A campus free speech group at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, was denied institutional recognition after they screened the anti-PC film, Can We Take a Joke?
The film, Can We Take a Joke? is a collaborative effort amongst comedians concerned about the rise of “outrage culture,” and the environment of political correctness that stifles the ability of comedians to perform on college campuses and throughout the United States.
The Students for Free Thought, an organization at Lawrence University seeking institutional recognition, faced serious backlash from the community after recently screening the film. Students attendees accused the organizers of “hate speech” and “violence.”
A student who attended the screening wrote an editorial for the school’s newspaper, claiming that she was verbally assaulted by a “nationalist” student in attendance.
Last night, I went to a sloppy white supremacist propaganda screening veiled as a forum for ‘free speech and logical thought.’ As it was advertised, it became immediately clear that this was a hotbed for rape jokes, racial and gender slurs. Without any regard for content warnings, these white terrorists on training wheels began their invasive claiming of a supposed community.
“Offensive comedy is one thing,” she adds, “but telling black and brown bodies and that our lives don’t matter under the guise of ‘free speech’ is white nationalist rhetoric.”
The Students for Free Thought group that screened the film was ultimately denied institutional recognition during a meeting of the university’s student government.
Such accusations against both the students in attendance and the film seem unfounded, claimed a Lawrence University administrator. In a campus-wide memo, the university’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Kimberly Barrett, claims that she attended the screening of the film and that she did not witness any of the students in attendance engaging in inappropriate behavior.
The concerns that have been expressed arose in reaction to an event held by the aforementioned group last week. I attended that event at which a film, Can We Take A Joke, was screened. In addition to heartfelt objections to the premise of the film, I believe the need to build these communications skills is at the root of the difficulties that occurred. Since that night, many statements have been made and letters written that underscore the understandable anger related to the content of the film. However, I didn’t personally witness any of our students engaged in hate speech.