News & Politics

Clemson Students Shocked to Learn They Can't Ban Harambe Jokes

In 2016, the gorilla formerly known as Harambe became a household name. The zoo animal killed to protect a young boy reached meme status as the year pushed on, and that meme status became controversial at times.

Like at Clemson University, where an official declared the word “Harambe” off limits in college dorms. Yup.

That decision was overturned, as it should have been, and resident advisors (RAs) at the school were then educated on the First Amendment protections we all enjoy. Sound like remedial training?

Well, several RAs were stunned to hear that free speech really means free speech:

Led by Dr. Leasa Evinger, the Clemson Director of Residential Living, the training emphasized that RAs have a responsibility to uphold students’ First Amendment rights, according to the student, who also provided an audio recording of the meeting to The Fix.

It launched with a video that introduced RAs to basic First Amendment protections, such as the right of citizens to criticize the government. The video also examined the limits of free speech, including harassment, vandalism and threats. A component of the video also addressed college and university policies outlawing so-called “hate speech,” which are routinely struck down in court.

Several RAs reacted with surprise upon learning “hate speech” is fully protected by the First Amendment, the source in attendance said.

And now we see the problem with education in the United States.

There’s no acceptable excuse for anyone here, let alone someone extending their education, to be shocked to discover that free speech means a person can not lawfully silence someone else. None.

The only hopeful thing here is that the surprised reaction wasn’t described as being that of the majority of students. Thankfully.

Forget civics, it’s the simplest of logic. If someone doesn’t have a right to say things you find distasteful, then what protects you if you wish to respond? Nothing.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the educational system failed to pass that information along. The social justice warriors infected the system. Rather than encouraging discourse, they managed to indoctrinate people into thinking that opposition should be silenced. Then, when those kids encounter the real world, they’re shocked to learn that free speech actually protects the unpleasant.

One special snowflake, commenting on the Harambe story, points out the ridiculousness of it all — but unintentionally:

“If I’m being honest, the fact that I have to deal with this nonsense pisses me off, but I know that I still have to put my helping hat on and address these students. … These students don’t seem to understand that these memes can be offending or triggering other people in their community. Their only concern is that they feel like they are having some type of right taken away from them.”

Yeah, heaven forbid that people think their rights matter more than some special snowflake’s “feewings” over a gorilla most of them never even heard of before it was killed.

Educators of America, I beg you, please make sure your students know better than this twit.