NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
The administrative Pooh-Bahs at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have demonstrated once again that they are too cynical, too cowardly, or a combination of both to recognize the difference between "hate speech" and parody. As we reported last fall (see "Send Out the Clowns," News and Features, October 29, 2004), following a hotly contested student election in which one of the candidates had been unfairly branded a racist, a group of student leaders threw a party where they parodied the racism accusations. They took photographs of themselves posing in front of a cartoon depicting the candidate dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb, with a moronic expression on his face. It was difficult — nearly impossible — to miss the comic intent of the drawing. Yet the campus race lobby chose to put pressure on UMass Amherst’s pliant administration, which in turn forced the student leaders to resign their positions. Further, Chancellor John V. Lombardi, eager to defuse the crisis, appointed a special Commission on Campus Diversity to review the university’s climate of "racism." On March 1, the commission delivered its report, titled "Diversity and Inclusion at UMass Amherst: A Blueprint for Change." If Lombardi had an ounce of common sense, he would have ditched it and used the opportunity to lecture the campus on the role and importance of parody in a free society. Instead, he gave it his spirited endorsement and urged that its 15 recommendations be swiftly implemented... Download file "Freedom Watch: UMass Amherst parodies itself"