AU “eagle gate”

I wish I could, but unfortunately I can’t deny that this happened. If you live in the D.C. area, you may have heard American University in the news this week for a column in The Eagle, our school newspaper. The original column is here for your viewing.

After it was published, it was posted on Jezebel twice (yes, it’s that low) along with coverage from The Washington Post twice, Washington City Paper, NPR, NBC, ABC and more.  I saw a television station on campus yesterday trying to get people’s reactions to it and I quietly snuck by because it just frustrates me to the core.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WRITE THIS? WHY WOULD THE EDITOR LET THIS BE PUBLISHED?

In my response to the writer, Alex Knepper, no one ever deserves to be sexually assaulted or raped for any reason once so ever! I don’t care if a girl has too many drinks and is flirting with a guy, if you don’t know if you have 100% consent, get your hands off of her! It’s just a part of being a decent human being, but with your ideas towards women, I’m sure you’ll be in jail soon enough…

(Girls, be careful too! He’s not the only guy who thinks this way and if your judgement in dimming, you’re definitely more likely to be abused)

I’m also disappointed in the editor of the The Eagle for actually allowing this column to be printed. In the most recent article written about this issue, she says that she and other editors decided to publish the column because it raised relevant questions and would foster an important discussion. At the time, she said, she worried that not publishing or heavily editing the column would censor Knepper’s views.

Now I’m a Public Communication major so we learn a lot about censorship and Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press since they protect our job, but there has to be a line too and when it that overstepped?

(source)

I agree with Christopher Hansom, a UMD professor who was quoted saying, “the obligation of news organizations is to balance debate with having certain standards of what they believe is acceptable speech. The editor should not consider herself powerless to come in and kill a column if that column falls below certain standards.”

By putting this column in without a balanced opinion didn’t open a debate that she wanted, but just enraged most every student on campus (and the city for that matter). He wrote about a serious crime in the most offensive way with every disregard to anyone’s feelings and as an editor, she should of trashed it, not to censor him, but to show it was inappropriate for his audience. Touchy subjects can be talked about (ummm, I do it all the time on this blog), but then let’s talk about it. Don’t blame girls for drinking at a frat party and then say that they deserve whatever happens to them.

I’m obviously worked up about this topic so I’m sorry if this comes more as a rant than a clearly objective post. I tried to wait as long as I could to calm down before writing such a piece, but as the media coverage grows, I felt I had to address it. I love being a student at AU and will proudly have a diploma in May from a place that does so many fabulous things. Unfortunately to the rest of the public, that image is being tainted right now.

So since I like balanced discussions on here, let’s discuss…. have you seen this story yet? What were your initial reactions and what would you have done?

Oh and by the way, Knepper sticks by everything he wrote and said, “I have a fun time stirring the pot. I don’t mind being hated for my views.” Grrrrrrr!

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4 responses to “AU “eagle gate”

  1. I read about this on Jezebel…it just made me so sad because of how rampant victim-blaming is when it comes to rape, particularly date rape. I was so outraged and disturbed by the comments Knepper made, but at the same time sad because I know how many people probably agree with him. 😦

  2. Woaaaah. I had not heard about this until I saw it on your twitter page. I attended AU last semester through the Washington Semester program (oh how I miss it!) and this just makes me sad that this person has these views every though I know others who share his views. Thanks for posting the link and your thoughts!

  3. Awesome post. As an AU alum who has also blogged about this, I’m repulsed. At what Alex says, but just as much at the editor who let this go. Had it been on a blog or something, OK, he’s spewing crazy talk, we let it go. But in The Eagle, a university-sanctioned paper? NOT COOL. Where was the editor’s judgment?!! OY.

    I’m enraged … and hate that this is why AU is in the news. So much good comes from that school and it’s a shame THIS is what is getting us press.

  4. This AU article is infuriating. It gets even worse if you read his responses in the comment section.

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