. They need to stand with police units that lose a member, decrying it with as much passion as they do when a police officer kills an unarmed civilian.”

And interestingly, the first two comments on the online version of Stascavage’s piece came from readers who described themselves as black but agreed with many of Stascavage’s points.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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2 Comments
  1. markkesty permalink

    Where can I get a copy? I would like to subscribe

    • I don’t know how college newspapers work re subscriptions. But you can read the Argus on the Internet. There’s probably contact information about the editors on the Argus website.

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