Another Case of Outrage over Cartoons

By on October 26, 2010

About a month ago, two controversial comics were printed in the University of Connecticut’s student-run newspaper The Daily Campus. One, titled "Victory Lap!," shows baseball players agreeing that girls are really made of "crabs, scrabs, and everything viral," while the other, "Milksteak and Jellybeans," shows a man tricking a woman into having sexual relations with him by convincing her to chase a ring he throws into the bedroom.

In response, student reactions have been strong, producing the kind of debate students should engage in. (The Hartford Courant provides an excellent summary.)

As for the The Daily Campus, Editor-in-Chief John Kennedy defended the student’s free speech rights:

Both comics fell within the guidelines of the current [newspaper] policy, as well as within the rights given to all Americans in the First Amendment.

He later stated, however, that he would suggest that such cartoons not be published in the futureand both comics have been removed from the website. That’s fineit’s the paper’s prerogative to do what it wants.

The best news of all, given FIRE’s experience over the past 11 years, is that the university administration didn’t intervene. According to the Hartford Courant, Michael Kirk, a university spokesman, claimed that the newspaper was student-run and the administration "doesn’t get involved with the content."

Independent newspapers, of course, are free to set and change their editorial policies as they see the need. Yet, if media like student newspapers and radio stations continue to surrender to calls for censorship based merely on claims of offense, a truly free press will be impossible.

Schools: University of Connecticut