Easter egg culprit admits to Law School prank

By March 31, 2005

The culprit in a conflict over Easter eggs, anti-Jesus cartoons and free speech has finally come clean.
George Black — a second-year Penn Law student — admitted early yesterday morning to hiding plastic eggs filled with cartoons that mocked Jesus throughout the Law School.

Black left a typed confession note under the door of The Daily Pennsylvanian office at approximately 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The envelope read, "Jesus Christ! The confession of an Easter egg distributor."

In the letter, Black said he was responsible for distributing approximately 40 plastic eggs in the Law School early last Thursday morning. They were filled with four different cartoons that mocked Jesus.

"I distributed these Easter eggs. They were intended as parody," Black wrote. "I have found that parody, like faith, can argue more forcefully than facts."

The Christian Legal Society — a group for Christian law students at Penn — had planned to distribute its own candy-filled eggs last week to celebrate Easter. CLS organizers discovered Black’s eggs upon arriving at the Law School.

"There were a lot of students who were really upset about what happened," CLS President Hea-ther Gebelin said. "We don’t think it’s the proper way to go about a real dialogue."

Gary Clinton — the Law School’s associate dean for student affairs — declined to comment on any disciplinary action Black will face, if any, citing confidentiality rules.

Clinton sent an e-mail to all Law students last Thursday condemning Black’s actions.

"This was done anonymously, under a cover of darkness," Clinton said in an interview. "That’s what I have a problem with."

Black said he delivered the confession letter to better explain his motivation for laying the eggs.

"It’s just annoying to me to have these fundamentalist ideas pushed down my throat," Black said in an interview. "It’s interference with my education."

Black said he had attempted to voice his opinions through Law School listservs and announcement systems but was not permitted because he did not represent an official student group.

Yesterday, the CLS hosted a discussion about campus free speech led by David French, president of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, in response to the egg incident. Gebelin said she hoped to foster an open dialogue about Christianity at the Law School. FIRE is an organization that was co-founded by professor Alan Kors in response to a free-speech incident on Penn’s campus in 1993.

"If [Black is] interested in having a free exchange, let it be," Gebelin said. "We don’t like what he did, [but] we wouldn’t want him to be censored."

Black, however, said the CLS’s reaction has been too harsh.

"I thought it was funny," Black said. "I thought it’d be considered offensive, but I didn’t think that people would have a stick up their ass about it."

Schools: University of Pennsylvania