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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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218 Responses

  1. Andie
    Andie December 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    Seriously what the ever-loving fuck?

  2. tim
    tim December 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    Sure, that survey was offensive, but I certainly do NOT think that the fraternity should have been suspended. They still have a first amendment right to free speech. And if you do not like the survey, then you have a first amendment right to speak out against it. But the day we start punishing people and organizations for speech, offensive or not, that is the day we start to lose who we are as Americans.

  3. tim
    tim December 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    In today’s gangster-rap music, we hear people talk about people they would like to shoot and people they would like to beat-down all the time. How come nobody speaks-out against that?

  4. Kate
    Kate December 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Jill: Theyhaveafirstamendmentrighttofreespeech,buttheydon’thaveaConstitutionalrighttomaintaintheprivilegesandbenefitsthattheUniversityofVermontextendstothembyrecognizingtheirfraternity.

    Lawyered.

  5. Andie
    Andie December 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    tim: In today’s gangster-rap music, we hear people talk about people they would like to shoot and people they would like to beat-down all the time. How come nobody speaks-out against that?

    Um.. they do?

    Wow. it only took 2 posts for someone to invoke the first amendment.

  6. tim
    tim December 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |

    Ms. Jill, I understand that, but that university is a learning environment. What are we teaching our young men and women about our contry if we punish them for speech, something we, as a society SAY is free. That university is the PERFECT place for students to learn that, simply because some speech may be considered to be offensive by some, you still have a right to it and should excersice that right freely and without fear of reprisal.

  7. Andie
    Andie December 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    tim: you still have a right to it and should excersice that right freely and without fear of reprisal.

    Umm no. That’s not what the first amendment is about. It doesn’t mean you can say any douchebag thing you want and no one can criticize you. It means that the government can’t sanction, imprison or other wise silence you.

    I’d prefer to teach that if you go around saying douchebag things and making rape jokes, people are going to be pissed off, and might not let you play in any of their reindeer games.

  8. Esti
    Esti December 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    tim, I think you confuse “right to speak” with “right to be free of consequences for saying things people don’t like.” The university is a perfect place to teach people that although the government can’t prevent them from talking (which is the sole right to speech guaranteed by the First Amendment), the things they say can and will have consequences — from losing jobs to losing friends to losing your fraternity.

    That being said, I don’t know that I think disbanding the fraternity is the right response to this — I’d like to know more about whether this is consistent with its history or an isolated incident. But I am glad that the frat has been suspended for the time being, which is an encouraging sign that this is being taken seriously.

  9. Jenny
    Jenny December 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Tim, I suggest you do a little reading on the First Amendment before you make these arguments. Spoiler: There is no guarantee that you can say offensive things “without fear of reprisal.”

  10. jrockford
    jrockford December 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    I really think high schools need to double their instruction with regard to the First Amendment, because it seems like I *headdesk* at least once a week at gross misunderstandings for what it actually means, such as our friend tim’s. If I were an alien visitor and took a look at the internet I’d be led to believe that it was written to protect the rights of people making crude message board posts.

  11. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil December 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    I’d like to know more about whether this is consistent with its history or an isolated incident.

    Consistent with its history:

    Sigma Phi Epsilon should know the drill, since UVM’s chapter was shut down from 1993-1997 for hazing, which included making pledges tell racist jokes and describe what they’d do with a stripper whose company they enjoyed the night before.

  12. Sera
    Sera December 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    Fear of reprisal like not getting kicked out of uni for being an asshat? Sure…I might hate that, but sure.

    Free of all responsiblity for what you say, and having your mysoginistic hate-speech tolerated by your body of higher learning? Umm…nope. “Ms.” Jill isn’t saying these guys should be castrated, but having a few priviledges revoked is not against the 1st Amendment.

    (And damn, but do you come off as an ass for your tone: “some speech that may be offensive to some…” Jerkwad.)

  13. George
    George December 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    There are consequences of irresponsible exercising of our free speech rights:
    1. Yelling fire in a movie theater – legal – it’s not “free here”,
    2. Speaking disrespectfully to others in person – they may assault one not necessarily “legally” but understandably,
    3. Racist, Homophobic, Classist etc.- boycotts, demonstrations, personal confrontations etc.

    When will More of Us Men – speak out positively and be recognized Positively for doing Positive things – for women, girls, as well as other men and boys. We do have responsibilities to help end Our Violence, Hatred, and other Hurts that we spew out at others.

    We can also even work to end the violence directed at other Men and Boys – such as has been demonstrated recently at Penn State University and elsewhere – helping the boys – who Don’t Have Voices or Support. Thanks!

  14. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    Oh, FFS.

    They have a First Amendment right to be vocal misogynist dick maggots, AND the school has absolutely NO OBLIGATION to host or recognize the fraternity. The right to say what you want does NOT translate to the obligation of your host institution to recognize you, a blogger to publish your comments, or a newspaper to publish your letter to the editor. One’s speech is not free of consequences–people may react negatively, and some organizations or institutions that hosted/supported you/your organization may think it’s in their best interest to drop you.

  15. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag December 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    I remember a few years ago, late one night, I did one of those things where for some reason you start looking up all those people you went to high school with on Facebook. Pretty much everyone I expected to join a frat had. Meaning every idiot, every asshole, etc. I don’t know, maybe somebody will correct me here, but, seriously, is there any saving grace to this culture? Has it ever been anything but a repository for the type of people that ruin high school, college, and, finally, business and government?

  16. Marie
    Marie December 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    Tim / Tim Butler / Terry Arnold – can we assume you are a member of the pro-rape fraternity given that you are staging a one man defense of the survey around the web? Next time, try editing your post at least minimally instead of using copy and paste.

    tim:
    Sure,thatsurveywasoffensive,butIcertainlydoNOTthinkthatthefraternityshouldhavebeensuspended.Theystillhaveafirstamendmentrighttofreespeech.Andifyoudonotlikethesurvey,thenyouhaveafirstamendmentrighttospeakoutagainstit.Butthedaywestartpunishingpeopleandorganizationsforspeech,offensiveornot,thatisthedaywestarttolosewhoweareasAmericans.

  17. Alexandra
    Alexandra December 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

    I remember a few years ago, late one night, I did one of those things where for some reason you start looking up all those people you went to high school with on Facebook. Pretty much everyone I expected to join a frat had. Meaning every idiot, every asshole, etc. I don’t know, maybe somebody will correct me here, but, seriously, is there any saving grace to this culture? Has it ever been anything but a repository for the type of people that ruin high school, college, and, finally, business and government?

    I believe there are service-based fraternities which exist to do good work in the community. I also understand the appeal of fraternities on large, soulless state U campuses with thousands upon thousands of students. I went to a (very) small liberal arts college, so we had no frats or sororities on campus, but I’m not going to condemn the whole idea out of hand.

    I am, however, going to condemn the idea that the people in this fraternity should get out of this scot-free. Suspending or expelling the fraternity’s U of Vermont chapter seems like a great idea, and I’d love to see the people who circulated the pamphlet do some kind of community service work and have a disciplinary bad mark go on their permanent transcripts. Note I’m not saying they should be expelled – I’m saying they should be treated like adults who did something deliberately offensive, and who tried to incite other people to be equally offensive.

    And I’m gobsmacked by the idea that what any University should want to do in this situation is teach students that no matter how offensive speech is, it will be protected by the university out of respect for students’ rights to free speech. Universities are institutions of higher education, and part of the mission of any state-sponsored university is to shape young people into responsible citizens. Teaching privileged boys that they can be as offensive as they want and they’ll always be protected is not a great way to form a responsible citizenry. And what about the duty of the school to its female students? To students who have been victims of sexual assault or rape? What about the school’s duty to them?

  18. tim
    tim December 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    I’m not saying that, if you don’t like what the fraternity did, that you should not be able to criticized them. Criticizing them is fine. But the fraternity should not have been suspended by the university. That university is a state-university so, in a sense, the fraternity is facing reprisal from the government (or a government institution) for something that the merely SAID. That is a violation of the first amendment right to free speech.

  19. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    I thought the UVM chapter was being suspended by their national organization, not by the university…

  20. Sera
    Sera December 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    ARRGH.

    I am saying this one thing and then leaving for awhile b/c I refuse to get drawn in by an irritating little troll anymore than I already have been:

    Tim: Please, for the love of all things holy, reread comments #9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 before deciding to comment again.

    Gah.

  21. Andie
    Andie December 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    LotusBen: I thought the UVM chapter was being suspended by their national organization, not by the university…

    I think you are right.. so unless Tim is sincerely interested in preserving someone’s right to party and drink beer and make rape jokes as an organization, I think he may be barking up the wrong tree.

  22. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Tim, you’d have half a point if the university expelled the frat boys for this. But UVM didn’t do that. The university–even a state university–does not have to recognize or host a fraternity, and the fraternity’s umbrella organization does not have to continue to recognize them, either.

  23. tim
    tim December 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Below is a link to the AP story where is says that the University of Vermont has told the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity to cease operations­. The university suspended the fraternity­­. That university is a state-univ­­ersithy so, in a sense, the fraternity is facing reprisal from the government (or government institutio­­n) for something that the merely SAID. That is a violation of their first amendment right to free speech. And we can sit here and split hairs all day long, but the fact is the university took action against this fraternity simply because of mere SPEECH. That sets a very dangerous precedent. (link below)

    http://www­.google.co­m/hostedne­ws/ap/arti­cle/ALeqM5­j9jh-jJmtT­kcgdiE8-KU­6xbOURMw?d­ocId=09c9a­c811867487­693ec222ac­bf3ceca

  24. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    So, so disgusting, and yet another reason NOT to trust frat boys and fraternities.

  25. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm |

    Again, Tim, the University (state or private) is not obligated to host a fraternity on its grounds. You keep making the same, very flawed point that has been roundly debunked.

    The frat brothers were not expelled. They were not jailed. The fraternity chapter was suspended. That is the University’s right, even as a state affiliated organization.

    Again: Freedom of speech does not mean a person or an organization is obligated to promote what you say or host the organization that says it.

  26. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag December 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    @Tim

    As someone here already mentioned—and as is linked to in the comments of the original article—I don’t believe the university has suspended anyone or any organization. It is the fraternity itself which has asked them to cease operations. While the issue of free speech on campus and how it effects the use of university facilities may be open to debate, it seems inarguable that a national organization can control how their individual chapters behave in their name.

  27. Katya
    Katya December 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    I thought the UVM chapter was being suspended by their national organization, not by the university…

    Both, apparently. Both the national fraternity and the university appear to be conducting investigations. There’s certainly no question that the national fraternity can suspend a chapter for violating any of the fraternity’s rules or standards.

    UVM’s recognition policy for fraternities includes the provision that If preliminary evidence of an incident demonstrates that a fraternity or sorority’s presence or activities would pose a threat to the health, safety or well being of any individual, the Director of Student Life, or appointed designee, has the option to place that Organization on interim suspension. When under interim suspension all Organization activities must cease. UVM appears to be taking the position that circulating a survey asking men who they would like to rape might indicate a threat to someone’s health, safety, or well-being and has suspended the fraternity pending investigation. The policy also provides that fraternities can lose their recognized status for violating the campus code of conduct, which prohibits, among other things, threats of sexual assault.

  28. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 December 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    I know it is a bit off-topic, but USC’s chapter of that Fraternity has just been suspended: http://www.thestate.com/2011/12/14/2079202/usc-fraternity-booted.html#storylink=omni_popular

  29. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    If anyone has a source that the University has suspended the fraternity, I’d be interested to see it. Unfortunately, I can’t really parse the articles I’ve seen thus far, since they are all written in typical poorly written journalismese. “The fraternity has been suspended…” Stupid passive voice.

  30. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 December 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    See that Tim the Troll is defending a fraternity’s right to make violent threats to women. If a sorority had made such violent threats to men, that sorority would never come back to any university in the continental United States.

    I hope that Vermont suspend the fraternity for a whole lot more than just 4 years. In fact, the fraternity should be suspended for no less than 20 years. Rape is a serious crime and it just sickens me that men would ask other men to name women that they would like to rape.

  31. Katya
    Katya December 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    LotusBen–here’s your link

    The national fraternity has instructed the fraternity to cease all operations, but the university has also placed it on interim suspension.

  32. Dan
    Dan December 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    Tim, your use of the First Amendment defense is an equivocation fallacy. There’s no logical extrapolation of the constitutional protection of the First Amendment that extends to protecting a fraternity’s charter from a state university. Just stop.

    If you truly are evangelizing the Constitution, do yourself and everyone else a favor and actually LEARN about it first, otherwise stop hiding behind a righteous cause and just come out as saying you think this questionnaire is totally fine.

  33. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT December 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    Tim: moron, troll or both? I vote both.

    This is the sort of thing that made me firmly believe I didn’t want to be in a fraternity when I got to college. That I ended up being a “frat boy” is one of life’s little ironies, but that’s another story.

  34. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    Thanks Katya.

  35. Anon21
    Anon21 December 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    So, I don’t mean to be That Guy, but I’m not sure that the free speech issue is as open-and-shut as people are making it out to be. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (a pretty terrible case, but for reasons different than the issues being raised here) makes it clear that when public universities make funding decisions, they can’t discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. That applies with regard to an initial funding decision, and a fortiori to the revocation of benefits previously granted. The viewpoint these assholes seem to be expressing–“Rape is an ok thing”–may be repellant, may even constitute abstract advocacy of a crime, but that doesn’t remove it from First Amendment protection.

    So, to the extent that de-recognizing or de-certifying this frat would have the effect of denying them concrete benefits such as school funding, access to school facilities, etc., I think there might be a First Amendment violation. To the extent it would merely involve shaming the frat and its members, that’s more like government speech, which isn’t subject to First Amendment regulation.

    But, let me put in a plug for the optimistic story of free speech here. If the First Amendment denies the university the option of taking away the frat’s benefits on the basis of its grossly offensive, misogynistic speech, we can still apply the remedy of more speech. Beyond a symbolic de-recognition, outrage and condemnation in the wider community will hopefully shame and maybe even educate these immature little shits as to why this kind of thing is Not OK. The bad publicity will hopefully depress the frat’s recruitment. It may lead to protests, which embarrass frat members and disrupt their daily lives. All of these are options open to people of good conscience who abhor the way these jerks are contributing to rape culture and violence against women.

  36. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    You know, I’m sick of the “combat offensive speech with more speech” crap. It assumes that we all have nothing better to do than school inbred, bigoted misogynist asshats about acting right. It assumes that it’s okay for bigots to suck all of the oxygen out of the fucking room. And then when we do combat violent/threatening speech with “more speech” we get lectures about how 1) it’s not that bad 2) MANHATING!!11 3) There Are More Important Issues, Ladies or 4) Free Speech (because vocally objecting is somehow censorship).

    It is exhausting. I am tired of being expected to school grown-ass adults on what the fuck empathy is. I am tired of pointing out to douchebags like these that actually, yes, some of the women they know and love have actually been raped. And that they’re making light of that. And that these women maybe haven’t said anything because they figured it would be a punchlines to these d00ds.

    And again–no, actually, a university, a company, or an organization is not obligated to host a group. AFAIK, UVM doesn’t fund the fraternities, they allow them to be housed on campus and provide recognition. And really? If I was a student at UVM, I’d be livid if money that I paid to the university WAS going to help support an organization that thought the prospect of me being rape was hilarious or flattering in any way.

  37. Kristen
    Kristen December 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    I think Anon21 is right here – as a speech case this is more complicated than many of us might like it to be. On the substance, however – the whole thing is vile.

  38. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    Also, the fraternity is on interim suspension while UVM conducts an investigation. Never fear, they’ll likely be allowed to stay once the investigation is finished.

  39. Anon21
    Anon21 December 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm |

    Sheelzebub: And again–no, actually, a university, a company, or an organization is not obligated to host a group. AFAIK, UVM doesn’t fund the fraternities, they allow them to be housed on campus and provide recognition. And really? If I was a student at UVM, I’d be livid if money that I paid to the university WAS going to help support an organization that thought the prospect of me being rape was hilarious or flattering in any way.

    I think anger is an entirely reasonable response, but I still think Rosenberger and related cases from the government funding context provide the rule. The university wasn’t obligated to host any frats initially, but now that it has decided to host frats (and give them access to special campus housing at low or free rent–an in-kind benefit), it is not free to revoke that hosting and the concrete benefits that go along with it on the basis of the viewpoint of the frat’s speech, no matter how noxious. (It might be able to impose content-based restrictions, such as no organizations that speak on issues of sex or sexual assault. But, (1) that content ban would need to be enforced in a viewpoint-neutral manner–thus, no campus anti-rape organizations; (2) I don’t think the university could apply the content ban retroactively.)

    I agree that the “more speech” answer isn’t always satisfying, and no one should feel obligated to educate these assholes. I just don’t think kicking the frat off the university dole is a constitutionally permissible option. I’m open to being corrected on that, however, if Rosenberger is not the most apposite precedent or if someone thinks I’ve misread it.

  40. Shelly
    Shelly December 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm |

    Free speech is NOT ABSOLUTE. None of the individual liberties granted in the Bill of Rights are absolute. I find it really amazing how people on the left of the political spectrum want to protect the 1st Amendment at all costs and people on the right want to protect the 2nd at all costs. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what those amendments were intended to do.

    ANON21: So if all the rest of us lawyers and well-read laypeople concede that this may fit the “state action” requirement (that is the first step in a 1st Amendment inquiry), do you seriously think that universities can’t take action when groups say racist/sexist/otherwise hostile things? I’m not saying you are correct that there is state action, but let’s just get that old canard out of the way and deal with the real issue: Should a university be able to censor “free speech” if that speech creates a hostile and/or really dangerous environment for others? Do the frat members’ rights trump those of the women on campus? Cause it seems that’s what you are advocating when by your post. It is certainly the POV of the majority of the people who are on the frat’s side in this one. There’s a fine line between advocating free speech and telling women to “get over it” because “boys will be boys”.

    For the record, the more recent SCOTUS cases and some other federal cases, would disagree with you as to whether or not this specific speech is protected. If it were only targeting a viewpoint because it was repellant, you would be right…but if your viewpoint is that violence against others is ok and you express that viewpoint in a manner that others suffer direct harm, there comes a time when the protection is lost. Even if the only harm they suffer is emotional distress because they don’t feel safe in their environment.

    You cannot cloak threatening speech in the protection of the 1st Amendment merely by saying it’s a viewpoint and stop the inquiry there. A quick lexis or westlaw search will show you that there’s plenty of gray out there as well as many cases where courts say that speech is not protected because it violates someone else’s rights. I can’t say whether a court in this state would have an issue with this particular action by the University, but please don’t pretend it’s open and shut. It’s an evolving area of law. And there are also many state-law considerations that could come into play that we aren’t even aware of.

    Do you seriously think that “more speech” is the remedy for this? That may be true of some types of commentary against women such as “stay in the kitchen”, but when you are talking direct, immediate harm such as rape “more speech” isn’t the answer. You may think that the question was harmless and “just speech” but I know a lot of women out there (and a few men) who have been victims of frat culture who would tell you otherwise.

  41. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm |

    Sheezelebub…that does sound really shitty and exhausting to always be lecturing a bunch of idiots. People who are more willfully ignorant than anything, so you know it’s likely gonna fall on deaf ears. Personally, I’ve given up on such things as well. That’s why when I’m confronted with some sort of offensive remark, I like to turn the tables and start making fun of the speaker. That way I take a situation where I was feeling uncomfortable and turn it into entertainment for me!

  42. sidhe3141
    sidhe3141 December 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

    I know I shouldn’t be defending them, but I think they’re asking it to throw the people they’re interviewing off balance. I know that one I was looking at joining for a bit asked a question about animals for (I assume, anyway) similar reasons.

    And of course, one could hope that they were weeding out anyone who gave any answer.

    Of course, still. Bad question.

  43. Katya
    Katya December 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm |

    There was a case that came out of GMU in which the university tried to ban a fraternity because of a performance that the frat did that was clearly sexist and racist. The court said no–the university could not discriminate on the basis of the speech. Based on that line of cases, the university can’t revoke recognition just on the basis of this incident.

    However, if UVM found that the actions of the fraternity members violated school policy, I think they’d be on solid ground revoking recognition, because in order to be recognized, frats have to agree to comply with school policies, including policies on sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual threats, and hazing. Likewise, if UVM finds that the frat’s actions create a risk of harm to other students. Also, if the national frat suspends the local chapter after their investigation, UVM can yank their recognition.

  44. curious bistander
    curious bistander December 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

    If a sorority had made such violent threats to men, that sorority would never come back to any university in the continental United States.

    hm, with the way attitudes are on men being able to be rape victims im not so sure about that.

    In any case, if they do indeed shutdown the entire frat for this, it certainly sets an interesting precedent for social weapons to be used against groups that one does not approve of. If one wanted to destroy any group, weather it be a frat, a sorority, or perhaps a club, one could simply circulate a racist or sexist joke on their behalf in order to have them punished and attacked.

    I also wonder if incidents like this become “banning offenses” by practice if it will push personal expressions of this kind of misogyny underground. One assumes if the investigations of this conclude with the identification of the specific partys involved, they would be subjected to mandatory women’s studies classes or something of the like. Without incidents like this, that kind of thinking seems like it would be much more difficult to identify.

    As a relatively uneducated person who is quite unfamiliar with the practices of american universities, I am unsure if it is a common requirement for all students to take men’s and women’s studies courses, is there already a mandatory requirement for this type of study?

  45. Anon21
    Anon21 December 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    Shelly:
    ANON21: So if all the rest of us lawyers and well-read laypeople concede that this may fit the “state action” requirement (that is the first step in a 1st Amendment inquiry), do you seriously think that universities can’t take action when groups say racist/sexist/otherwise hostile things? I’m not saying you are correct that there is state action, but let’s just get that old canard out of the way and deal with the real issue: Should a university be able to censor “free speech” if that speech creates a hostile and/or really dangerous environment for others? Do the frat members’ rights trump those of the women on campus? Cause it seems that’s what you are advocating when by your post.

    I think the best legal answer under current doctrine is that the right to free speech right does trump the right to feeling safe. I think that’s the only conclusion you can draw from cases like the Nazis in Skokie and Brandenburg v. Ohio. There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment.

    It is certainly the POV of the majority of the people who are on the frat’s side in this one. There’s a fine line between advocating free speech and telling women to “get over it” because “boys will be boys”.

    I don’t think the line is that fine, and I don’t think I came anywhere near it. You can recognize that speech is constitutionally protected while also recognizing that it’s repulsive and misogynistic and a fit basis to adjudge the speaker a morally deficient piece of shit. That’s what I’ve done in this thread.

    You cannot cloak threatening speech in the protection of the 1st Amendment merely by saying it’s a viewpoint and stop the inquiry there.

    Correct, but the “true threats” exception to First Amendment protection is quite narrow. You would need to show that the frat bros who cooked this garbage up meant “to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” I don’t think it would be possible to satisfy that standard in this case. The question itself doesn’t communicate an intent to do anything, and any responses to the question are probably not threats if they aren’t communicated to the individuals named.

    I can’t say whether a court in this state would have an issue with this particular action by the University, but please don’t pretend it’s open and shut.

    I don’t think I have. I started by saying it’s not open and shut, and ended my second post by inviting correction about the doctrine.

    Do you seriously think that “more speech” is the remedy for this? That may be true of some types of commentary against women such as “stay in the kitchen”, but when you are talking direct, immediate harm such as rape “more speech” isn’t the answer. You may think that the question was harmless and “just speech” but I know a lot of women out there (and a few men) who have been victims of frat culture who would tell you otherwise.

    I don’t know if more speech is an adequate response, to be honest. I do think it’s the only constitutionally acceptable remedy to this situation. I struggle with whether that’s appropriate and correct based on principles of political philosophy. I tend to think it is, but I would never deny that a strong free speech policy which trumps people’s rights to emotional well-being and feelings of safety imposes substantial social costs. I just do believe that, on balance, those costs are worth bearing. Obviously, you’re free to disagree, but it’s actual sort of tangential to this thread, in my opinion. Basically, if I’m right about the doctrine, the university’s options are constrained, regardless of what any of us think about it. From there, we can continue to point out that speech like this should bring substantial social costs in terms of anger and condemnation down upon the speaker.

  46. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    Yet more proof that fraternities are only useful as a holding pen for jackasses. And Anon, all threats to any students at a university should be taken seriously, even if the student under threat didn’t hear about it directly.

    Sidhe3141: Being a rapey douchebag is practically a requirement in the fraternity world. I seriously doubt it was intended as a way to weed out candidates.

    Curious bistander: As far as I know, statefunded universities do not make gender studies a requirement for graduation. I attended a private college where they were required, but then again it was a women’s college. Also, are Men’s Studies a real thing now? Last I heard, they were an internet plot by an MRA movement.

  47. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse December 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    Also, are Men’s Studies a real thing now? Last I heard, they were an internet plot by an MRA movement.

    I have no idea, i simply assumed they existed since I know there are women’s studies programs. The most higher education I ever received was from a 2 year school and I never finished.

  48. Katya
    Katya December 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Not an expert on con law, but it’s quite possible that a university can not take action against a group or person for sexist, racist, hostile speech where that speech does not constitute a threat or create a hostile environment. (Iota XI Chapter of Sigma Chi v. GMU, 993 F.2d 386 (4th Cir. 1993)) The speech was disgusting, and I think the university was right to suspend the frat while investigating whether the conduct went any further than the questionnaire, but if they find that it did not, they might well be constitutionally constrained in their actions. This likely changes were the frat to publish the names of any women named in response to the question, because saying that you’d like to rape a specific person is a threat and would make a reasonable person fearful for her safety and well-being.

    The thing is, the First Amendment does protect speech that is offensive and even scary to others. It protects the KKK marching in a parade, for crying out loud.

  49. zuzu
    zuzu December 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    tim: I’m not saying that, if you don’t like what the fraternity did, that you should not be able to criticized them. Criticizing them is fine. But the fraternity should not have been suspended by the university. That university is a state-university so, in a sense, the fraternity is facing reprisal from the government (or a government institution) for something that the merely SAID. That is a violation of the first amendment right to free speech.

    All aboard the Exxon Faildez.

    Frats are chartered entities, which means that in exchange for being allowed to exist on any given campus and being recognized, they have to follow certain rules that they agreed upon. Quite apart from the First Amendment issues, if this questionnaire is a violation of that charter, it’s quite likely that the university would be entitled, under the terms of the charter, to suspend their asses. In fact, given university sensitivity to issues of liability, it would probably be malpractice on the part of the university’s counsel if that *wasn’t* a term in the charter.

    Which looks like something the university has invoked in the past based on asshat behavior from this particular frat.

    So, if this is true, it’s not “punishment” for speech, but the imposition of agreed-upon sanctions for an own fucking goal on the part of the frat.

    And even if it’s wrong, it’s still probably not a violation of free speech rights. There have always been time, place and manner restrictions on speech.

  50. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 December 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    Sadly, you are correct, Katya. Zealots and bigots (such as those in the Vermont fraternity) will always find something offensive to do. It is incumbent on We the Posters at Feministe to hold their asses accountable for their hate speech against women.

  51. zuzu
    zuzu December 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    Anon21: So, I don’t mean to be That Guy, but I’m not sure that the free speech issue is as open-and-shut as people are making it out to be. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (a pretty terrible case, but for reasons different than the issues being raised here) makes it clear that when public universities make funding decisions, they can’t discriminate on the basis of viewpoint.

    Rosenberger made a distinction between viewpoint discrimination (in that case, denying funds for outside printing of student publications to a student newspaper with a Christian editorial viewpoint) and content discrimination. So, for example, in 2010, the Supreme Court came out a different way in Christian Legal Soc. of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law v. Martinez, upholding a nondiscrimination, all-comers policy imposed on student groups seeking official recognition because the policy was viewpoint neutral AND any student which did not wish to abide by the policy still had access to other school resources such as meeting rooms and blackboards; they just would not be recognized as a student organization.

    Seems to me suspending a frat which is advocating rape is content discrimination, not viewpoint discrimination. Unless one is going to argue that a core value of the frat is rapeiness, which it sounds like the national organization REALLYREALLY does not want anyone thinking it is.

    Besides, even if the university discontinues the group’s charter, that doesn’t mean that the students have no other options for housing or association. They just don’t get to use university resources and university approval to spread their hate around.

  52. zuzu
    zuzu December 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm |

    Katya: There was a case that came out of GMU in which the university tried to ban a fraternity because of a performance that the frat did that was clearly sexist and racist. The court said no–the university could not discriminate on the basis of the speech. Based on that line of cases, the university can’t revoke recognition just on the basis of this incident.

    That was in 1991, and the court found that the “performance,” which was an “ugly woman contest,” was protected because while it was devoid of ideas, it was “entertainment,” and entertainment is protected.

    However, there is another case involving the same chapter of the same frat at GMU, and the outcome is different. Probably because there have been a number of anti-hazing laws put into place since then, and because universities are wising up and making fraternities agree to a code of conduct, the breaking of which can result in their suspension.

    Things have changed in the last 20 years, and one of the things that has changed is that universities have found a way to protect other students from harm caused by fraternities while not actually violating the fraternities’ speech rights.

  53. Anon21
    Anon21 December 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    zuzu:
    Rosenberger made a distinction between viewpoint discrimination (in that case, denying funds for outside printing of student publications to a student newspaper with a Christian editorial viewpoint) and content discrimination.

    Yes, exactly. And this is viewpoint discrimination. The university hasn’t imposed a blanket content ban on discussions of gender issues, or sex, or even sexual assault. (Nor would it–these are important issues that university students will want to discuss, and to form groups to discuss.) Rather, it’s contemplating punishing this frat for expressing a particular, reprehensible viewpoint about sexual assault–basically, that it’s ok, fodder for humor, not very serious, etc.

    So, for example, in 2010, the Supreme Court came out a different way in Christian Legal Soc. of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law v. Martinez, upholding a nondiscrimination, all-comers policy imposed on student groups seeking official recognition because the policy was viewpoint neutral AND any student which did not wish to abide by the policy still had access to other school resources such as meeting rooms and blackboards; they just would not be recognized as a student organization.

    I think CLS isn’t especially on point, because it involved freedom of expressive association and not freedom of speech. The Court uses similar language in both contexts, but the fundamental distinction remains that in Martinez, conduct was at issue, whereas here and in Rosenberger, pure speech forms the basis for the university’s action. Roberts v. United States Jaycees and Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte establish that the government is allowed to do things in the expressive association context through non-discrimination policies that would never be allowed in the context of pure speech.

    Moreover, a key component of the majority opinion in CLS was that Hastings’ policy was not facially viewpoint discriminatory, nor applied in a viewpoint discriminatory fashion. For the reasons I explained above, I don’t think the proposed action of decertifying the fraternity can pass the test of viewpoint neutrality.

    Seems to me suspending a frat which is advocating rape is content discrimination, not viewpoint discrimination. Unless one is going to argue that a core value of the frat is rapeiness,

    I would like to hear more of your argument about why this is content and not viewpoint discrimination, because I don’t see it. Regardless, the “core value” thing is a red herring in the pure speech context, I think. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale suggested that when it came to expressive association, an organization might have to show that the value that it claimed gave it exemption from a generally applicable non-discrimination law was central to its character. The Court has ever imposed a similar requirement on organizations as speakers, though; even if the speech has nothing to do with an organization’s core values, government entities aren’t free to regulate it based on viewpoint.

    Besides, even if the university discontinues the group’s charter, that doesn’t mean that the students have no other options for housing or association. They just don’t get to use university resources and university approval to spread their hate around.

    I think this support/compulsion distinction is good policy and a necessary way to keep from putting government entities in the position UVM finds itself in. But in the pure speech context, the Court decided in Rosenberger that it’s not tenable. When a government entity creates a limited public forum for benefits like funding, space, or communication media, it cannot discriminate on the basis of viewpoint between groups in that forum.

  54. Alexis
    Alexis December 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    Thr UVM student code of conduct is online. They do say that harassment and threats are a violation and that they reserve the right to revoke the recognition of student organizations that violate the code of conduct. That is a contract that students and organizations enter into when they attend the school, and the punishments are clearly stated. I think that pretty much covers the rights of the university in this case.

  55. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm |

    sidhe3141: I know I shouldn’t be defending them, but I think they’re asking it to throw the people they’re interviewing off balance. I know that one I was looking at joining for a bit asked a question about animals for (I assume, anyway) similar reasons.

    I think that is giving them waaaaaaay too much of a benefit of the doubt. These are frat boys, we are talking about remember? It was just earlier this year that Yale frat boys got their fraternity suspended over the “no means yes, yes means anal” incident from last year. Remember what we’re dealing with here.

  56. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 December 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

    What amazes me about these fraternities is that someone (usually parents of the members) will run to the rescue.

    At the University of Mississippi, one frat boy dragged a police officer 200 yards down the street while he was conducting a traffic stop. LEO died from massive head injuries, and the frat boy got 20 years in prison. During sentencing, his frat brothers crowded into the court room, and I read several posts on related forums where parents thought the 20-year sentence was outrageous.

    Always expect the worst from these fraternities and sororities. They will deliver.

  57. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm |

    Does anyone know if one person was behind this survey or whether it was sanctioned by the frat as a whole? That’s the only way I could justify not suspending the frat’s “rights.”

  58. Bacopa
    Bacopa December 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    That is about the stupidist question I ever heard. This frat house needs to be burned down and if that’s not possible, steal their books and jam their WiFi so they can’t study. Their professors should somehow “misplace” their assignments. Drive them out! Put bike locks on their doors. Slash tires. Attack the shit out of them.

    I thought the whole celebrity fantasy thing worked by imagining that the celebrity actually desired you. That’s how it works with me and Katherine Helmond.

  59. Ace
    Ace December 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    I see Bacopa believes in due process.

    Anyway, Anon21 is the only one even approaching the right legal analysis on this. Reading Jill’s posts probably makes NYU’s First Amendment and Con Law professors want to slap themselves in the face.

    The answer is in Healy v. James, 408 U. S. 169 (1972). A public university cannot refuse to recognize a student group based on viewpoint discrimination. This is even true if the college feels that the group is “antithetical to the school’s policies” and it could lead to “ ‘disruption and violence.” Clearly this is viewpoint discrimination. If the fraternity had distributed a document entitles “Sig Ep brothers should not rape” there would clearly be no objection. It is the viewpoint that is objectionable. This, the university cannot do. As the Court said in Healy:

    “Understandably, he found that philosophy abhorrent. In an article signed by President James in an alumni periodical, and made a part of the record below, he announced his unwillingness to “sanction an organization that openly advocates the destruction of the very ideals and freedoms upon which the academic life is founded.” He further emphasized that the petitioners’ “philosophies” were “counter to the official policy of the college.”
    The mere disagreement of the President with the group’s philosophy affords no reason to deny it recognition. As repugnant as these views may have been, especially to one with President James’ responsibility, the mere expression of them would not justify the denial of First Amendment rights. Whether petitioners did in fact advocate a philosophy of “destruction” thus becomes immaterial. The College, acting here as the instrumentality of the State, may not restrict speech or association simply because it finds the views expressed by any group to be abhorrent.”

    Sig Ep nationals, however, are free to do as they please.

  60. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    Oh, bullshit.

    When that frat is spreading around a survey about which woman the pledges would like to rape, when women are targets of sexual violence and assault, actually, it’s ridiculous to expect the university to continue to provide low-cost housing. It’s unreasonable to expect the university to subsidize a group that has created a hostile and threatening environment for a group of students. This is hardly oppression against poor beleagued fraternity brothers–and frankly, the women on campus should count for something beyond fucking rape fodder.

    When your organization has created an environment that is threatening to part of the student body, it’s fucking arrogant as hell to expect the university to provide subsidized housing and other benefits. Those threatened students–you know, those lowly women–help pay for those perks. So no, the University is not obligated and the students sure as fuck aren’t obligated.

    Keep in mind also that this kind of blowback is extremely rare. What usually ends up happening is that women who are assaulted, or women who do not like something men on campus are doing are often harassed, ignored, and silenced. I find it quite telling that the concern is over the free-speech rights of cis men to continue this threatening bullshit, which further silences and harms women, trans women and cis gay men who are targets for assault.

  61. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 14, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Keep in mind also that this kind of blowback is extremely rare. What usually ends up happening is that women who are assaulted, or women who do not like something men on campus are doing are often harassed, ignored, and silenced. I find it quite telling that the concern is over the free-speech rights of cis men to continue this threatening bullshit, which further silences and harms women, trans women and cis gay men who are targets for assault.

    Amen and amen.

    And apologists for rape apologists/advocates are fucking disgusting.

  62. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 15, 2011 at 12:09 am | *

    Reading Jill’s posts probably makes NYU’s First Amendment and Con Law professors want to slap themselves in the face.

    New around here, are you? Good, you won’t be missed. Go pound sand.

  63. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 1:29 am |

    As much as I loved watching Old School as a teenager, I gotta say that fraternities are a whole lotta bullshit. I agree with what sheezlebub and others have said about how the University recognizing your fraternity is a privledge, not a right. Now if the University started expelling random Sigma Phi members or preventing them from sitting at a table together in the school cafeteria, then I would say fascism. But as far as I know no such thing is being advocated. I mean why should special groups of students get special housing and recognition to begin with? I would be pleased if no fraternities had official recognition. But even more so when they are going to get all rapey. I wish the feminist activists of UVM the best of luck in standing up to this manifestation of rape culture. And I like how they are using this opportunity to talk about the problems of the campus in general, like multiple sexual assaults and cutbacks in gender studies, rather than narrowly focusing on this one particular incident. Who knows, maybe they can make some good come of this.

  64. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 15, 2011 at 1:30 am |

    To all you lovely people making this about those poor frat boys and their freedom of speech, Fuck You. I sincerely hope you contract conjunctivitis and genital warts. I hate you as a person and sometimes I fantasize about poking holes in your canned goods so you develop some rare gastrointestinal issue that makes you vomit your innards onto that birthday cake you got from that place that one year,the one that tasted really really good.

  65. Guest
    Guest December 15, 2011 at 2:30 am |

    LotusBen:
    IfanyonehasasourcethattheUniversityhassuspendedthefraternity,I’dbeinterestedtoseeit.Unfortunately,Ican’treallyparsethearticlesI’veseenthusfar,sincetheyareallwrittenintypicalpoorlywrittenjournalismese.“Thefraternityhasbeensuspended…”Stupidpassivevoice.

    Email sent to the student body:
    “The University of Vermont has received information regarding a survey allegedly created by and circulated among some members of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and possibly others as well. The report indicated that the alleged survey contained language that is highly offensive and inappropriate. Upon becoming aware of the allegations, Student Life staff conducted preliminary fact finding, reported the situation to the fraternity’s national headquarters, and notified law enforcement. Sigma Phi Epsilon has been placed on interim suspension today as an investigation of legal and policy violations proceeds, the facts of the situation are uncovered, and an appropriate response can made in light of what is found.
    If you have any information about this situation, please contact UVM Police Services at xxx-xxxx, http://www.uvm.edu/~police/.

    We have heard from numerous students, faculty, and staff who are understandably concerned about this situation. If you need support, please contact the Counseling Center xxx-xxxx, the Women’s Center xxx-xxxx, and/or The Employee Assistance Program xxx-xxxx.”

  66. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 2:43 am |

    Just because this may or may not fall under “free speech” as currently defined (an issue I’m fairly sure doesn’t fall clearly under any of current precedent) doesn’t mean its not morally abhorrent or that it *should* be protected speech. But then I’ve babbled about the fucked up nature of the Courts true threat doctine ad nauseum around here. Consider all of that shit incorporated by reference.

  67. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 15, 2011 at 2:51 am |

    “When that frat is spreading around a survey about which woman the pledges would like to rape, when women are targets of sexual violence and assault, actually, it’s ridiculous to expect the university to continue to provide low-cost housing.”

    um, yeah

    I know it may be hard for some of y’all to grok this, but we are talking about discussion of illegal and violent action directed at specific people* here. Unless the frat boys were instructed to only list women that are not at all associated with the University, this is some serious ass sexual harassment here, at the least – even if the list was never intended to be seen by anyone outside of the frat.

    Neo-Nazi’s may have a legal right to obtain permits for rallies, but that doesn’t mean that free speech trumps the right to a safe work environment that is owed to professors, TAs, and student workers throughout the University.

    Also, there is a reason why those creepy-ass anti-choice sites stay just this side of legal threats, and I’m not entirely convinced that the frat managed to do the same. It’s one thing to joke in passing, it’s another to encourage (require?) your members to put names and actions to paper. Especially when, as has already been pointed out, those kinds of illegal actions are hardly, sadly, uncommon in University environments – and so anyone that does hear about them would not be unreasonable** in assuming at least some of the people in question may carry them out.

    *wasn’t this part of the issue with the Yale thing? That people were arguing they can’t be considered real threats because they were not directed at a specific person? So, where are we moving the goalposts to now, I wonder?

    **unsurprisingly, this always seems to be the sticking point: “reasonable person” always seems to actually mean “reasonable man” – just as it does everywhere else.

  68. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik December 15, 2011 at 4:03 am |

    “I hate you as a person and sometimes I fantasize about poking holes in your canned goods so you develop some rare gastrointestinal issue that makes you vomit your innards onto that birthday cake you got from that place that one year,the one that tasted really really good.”

    not much different from fantasizing about hurting other people in other ways… you do have the right of free speech, but you shouldn’t expect to be supported on hateful messages like this just because there is a general and justified hostility towards frat boys in this thread.

  69. EG
    EG December 15, 2011 at 4:08 am |

    Martine Votvik: not much different from fantasizing about hurting other people in other ways

    I believe that is exactly the point librarygoose is making: it is a “how does it feel when it’s you” moment. Of course, librarygoose does not have the overarching cultural power to put rape-threat defenders in the position of women, who live with the reality of the threat of rape every day and the knowledge that more often than not, women are blamed for their own victimization by the kind of privileged dudes who make up the bulk of frat brothers, but I believe that she is trying to make up for that cultural disparity with the graphicness of the ill-will.

  70. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik December 15, 2011 at 4:27 am |

    and since when did “how does it feel when it’s you” moments become a valid way of dealing with bastards? Does it ever make bastards less bastardly? That’s an eye for an eye logic.

    “but I believe that she is trying to make up for that cultural disparity with the graphicness of the ill-will.” How exactly does this work?

    I don’t want to swing this thread off topic so I won’t respond to further comments about this unless they somehow manage to be relevant to the matter at hand.

    I think the questionnaire is abhorrent, if it reflects on the social culture within the frat at all they should receive more attention than simply being disbanded. I’d suggest counseling coupled with education on responsibility of speech.

    Responsibility of speech, it applies to every one of us.

  71. EG
    EG December 15, 2011 at 4:34 am |

    Martine Votvik: and since when did “how does it feel when it’s you” moments become a valid way of dealing with bastards? Does it ever make bastards less bastardly? That’s an eye for an eye logic.

    Um, I’m just reporting the news as I see it, here. I did not write the comment. However, I do not see as an invalid way of dealing with bastards; making bastards less bastardly is not always, or even usually, possible, and other interests come into play. We’re entitled to rage, and being feminists does not require that we be nice to people who don’t see the problem with threatening us.

    Martine Votvik: “but I believe that she is trying to make up for that cultural disparity with the graphicness of the ill-will.” How exactly does this work?

    Because the impact of an equivalent statement would be lessened by the different cultural context, she ratchets up the impact of the statement in a different manner, in this case, by making the “threat” incredibly gruesome. That would be why I would do it, if it were me doing it, anyway. I don’t know for a fact that that is librarygoose’s motivation.

  72. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 15, 2011 at 5:09 am |

    EG: We’re entitled to rage, and being feminists does not require that we be nice to people who don’t see the problem with threatening us.

    It was pretty much this. I see no reason to be nice to people that have had logical explanations for why this bullshit can and should be punished by the school. The school has no reason to defend or protect the privilege of being a frat, because it is a privilege and that frat agreed to certain standards of behavior.

    EG: she ratchets up the impact of the statement in a different manner, in this case, by making the “threat” incredibly gruesome. That would be why I would do it, if it were me doing it, anyway.

    This and I wasn’t okay with making an equivalent threat because…well it would be a rape threat and just no. Never, No. Vaguely absurd food tampering threat? Sure. Also, really not that graphic in my mind. Alright, the innards thing was gruesome, that I’ll agree to.

  73. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated December 15, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    Good post, Sheelzebub. It’s also worth notinh that the female students whose names were listed, effectively had their educational privileges impaired by the threat of rape, due to fear and anxieties which may occur in and out of classes and dorms. They paid huge money for the access to information in safe conditions. Other women, by extension, are affected by this.
    Constitutional or otherwise, my small town has this on the books as ” terroristic threats” and they will haul the offender off to jail for it.

  74. Esti
    Esti December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am |

    Quite aside from who’s right on the merits of the constitutional question, I think it’s pretty abhorant to blame people for discussing whether the school is legally able to revoke the frat’s standing as a student group. Arguing that the law may not allow the school to do so is not rape apology. If that’s what the law says, then burying your head in the sand and yelling about how terrible the speech was does absolutely nothing to fix the problem. You’ve got to know what your options are, legally, if you want to take action that could actually lead to change (by, for example, focusing your advocacy on the national frat organization, which is definitely allowed to ban the local chapter, if it turns out the school is constrained by the First Amendment). And even if you can’t take action, knowing what the law forbids and why is pretty important to understanding how society is structured and why and how it breaks down in these situations. I don’t like the lack of protection against hate speech in America or the high bar for when speech becomes a threat, but that doesn’t mean I should pretend it’s not the law. If feminists are expected to ignore legal arguments that aren’t in line with our values, I don’t really see how that is going to help anyone except those who want us to fail.

    (And before anyone says it — it’s not like someone derailed a discussion of the harm done by the speech to talk about technical legal issues. Most of this thread was already about the First Amendment after tim — who clearly has no understanding of how constitutional law works — made some stupid statements about it. Blaming someone for coming into an existing discussion of First Amendment law because they disagreed with your interpretation of the law is just ridiculous.)

  75. Esti
    Esti December 15, 2011 at 10:28 am |

    And on the merits of the constitutional issue: if the frat had to sign a code of conduct and this questionnaire was in violation of it, then the school would probably be able to revoke their standing without any constitutional issues. But in the unlikely situation that the frat didn’t agree to such a code, it’s possible that First Amendment would prevent the school from banning it (I haven’t looked at these cases in forever, but my hazy recollection is that there would be a constitutional difference between banning the frat vs. revoking school funding, and that the more evidence you have of the frat causing actual, concrete disruption to the school — which yes, courts define more narrowly than they should — would be helpful).

    That sucks. I don’t like how the First Amendment has been interpreted. I don’t think that “threats” should be read as super-narrowly as it has, to only apply when the threat is pretty specific and pretty imminent. I think that construction of “threat” ignores things like rape culture and intimidation of vulnerable groups and yes, I agree that these types of surveys make women feel less safe even if their name wasn’t on it. I think that not having any exception to the First Amendment to deal with hate speech is ridiculous, and I think that expecting the marketplace of ideas to solve everything is really fucking stupid because it doesn’t take into account situations in which majorities get together and decide to oppress minorities, nor does it take into account speech that may make people feel so vulnerable or excluded that they can’t speak out against it.

    I still recognize that the law says those things, at least for the time being. I’d be the first to get up there and argue that we should CHANGE what the law says, but that doesn’t mean that the status quo is different from what it is. I think it’s a good idea to have a whole lot of conversations about why people have a constitutional right to say things like this, and where we would want to move the free speech line to, and how we should go about doing it. And trust me, I get how damaging non-specific threatening language like this can be. If you want to yell at someone about the problems with the First Amendment, I’m with you. But it’s going to be more effective if you acknowledge what the law actually says.

  76. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 15, 2011 at 10:41 am |

    Except, as has been pointed out:

    1) This is an interim suspension on the part of UVM while the conduct an investigation

    2) If the fraternity signed a code of conduct as part of the agreement for being on campus, this may very well have violated that code of conduct. If in the investigation of this UVM find this to be the case, they would be fully within its rights to revoke the frat’s privileges on campus.

  77. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 11:04 am |

    Sheelzebub: 2) If the fraternity signed a code of conduct as part of the agreement for being on campus, this may very well have violated that code of conduct. If in the investigation of this UVM find this to be the case, they would be fully within its rights to revoke the frat’s privileges on campus.

    If the code of conduct contained provisions that are viewpoint discriminatory, either facially or as applied, I don’t think it would be a constitutionally sufficient basis to revoke the fraternity’s access to the concrete benefits of recognition. And I really doubt that a code that just required the fraternity not to create an unsafe or harassing environment on campus would do the trick. First of all, government entities can’t ban speech solely based on its emotional/psychological effect on listeners, except for fighting words. R.A.V. v. St. Paul, Virginia v. Black, and Snyder v. Phelps are relatively recent cases that make this principle pretty clear. Second, to the extent that speech which would create an unsafe or harassing learning environment are identified solely on the basis of their viewpoint (“rape is good!” versus “rape is an awful crime”), that’s not permissible.

  78. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik December 15, 2011 at 11:05 am |

    “interim suspension”

    I’m Norwegian and I’m not sure what this means. Does it mean that they can’t live in their frat house while it’s being investigated? I’m just curious because some people seem imply that the boys are practically thrown out into the street.

    I believe they should suffer consequences, but depriving people of a proper place to sleep seems a little harsh.

  79. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am |

    Martine Votvik:
    I’m Norwegian and I’m not sure what this means. Does it mean that they can’t live in their frat house while it’s being investigated? I’m just curious because some people seem imply that the boys are practically thrown out into the street.

    I believe they should suffer consequences, but depriving people of a proper place to sleep seems a little harsh.

    If it means anything concrete at all, it’s probably just that they’ve been relocated to different on-campus housing.

  80. Esti
    Esti December 15, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    Anon21: If the code of conduct contained provisions that are viewpoint discriminatory, either facially or as applied, I don’t think it would be a constitutionally sufficient basis to revoke the fraternity’s access to the concrete benefits of recognition. And I really doubt that a code that just required the fraternity not to create an unsafe or harassing environment on campus would do the trick. First of all, government entities can’t ban speech solely based on its emotional/psychological effect on listeners, except for fighting words. R.A.V. v. St. Paul, Virginia v. Black, and Snyder v. Phelps are relatively recent cases that make this principle pretty clear. Second, to the extent that speech which would create an unsafe or harassing learning environment are identified solely on the basis of their viewpoint (“rape is good!” versus “rape is an awful crime”), that’s not permissible.

    I’m not sure this is true. Most schools, including state schools, have non-discrimination and harassment policies, and people and organizations are suspended/expelled/lose funding for violating those all of the time (though obviously not as frequently as they should). The prohibitions on harassment, in particular, extend to things that would not be criminal threats but that schools nonetheless want to prevent.

  81. Medusa
    Medusa December 15, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    Politicalguineapig: Also, are Men’s Studies a real thing now? Last I heard, they were an internet plot by an MRA movement.

    Yeah, they are, but not in an MRA way. It’s more like acknowledging that men are also gendered, and it’s not that men are “normal” and women are gendered. I read this book, and there is also this website which focuses on the role that men have to play in ending patriarchy.

    I can see how the idea of men’s studies might seem like bullshit, but these resources changed the way I think in some ways. Obviously women are the oppressed class and are oppressed by men, but the oppressive class also has a bunch of hierarchies within it, and they affect how men treat not only each other, but women.

  82. Esti
    Esti December 15, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    Martine Votvik: I’m Norwegian and I’m not sure what this means. Does it mean that they can’t live in their frat house while it’s being investigated? I’m just curious because some people seem imply that the boys are practically thrown out into the street.
    I believe they should suffer consequences, but depriving people of a proper place to sleep seems a little harsh.

    From the news stories, they are allowed to continue living in the frat house during the investigation, the frat just can’t conduct activities or host events. I suspect that if it were suspended or disbanded after the investigation, they would be allowed to continue living there through the end of the school year.

  83. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 11:37 am |

    Esti:
    I’m not sure this is true. Most schools, including state schools, have non-discrimination and harassment policies, and people and organizations are suspended/expelled/lose funding for violating those all of the time (though obviously not as frequently as they should). The prohibitions on harassment, in particular, extend to things that would not be criminal threats but that schools nonetheless want to prevent.

    My sense is that many or most schools have such policies, but that they are rarely applied to pure speech, except when there’s also a valid time, place, or manner objection. However, I could definitely be wrong about this, and Rosenberger isn’t directly on point insofar as there’s a claim here that the content and viewpoint of the speech are causing harm to other students that was not present in Rosenberger.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers the 1997 Jake Baker case from the University of Michigan, where a UM undergrad wrote a truly stomach-turning rape and snuff fantasy about a named classmate and posted it on the Internet. He was charged with federal crimes and expelled from the university, and while the federal charges were dismissed on First Amendment grounds, I don’t believe he ever challenged the expulsion in court. All this just to illustrate that it’s a unsettled area of the law, and I would welcome corrections from those who are more familiar with how courts have responded to situations like this.

  84. Athenia
    Athenia December 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm |

    @Tim

    I’m gonna take a gander and say that I’m sure the fraternity’s mission statement probably includes something about being good citizens, people etc. So, sure, it’s a judgement on whether or not they should be disbanded, but condoning douchbagery, is probably not what they are set up to promote. Thus, they might need to be disbanded because they are not adhering to their mission statement.

  85. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |

    From HuffPo’s coverage today, it appears the university did not suspend the frat. They notified the national office and the national office suspended the frat. The university is investigating the frat and determining if any crimes were committed. UVMs conduct code and sexual harrassment policies are narrowly written to precedent so its appears unlikely that the survey itself is a Code violation or sexual harrassment. The answers might be, but only to the extent they communicated a threat, were part of a pattern of stalking, etc. Even then suspending the frat is not on the list of potential sanctions. So all this First Amendment angst is for naught anyway.

  86. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

    “I’m sure the fraternity’s mission statement probably includes something about being good citizens, people etc. So, sure, it’s a judgement on whether or not they should be disbanded, but condoning douchbagery, is probably not what they are set up to promote.”

    According to Sigma Phi Epsilon’s website, its mission is the “building of a noble and pure manhood” by embracing the principles of “virtue, diligence, brotherly love.” Someone from Quality Control and Hypocrisy Patrol might want to have a talk with them about that.

  87. EG
    EG December 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

    Kristen J.: UVMs conduct code and sexual harrassment policies are narrowly written to precedent so its appears unlikely that the survey itself is a Code violation or sexual harrassment. The answers might be, but only to the extent they communicated a threat, were part of a pattern of stalking, etc. Even then suspending the frat is not on the list of potential sanctions.

    Well, that’s a shame. Have the women in question been informed of the names of the assholes they need to watch out for, at least? The link in the OP doesn’t say, though it does include a statement from University feminists situating this nastiness in the context of other manifestations of rape culture and the devaluing of women.

  88. Alexis
    Alexis December 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    Kristen J, do you think you could provide a link to the Huffington Post article? I have the UVM Student Code of Conduct open on my computer right now and I can see a couple provisions that would seem to have this survey in violation of them, but I could be wron in my interpretation.

  89. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm |

    @Alex,

    The code of conduct analysis is my own. What provisions are you thinking of?

  90. zuzu
    zuzu December 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    Anon21: Yes, exactly. And this is viewpoint discrimination. The university hasn’t imposed a blanket content ban on discussions of gender issues, or sex, or even sexual assault. (Nor would it–these are important issues that university students will want to discuss, and to form groups to discuss.) Rather, it’s contemplating punishing this frat for expressing a particular, reprehensible viewpoint about sexual assault–basically, that it’s ok, fodder for humor, not very serious, etc.

    Rosenberger involved a religious group that was being discriminated against because it was a religious group. How is that analogous to our situation here?

    Besides, as has been pointed out, UVM has a code of conduct that it requires student organizations to adhere to in order to keep their recognition. The frat signed onto this, and now they’ve violated it. How is this viewpoint discrimination?

  91. zuzu
    zuzu December 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: Does anyone know if one person was behind this survey or whether it was sanctioned by the frat as a whole? That’s the only way I could justify not suspending the frat’s “rights.”

    My understanding is that this is why the incident is being investigated, and the frat has been suspended and not delisted. Nobody really knows at this point.

  92. zuzu
    zuzu December 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

    Esti: And on the merits of the constitutional issue: if the frat had to sign a code of conduct and this questionnaire was in violation of it, then the school would probably be able to revoke their standing without any constitutional issues. But in the unlikely situation that the frat didn’t agree to such a code, it’s possible that First Amendment would prevent the school from banning it (I haven’t looked at these cases in forever, but my hazy recollection is that there would be a constitutional difference between banning the frat vs. revoking school funding, and that the more evidence you have of the frat causing actual, concrete disruption to the school — which yes, courts define more narrowly than they should — would be helpful).

    You do realize that most of the precedent cases occurred in the 70s and 90s, and that schools have wised up since then and created contracts with such organizations allowing them to revoke recognition for things like this, yes? And that the contracts were drafted with the specific knowledge of those 70s and 90s precedent cases?

    So, yeah, arguing that this is an issue of pure speech and totally ignoring the reality of the situation vis-a-vis contractual relationships between the frats and the universities kind of is engaging in rape apology.

  93. zuzu
    zuzu December 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Anon21: If the code of conduct contained provisions that are viewpoint discriminatory, either facially or as applied, I don’t think it would be a constitutionally sufficient basis to revoke the fraternity’s access to the concrete benefits of recognition.

    What’s the viewpoint, then?

  94. zuzu
    zuzu December 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    Anon21: First of all, government entities can’t ban speech solely based on its emotional/psychological effect on listeners, except for fighting words. R.A.V. v. St. Paul, Virginia v. Black, and Snyder v. Phelps are relatively recent cases that make this principle pretty clear. Second, to the extent that speech which would create an unsafe or harassing learning environment are identified solely on the basis of their viewpoint (“rape is good!” versus “rape is an awful crime”), that’s not permissible.

    Did you read the article which described the question? The question was, “Who would you rape?” That kind of indicates that these weren’t general “don’t you think rape is good? We do!” sorts of questions, but questions designed to elicit specific threats against specific people.

    That’s not a viewpoint, that’s a threat to women at that university. Yet you keep erasing the specific nature of the threat, and refusing to identify the viewpoint.

  95. cory
    cory December 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    FEMALE columnist Abby W. Schachter, who writes for the New York Post, defends the University of Vermont rape-survey fraternity’s first amendment right to free speech (link below):

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/throwing_away_free_speech_YnikCHdqC3h5RxRzDEXO6O

  96. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    zuzu:
    Did you read the article which described the question? The question was, “Who would you rape?” That kind of indicates that these weren’t general “don’t you think rape is good? We do!” sorts of questions, but questions designed to elicit specific threats against specific people.

    1) The question itself, though, isn’t a threat. And it does communicate viewpoints. One, which I’ve said several times, is “Rape is good,” or at the least, “Rape is not bad.” Another would be the belief that frat boys (or frat applicants?) want to rape people. The first viewpoint is abhorrent, but it’s still a viewpoint.

    2) The best reading of Virginia v. Black is that “true threats” require subjective intent on the part of the speaker “to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” You’ve got specificity, but subjective intent to communicate the possibility of actual unlawful violence wouldn’t be satisfied by simply providing a name.

    That’s not a viewpoint, that’s a threat to women at that university. Yet you keep erasing the specific nature of the threat, and refusing to identify the viewpoint.

    I really do think I’ve identified the viewpoint several times in this thread. I don’t think you’ve grappled with why “rape is good” is not a viewpoint, or why it wasn’t what was communicated by the question on the survey (as opposed to individuals’ responses to the question).

  97. Alexis
    Alexis December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Kristen J., i was talking about the provisions under “Offenses Against Persons”. Specifically item 2 in that section, which states that their definitions of threats or verbal/written abuse are not restricted to exceptions of the First Amendment and that speech or written language that “has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or demeaning environment that substantially interferes with another’s ability to participate in or realize the benefits of educational or employment opportunities, peaceful enjoyment of residence or physical security” violates the code. Though I suppose there could be a lot of haggling over the line there. Thanks for the answer!

  98. Esti
    Esti December 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm |

    zuzu: You do realize that most of the precedent cases occurred in the 70s and 90s, and that schools have wised up since then and created contracts with such organizations allowing them to revoke recognition for things like this, yes? And that the contracts were drafted with the specific knowledge of those 70s and 90s precedent cases?
    So, yeah, arguing that this is an issue of pure speech and totally ignoring the reality of the situation vis-a-vis contractual relationships between the frats and the universities kind of is engaging in rape apology.

    Jesus Christ. I do in fact realize those things, which you would know if you had read the part of my post that you quoted. It said:

    And on the merits of the constitutional issue: if the frat had to sign a code of conduct and this questionnaire was in violation of it, then the school would probably be able to revoke their standing without any constitutional issues. But in the unlikely situation that the frat didn’t agree to such a code, it’s possible that First Amendment would prevent the school from banning it.

    In other words: most schools have found a way to deal with this type of situation by instituting codes of conduct. But if the code of conduct doesn’t apply to this type of survey — and I haven’t read UVM’s code, but Kristen seems to think there’s at least an argument this wouldn’t be covered — then whether the school is prohibited from punishing the frat because of the first Amendment seems pretty damn relevant to me.

    But by all means, continue to jump down people’s throats for wanting to discuss how the Constitution constrains the school from acting. That’s a totally productive way to, say, prevent people from figuring out whether the only way to fix this is to lobby UVM to change its code of conduct.

  99. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    @Alexis,

    I think the double negative ther may be tripping you up (lawyers making shit too complicated since Infinity BC): “Threating or causing non-physical abuse of…another person, including, but not limited to, verbal or written statements that constitute a form of expression NOT protected by the First Amendment, such as obsenities, fighting word, or defamation.”

    So said in non-lawyer: Threatening or abusing people except through protected speech.

  100. Alexis
    Alexis December 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    But doesn’t it say not limited to those not covered? So not limited to defamation, fighting words, etc.? To be fair, I’ve only taken one Con Law class but I am an English major and I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’m sure you’re probably completely correct.

  101. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    “Including, but not limited to” means the same as “for example”…so Threats, for example writings not protected by the First Amendment. Since protected speech was specifically carved out of the example specifying the types of speech that is interpreted as an exclusion applicable to all speech.

    As an example, “Go buy this weeks groceries, including but not limited to pretzels not manufactured by Snyders” is interpreted as buy groceries, buy pretzels, don’t by Snyder’s pretzels.

    Shorter, lawyers don’t speak English. ;)

    (Soon you’ll meet the whereas clause and your head may explode.)

    /derail on beloved topic on contract construction

  102. Alexis
    Alexis December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Well this has been very educational. Thanks a lot for clearing that up!

  103. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    Martine Votvik:I believe they should suffer consequences, but depriving people of a proper place to sleep seems a little harsh.

    Doesn’t seem at all harsh to me. It might actually do those privileged douches a world of good.

  104. Katya
    Katya December 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    Can we please stop suggesting that people who are discussing whether or not the First Amendment might prevent the school from revoking the frat’s recognition are ipso facto rape apologists? With an exception or two, I think the posters discussing the legal issue are engaged in a good-faith discussion of the law, and none of them question that the survey at issue is abhorrent and disgusting. I think several of us have made the point that if the survey was conduct in violation of UVM’s code of student conduct, the university would be able to and justified in yanking the frat’s recognition. But I’ve looked at the code, and it’s not clear that the frat did violate it. There are a couple of provisions that ban sexual harassment and sexual assault and sexual threats, but it’s not obvious that the survey violates those provisions as they are written.

    As far as I can tell from the news coverage, no actual women were named in response to the survey. If they were, I think we’re into actual threat territory, which would mean that the university should have no legal problem yanking recognition. If they weren’t, it’s murkier. That’s what people are discussing, and it does not seem to me that saying that the university may be constrained by the First Amendment in responding to this incident is apologizing for rape.

    It’s perfectly clear that the national fraternity can suspend or yank these guys’ charter, which would result in the university being contractually entitled (and probably obligated) to pull its recognition, and I think that most of us discussing the legal issues probably agree that the national fraternity should do that. We also probably agree that if the frat as a whole sponsored this survey (versus one or two guys doing it on their own without approval from the leadership) they are 100 percent wrong and we would love to see the university impose strong sanctions. We’re just debating what those sanctions might legally be, based on, at least in my case, what I’ve read of the university’s recognition policy and code of conduct.

    Again, the First Amendment protects some truly nasty speech. It protects the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests at funerals, it protects the KKK marching in parades, it protects a lot of speech that is abhorrent and disgusting and wrong. To debate whether someone has a First Amendment right to say something is not to condone or endorse that speech.

  105. Rosie
    Rosie December 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    tim:
    Ms.Jill,Iunderstandthat,butthatuniversityisalearningenvironment.Whatareweteachingouryoungmenandwomenaboutourcontryifwepunishthemforspeech,somethingwe,asasocietySAYisfree.ThatuniversityisthePERFECTplaceforstudentstolearnthat,simplybecausesomespeechmaybeconsideredtobeoffensivebysome,youstillhavearighttoitandshouldexcersicethatrightfreelyandwithoutfearofreprisal.

    I go to UVM. What message would it be if the university allowed this rape culture to continue, and even excused it? It’s appalling and revolting. Free speech is fine and dandy but perpetuating rape and allowing fraternities to go unscathed with this kind of thing is inexcusable. I think UVM is taking the right course of action.

  106. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    Here’s a solution: UVM could just close down all its fraternities and sororities. Why should these groups be getting special, subsidized housing at a time when the University is having to cut back across the board, including eliminating many important classes? There. Creepy frat ceases to exist. No viewpoint discrimination. Problem solved.

  107. D.A.R.
    D.A.R. December 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    If only all pearl clutching rape apologists *ahem* I mean “pure speech protectors would simply take a “Bong Hit 4 JESUS” and replace “illegal drugs” language in the opinion with rape/sexual assault…

    To all the (young)Ls showing out: remeber all sorts of compelling, interesting, and uncomfortable arguments can be constructed under the law and that is the terrible beauty of our art. What we create with our design and craft with our tools and release into the world defines us, as surely as any artist is defined by their medium, genre, or school/style. We don’t lawyer in a vacuum because we don’t live in one. On paper you think youre all constitutional jurisprudence, but out your face -it’s all rape apology entitled sounding douchery.
    In closing, remeber Shepard is your friend and context is everything.

  108. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    Katya: Can we please stop suggesting that people who are discussing whether or not the First Amendment might prevent the school from revoking the frat’s recognition are ipso facto rape apologists?

    No, no we can’t, not when they have shifted the focus of this thread from the threat these frat boys pose to both specific and general groups of women on campus to adamantly defending the right of the frat boys to threaten these women. If you go back, you’ll note I didn’t call them rape apologists, I called them “apologists for rape apologists and/or rape advocates,” meaning the most important thing to them is the right for rape apologists/rape advocates to threaten women, far more than the actual women this questionaire poses a threat to.

    AND, protests at funerals or rallies are way different than “who you would you like to rape.”

    So no, thank you very much, take your “we” and speak for yourself instead.

  109. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Martine Votvik:I believe they should suffer consequences, but depriving people of a proper place to sleep seems a little harsh.

    Doesn’t seem at all harsh to me. It might actually do those privileged douches a world of good.

    Thank you, there are not enough tiny violins in this world to make a big enough orchestra for those poooooor frat boys who are worst might need to get a hotel room or something, temporarily.

  110. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm |

    Annaleigh: Thank you, there are not enough tiny violins in this world to make a big enough orchestra for those poooooor frat boys who are worst might need to get a hotel room or something, temporarily.

    This should read, “who at worst might need…”

    But of course they are “worst” too.

  111. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik December 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm |

    politicalguineapig-

    “Doesn’t seem at all harsh to me. It might actually do those privileged douches a world of good.”

    Again I’m not sure how this really works in the US. But, 1, not everybody in the fraternity are equally responsible for this. 2, not everybody of them will have the same economical ability to deal with it. Or is it only trust fund guys who get into frats?

  112. cory
    cory December 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    Annaleigh: No,nowecan’t,notwhentheyhaveshiftedthefocusofthisthreadfromthethreatthesefratboysposetobothspecificandgeneralgroupsofwomenoncampustoadamantlydefendingtherightofthefratboystothreatenthesewomen.Ifyougoback,you’llnoteIdidn’tcallthemrapeapologists,Icalledthem“apologistsforrapeapologistsand/orrapeadvocates,”meaningthemostimportantthingtothemistherightforrapeapologists/rapeadvocatestothreatenwomen,farmorethantheactualwomenthisquestionaireposesathreatto.

    AND,protestsatfuneralsorralliesarewaydifferentthan“whoyouwouldyouliketorape.”

    Sono,thankyouverymuch,takeyour“we”andspeakforyourselfinstead.

    umm, aren’t we being a bit melodramatic, here?

  113. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    cory: umm, aren’t we being a bit melodramatic, here?

    Was I talking to you? No.

  114. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm |

    The bottom line is we need to remember that the members of this fraternity are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. The investigation is still on-going. Nothing has been proven, yet. Remember, these are young people. And young people can make mistakes.

  115. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    umm, aren’t we being a bit melodramatic, here?

    Hysterical as well. After all, what reasonable person would actually feel threatened if they found out their name was one of the responses?

  116. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    jennygadget: Hysterical as well. After all, what reasonable person would actually feel threatened if they found out their name was one of the responses?

    Not to mention the tired old crap of digging up some random female newspaper columnist to “cancel out” that of any other woman, especially the women who are actually on the campus. Rosie says she goes to UVM, and she wants something done about the frat boys. If we’re using a solitary woman’s opinion to invalidate every other woman’s thoughts on this issue, I’d say Rosie’s might invalidate the columnist’s. But what do I know, I’m just a melodramatic female. ;)

  117. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    D.A.R.: If only all pearl clutching rape apologists *ahem* I mean “pure speech protectors would simply take a “Bong Hit 4 JESUS” and replace “illegal drugs” language in the opinion with rape/sexual assault…

    High school. Or was law school so long ago that you forgot the standards are different in university settings?

  118. Hysterical Bitch
    Hysterical Bitch December 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    what’s the concern, ladies? no REAL women were mentioned. I’m sure it was all like “I would totes rape Barbie!”
    On another note, could they be shut down under Title IX? Granted that just means that the federal gov could pull funding but wouldn’t that put pressure on the school to get people to cut this out right quick?

  119. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm |

    ron: The bottom line is we need to remember that the members of this fraternity are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. The investigation is still on-going. Nothing has been proven, yet. Remember, these are young people. And young people can make mistakes.

    Oh, FFS. Indeed, we should simply never express our opinions about a fucking survey (oh! censor ourselves) until a full trial has been conducted.

  120. EG
    EG December 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    ron: The bottom line is we need to remember that the members of this fraternity are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. The investigation is still on-going. Nothing has been proven, yet. Remember, these are young people. And young people can make mistakes.

    No. I am only required to consider them innocent until proven guilty if they have been brought up on criminal charges and I am sitting in a jury box. Even then, I can consider them what I like, as long as I base my guilty/not guilty decision on the standard of innocent until proven guilty. They are rape-enabling assholes. That’s not a mistake. That’s misogyny.

    I myself was young and made mistakes, once upon a time. But I never fucking threatened to rape anybody.

    cory: umm, aren’t we being a bit melodramatic, here?

    By being angry about young men who feel that they can make rape threats with impunity as part of their bonding experience? No, “we” are not. What do you feel is an appropriate response to that, pray tell? Laughing it off?

    Martine Votvik: Or is it only trust fund guys who get into frats?

    Honestly? The odds are strong that the vast majority of them have no money worries.

  121. j.
    j. December 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |

    Ace is probably some douche from Above The Law.

    I’m amused at Timmy’s condescending attempts to explain a basic of American law to an attorney. I doubt it’s crossed his mind that “pussy” can get law degrees these days.

    Also, Bacopa and librarygoose? I’d love to buy both of you a round of drinks.

    Martine, go clutch your pearls somewhere else.

    Cory, women can be misogynists too. Just because a woman says it doesn’t give it feminist cred, unless you’re a moron who thinks feminism is “the battle of the sexes” rather than about fighting a system of oppression that harms men as well as oppresses women. Also, I wouldn’t even let my cat shit on the NY Post.

  122. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

    j. . .you mean to tell me that the fact I’ve based my entire political philosophy upon the holy words of Sarah Palin (and before that Ann Coulter) is NOT going to give me the feminist cred I desperately crave.

    Damnit.

  123. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    Folks, what’s coming to light with regard to this story is that this whole thing was done by ONE member of that fraternity. The kid is not in any position of leadership, whatsoever, as far as that fraternity goes. It was NEVER sanctioned byt the fraternity leadership. The fraterntiy leadership didn’t even know anything about it. So, everyone here is going to feel SO VERY SILLY for TOTALING OVER-REACTING TO THIS WHOLE THING!!!

  124. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    Attention Dudely Dudes coming to defend the frat boys:

    Holding the caps lock down does not make them truer. It does not make a “FEMALE” NY Post columnist’s views more important than those of her fellow women, and telling the ladybranes in all caps that we will all feel so silly later on does not make that any more likely.

    Thank you, drive through.

  125. Hysterical Bitch
    Hysterical Bitch December 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm |

    God, ron, your unsubstantiated claims have made me realize the errors of my ways. That one guy must just be a total ninja rapist-in-training who Completely On His Own tricked all of those other dudes into admitting they would totally rape some women (no fatties, though, cause eewwwwww!!!). I’m sure the women named are just uppity bitches who deserve it.
    This in no way reflects on the general mindset of the fraternity and all those other dudes are just boy scout leaders or assistant coaches.

  126. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm |

    Oh yes…its COMPLETELY unreasonable to think that a frat that was previously suspended for racist “jokes” and asking pledges to describe how they would treat an exotic dancer would support a survey that asks who people would like to rape.

    Completely unreasonable.

    Also, I’ll believe that shit when I see the official investigation report.

  127. Hysterical Bitch
    Hysterical Bitch December 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    *error

  128. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm |

    ron: So, everyone here is going to feel SO VERY SILLY for TOTALING OVER-REACTING TO THIS WHOLE THING!!!

    Was the irony here intentional Ron? I mean, it is pretty silly to overreact to something. But what do you call using three exclamation points and the words “so,” “very,” and “[totally]” in the same sentence?

  129. D.A.R.
    D.A.R. December 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    Anon21: High school. Or was law school so long ago that you forgot the standards are different in university settings?

    Oh.YOU.Are.SO.Precious!
    So that’s it? A douchy ageist comment that speaks volumes about all you don’t know…heh.
    Law school must be REALLY new for you, huh? Or is it the unadmitted to first choice law school/can’t get on law review/can’t get an internship/can’t believe THAT was my R&W memo grade blues? Whatever it is you better get some ointment on that chaffing – stat!

    You’re cute I must say. So enlighten us all and explain how those differing standards would change the court’s reasoning in Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007) [aka Bong Hits for Jesus] were the fact pattern from UVM presented instead?
    Care to opine on how Justice Roberts’ 3 part analysis should be applied to this case or how it shouldn’t? You laughably cite to Brandenburg v Ohio upthread – care to intersect that with that massive knowledge of Higher Ed law you so incisively wield?

    Your laughably shallow analysis and narrow vision telegraphs your bias and your utter lack of understanding regarding the substantive issues. Your sad little jab hurt my lawyerly lady feelings BE NICE. *head pat* Careful your rape apology is showing!

  130. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |

    Oh.YOU.Are.SO.Precious!

    You know, it’s possible to make an argument without trying to get in the running for Feministe’s Next Top Troll.

  131. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm |

    LotusBen: Was the irony here intentional Ron? I mean, it is pretty silly to overreact to something. But what do you call using three exclamation points and the words “so,” “very,” and “[totally]” in the same sentence?

    I don’t know that I’d call it irony as much as a desperate additional attempt at apologism since “kids make mistakes” didn’t go over so well.

  132. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |

    Look, I’m down with the ladies causes, and all that stuff. I’m just saying let’s not use a bunch of kids to hang the whole feminist-thing on. Every one of us has been young. Every one of us has done something unwise in our youth.

  133. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    Martine:
    1. Like-minded men tend to be drawn together, especially in organizations like fraternities. There might possibly be one or two guys who weren’t cool with this. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
    2. I wouldn’t say trust fund babies, but most people who join frats aren’t exactly hurting for money. Frats aren’t free, after all.

    Annaleigh: You’re welcome. Love the line about tiny violins, although an orchestra of kazoos might be more appropriate.

    Ron: Unfortunately, those who are rapey douches don’t grow out of being rapey. Those 19-23 year old creeps grow into 25 year old graduate creeps. Heck, even now, I wouldn’t date a guy my age if he said he’d been in a fraternity.

  134. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm |

    Well, yeah, Annaleigh. . .maybe it is merely ironic in the “Alanis Morisette” sense. Still, as you point out, it did sound a little desperate. Perhaps Ron should compose himself in order to prevent any further dreaded overreactions from occurring, from himself or from others.

  135. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Cool guys, Ron is down! Shots of Yeger for everybody!

  136. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |

    “Every one of us has been young.”

    You know who else is still young, asshole? (a large percentage of) The female students whose fees and tuition go to support this particular bastion of youthiness.

    You know who else is probably young? A non-trivial number of the women who A) have to deal with these assholes in person, B) were listed as responses, and C) both.

    As has been mentioned elsewebs recently, one of the more frustrating things about this “boys will be boys” nonsense is the way that it completely ignores the fact that the target of such boys’ idiocy, disrespect, and violence are overwhelmingly the same age as these boys or younger.

    I do make allowances for youth, Mr. Rape Apologist. I don’t expect girls and young women to have to deal with this crap all by themselves.

  137. D.A.R.
    D.A.R. December 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    FashionablyEvil: You know, it’s possible to make an argument without trying to get in the running for Feministe’s Next Top Troll.

    Let’s hear it for the tone argument! Guaranteed to put a lady in her place. But of course Anon21’s response wasnt’ trolling at all. Yep. Noted. Next time speak up for us old ladies that are so desperately hard of hearing and riddled with mad cow sose we can’t remember the little red law school and all them complicated words and such.

  138. cathy
    cathy December 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    when frat members answered that question, they were expressing their willingness to commit a crime. even named their victim. The university should go even further than banning the fraternity–they should seize all the answers given and note if any of the names are of university students. And if possible, they should warn those individuals about whoever expressed a desire to rape them. if some guy wrote “I want to rape my roommate’s girlfriend” then, by God, she needs to stay the hell away from him….(note to all the fraternity sympathizers: this is the university’s “freedom of speech”)

  139. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    ron: Look, I’m down with the ladies causes, and all that stuff. I’m just saying let’s not use a bunch of kids to hang the whole feminist-thing on. Every one of us has been young. Every one of us has done something unwise in our youth.

    Yeah, because those young women being threatened at UVM are totes neither young, nor are kids and are undeserving of any consideration!

    Let me say as a college student and a sexual assault survivor, go fuck yourself.

  140. Hysterical Bitch
    Hysterical Bitch December 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    ron: Look,I’mdownwiththeladiescauses,andallthatstuff.I’mjustsayinglet’snotuseabunchofkidstohangthewholefeminist-thingon.Everyoneofushasbeenyoung.Everyoneofushasdonesomethingunwiseinouryouth.

    Haha. I know! Like, remember that time we set fire to that cat to see what happened? Good times, good times. Kids, amirite!
    Now that I’m older and wiser I just advocate for people that think sexually assaulting fellow human beings is Totally OK!
    I mean who hasn’t made the mistake of pushing down little old ladies and stealing their purses? It was just that one time and she only broke one hip.
    You guys are so judgy and you’re going to alienate an ally like ron with all your opinions! Like wanting to go to college without the possibility of some jerk trying to rape you! We already have the vote, what more could we want?

  141. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    LOL Hysterical Bitch. You need to work for The Onion.

  142. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    According to USA Today, the fraternity’s suspension simply means:

    “The suspension means the chapter cannot conduct fraternity activities without someone from the university administration or the fraternity’s national headquarters present, said Annie Stevens, associate vice president for student and campus life. How else the university responds is still unclear, she said.”

    So, effectively, the fraternity can still conduct its business, they just have to be chaperoned for the time being. I think the university realized that to REALLY suspend the fraternity, as in completely close them on campus for a period of time, simply because of this rape-survey, would violate their first amendment rights. Here is the link to the USA Today article
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-12-15/fraternity-rape-survey/51989314/1

  143. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    D.A.R.: You’re cute I must say. So enlighten us all and explain how those differing standards would change the court’s reasoning in Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007) [aka Bong Hits for Jesus] were the fact pattern from UVM presented instead?

    I’m sorry, but have you even read Morse? How about skimmed the headnotes? The majority is at pains to emphasize that the standards that apply in secondary education environments are entirely different from normal First Amendment doctrine. Five times, Roberts makes reference to the “special characteristics of school environments” as a reason to lower the threshold for a government interest sufficient to punish pure speech. The entire second section of the opinion is devoted to establishing that it’s a school speech case. Roberts even notes in passing that the outcome of a prior case, Bethel School District v. Fraser, would have been different had the student delivered his “indecent” speech “in a public forum outside the school context.” No one with even a passing familiarity with the Court’s school speech cases would need to ask why you can’t apply Morse outside the school speech context.

    Care to opine on how Justice Roberts’ 3 part analysis should be applied to this case or how it shouldn’t?

    Interested to see where you came by the (incorrect) idea that Roberts applied a “3 part analysis” in Morse, I checked the article about the case on a certain well-known free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. All I have to say is don’t believe everything you read.

    You laughably cite to Brandenburg v Ohio upthread – care to intersect that with that massive knowledge of Higher Ed law you so incisively wield?

    I cited Brandenburg for a pretty limited purpose–to point out that speech which is harassing, hateful, or extremely offensive (like the speech at issue here), is not beyond First Amendment protection for that reason.

    Do you want to engage at all with Rosenberger, which I maintain is the most apposite Supreme Court precedent? Looks quite similar to me–university setting, limited public forum for access to benefits, and a possible case of viewpoint discrimination. Do you want to actually show why it’s not applicable, or why this is not viewpoint discrimination, or would you prefer to just muddy the waters with irrelevant case law?

  144. Anon21
    Anon21 December 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    D.A.R.:
    Let’s hear it for the tone argument! Guaranteed to put a lady in her place. But of course Anon21′s response wasnt’ trolling at all. Yep. Noted. Next time speak up for us old ladies that are so desperately hard of hearing and riddled with mad cow sose we can’t remember the little red law school and all them complicated words and such.

    Look, since you seem so fixated on this point–who started with the age-related ad hominem? “To all the (young)Ls showing out”–what is that supposed to mean, exactly? Or is it more that you think it’s ok when you do it, but would prefer that no one dish it out in return?

    Just…stick to the actual arguments, please. If you think the university could cut off the frat’s housing using its governance powers on the basis of the viewpoint expressed in the survey (an issue that looks less and less relevant, given that the university apparently has a valid, content-neutral reason to suspend the frat in that its national sponsor has disowned it), explain why Rosenberger does not apply, or why the funding program there isn’t analogous to the benefits program here, or why cutting off the frat’s benefits on the basis of this survey would not be viewpoint discrimination.

  145. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Ron, I hope you realize you’re risking having your canned soup tampered with here.

  146. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    In the Washington Post, the national fraternity says that, according to their investigation, “there’s no indication that the Vermont chapter sanctioned the survey that allegedly asked members who they would like to rape.”

    What’s about to happen is that the fraternity is about to be found innocent of all charges, mark my words. Here is the link to the article in the Washington Post.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/higher-education/frat-says-theres-no-sign-that-vt-chapter-okd-survey-that-asked-who-would-you-like-to-rape/2011/12/15/gIQAqEjawO_story.html

  147. ron
    ron December 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    In the Washington Post, the national fraternity says that, according to their investigation, “there’s no indication that the Vermont chapter sanctioned the survey that allegedly asked members who they would like to rape.”

    What’s about to happen is that the fraternity is about to be found innocent of all charges, mark my words. Here is the link to the article in the Washington Post.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/higher-education/frat-says-theres-no-sign-that-vt-chapter-okd-survey-that-asked-who-would-you-like-to-rape/2011/12/15/gIQAqEjawO_story.html

  148. Hysterical Bitch
    Hysterical Bitch December 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm |

    LotusBen: LOLHystericalBitch.YouneedtoworkforTheOnion.

    Aw, thanks. I am merely trying to echo the genius of EG, Sheelzebub and all the other brillant and hilarious commenters on this site.
    Though the comment of the thread clearly goes to librarygoose @ 67 which is still giving me the giggles.

  149. EG
    EG December 16, 2011 at 1:37 am |

    ron:this whole thing was done by ONE member of that fraternity….So, everyone here is going to feel SO VERY SILLY for TOTALING OVER-REACTING TO THIS WHOLE THING!!!

    Yes, I’m sure that one guy was just a complete and total outlier who had absolutely no reason whatsoever to feel that his misogyny and normalization of rape was cool, accepted, and par for the course in his frat, and that the other dudes in it, especially the leadership, are shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find that there is gambling taking place in this establishment (“Here are your winnings, sir.” “Thank you.”).

    Again, I’d like to to know the dude-approved reaction to rape threats. Apparently blogging and getting angry are over-reactions. What if we gasp quietly while our hands flutter in a lady-like manner? Is that appropriate?

    I mean, there seem to be women at the university in question who are pretty pissed off as well, but I guess their assessment of what reaction is appropriate can’t be trusted. It’s not like they could be objective about rape threats, like dudes can.

    ron: Look, I’m down with the ladies causes, and all that stuff. I’m just saying let’s not use a bunch of kids to hang the whole feminist-thing on. Every one of us has been young. Every one of us has done something unwise in our youth.

    Oh, what a relief! You’re down with the “ladies causes, and all that stuff”…right up until “the ladies” actually start to decide on their own who and what is a threat and how to react appropriately, huh? I was young. I was unwise (and I’m not always 100% sure of the past tense on that one). But I never, ever, ever threatened to rape anybody. Are you saying that you did, because hey, which one of us hasn’t done something like that when young?

    By the time I was in my first year in college, some asshole had raped a close friend of mine at gunpoint in the elevator of her apartment building; when I talked about this to my other friends, I literally cannot count the number of women I knew who said “Me too. I was raped, too.” Off the top of my head, I remember three women I was close to…no, four, and then the others I spoke with in passing? A fuck of a lot, and that’s just what I knew about. Rape is not a joke; it is not a bonding experience; I knew that by the time I was the age of these assholes. This behavior is not an aspect of being young. It is an aspect of being privileged, misogynist douchebags.

    jennygadget: You know who else is still young, asshole? (a large percentage of) The female students whose fees and tuition go to support this particular bastion of youthiness.

    You know who else is probably young? A non-trivial number of the women who A) have to deal with these assholes in person, B) were listed as responses, and C) both.

    Quoted for fucking truth. Boys will be boys, huh? They’re fucking young? So are the women who have to live with the threat of being raped by them. But I guess they should just suck it up, because that’s part of being a woman, and everybody knows women mature faster, anyway? To hell with that. Everybody should get the chance to be young, to be foolish, to be as carefree as possible. When young men make rape threats, they destroy young women’s opportunity to experience those aspects of youth, so maybe young men should try to grow the fuck up for half a minute and think of people other than themselves.

    ron: What’s about to happen is that the fraternity is about to be found innocent of all charges, mark my words.

    Gee, you mean a wealthy organization of privileged young–and I’m going to go out on a Vermont frat whim and say overwhelmingly straight and white–men is going to be let off the hook for threatening to sexually assault women? That would certainly be completely unprecedented, and I for one would have no choice but to do penance for ever having even entertained the possibility that the young men and their organization could be at fault.

    No, wait, did I say “have no choice but to do penance for ever having even entertained the possibility that the young men and their organization could be at fault”? What I meant was “not be in the least surprised if the university jumps at the chance to sweep the whole embarrassing incident under the rug rather than address the rape culture that the young women at their school face every single fucking day.”

    By the way…charges? They’ve been brought up on charges, now? Awesome.

  150. Anne
    Anne December 16, 2011 at 3:43 am |

    I’d love to hear what consequence these dudebros think the frat should have gotten since suspending the frat is too much for them. I would wager their punishment would be more of a talking to “Now boys, you know that’s not a good thing to do. Since this is a learning environment I want you to learn from your mistakes. Don’t do this again!” Because we wouldn’t want them to experience any inconvenience or disruption to their very important lives. They’re young! And stupid! God forbid we expect them to act like decent human beings and adults.

  151. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 16, 2011 at 4:19 am |

    I don’t really consider myself a dudebro, but if I may be so presumptious as to speak for that community, I think people like Ron would say an appropriate fraternity-approved response would to find the ONE SOLITARY INDIVIDUAL who is responsible for this unfortunate question and make him drink his own urine. Followed by high-fives.

  152. token
    token December 16, 2011 at 4:23 am |

    hm, I didn’t realize saying what you would “like to do” constitutes a threat, I thought you had to profess to having intent to commit said action of violence for it to be considered a threat. Good to know…

  153. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    Now ladies. By “people” we mean MEN not women. Women aren’t people.

    Rape and jokes about it are youthful mistakes to be forgiven if you’re a d00d. Getting drunk, going out at night, letting a date into your home, or other “unwise” behaviors are all condemnable if you’re a woman (and you totes asked to be raped).

    Get with the program!

  154. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 16, 2011 at 10:17 am |

    “I’d love to hear what consequence these dudebros think the frat should have gotten since suspending the frat is too much for them.”

    This! This is the part that is driving me a bit crazy. The frat hasn’t been disbanded yet, suspended for years yet, no one actually expects any charges (not because there is for certain no reason for charges, but because of how these things are usually handled)…the frat has simply been suspended while the national organization and the university investigate exactly what happened. How is that not perfectly logical and reasonable?

    And this is why the “free speech!” cries are annoying me right now too. like, srsly? In the end, this could range from minor harassment to incitement to crime. And while I suspect that legally it is more likely to fall in merely the former category rather than the latter, suspending the frat until they figure out exactly what has happened is just covering their butts. If the frat thinks that the (likely to be a temporary) suspension is a violation of their free speech rights, I rather think they are quite capable of getting a lawyer to help them. The women that are possibly being targeted by these “boys” – yeah, they are going to have a significantly harder time with that.

    It’s not so much that there aren’t any free speech arguments to make…it’s more that…really? This is the part you feel the need to focus on? This is the aspect of the situation that you feel will be under-discussed in general? This is the side that you think will be most unable to assert and maintain their rights? You are all sounding very much like those guys that come in and play “devil’s advocate” bc this is all some game to them or something.

    Do you really think “but! free speech!” is a defense we are unfamiliar with? I do believe that’s part of why harassment laws were drafted: to make it clear that this kind of speech can be illegal, and that organizations are not only well within their rights to address them, but have a legal obligation to do so.

  155. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 16, 2011 at 10:26 am |

    “hm, I didn’t realize saying what you would “like to do” constitutes a threat, I thought you had to profess to having intent to commit said action of violence for it to be considered a threat. Good to know…”

    In the context of workplace harassment, it’s more complicated than that. Saying that you would like to do something violent to a coworker, client, or even a worker serving you is most definitely actionable on the part of the employer. Assuming that at least some of the responses were people associated with the University in some way (which isn’t an unreasonable guess) means that this fiasco may fall under that category, depending on how Vermont’s harassment laws are written. This isn’t quite as clear-cut as something said specifically to the targeted person, but neither is it certain yet that it does not constitute harassment.

    But, you know, feel free to ignore this explanation just as you have ignored all the other times that distinction has been pointed out.

  156. EG
    EG December 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    token: hm, I didn’t realize saying what you would “like to do” constitutes a threat, I thought you had to profess to having intent to commit said action of violence for it to be considered a threat. Good to know…

    Well, you know us ladies. We are so emotional and hysterical, we just can’t help getting the vapors just because some dude follows us down the street saying things like “I’d like to grab those titties and twist,” or says to his friends “Wouldn’t mind pounding that ass,” or writes “I’d like to rape that snotty bitch in my freshman comp class.” It’s not like any of those guys said they had intent explicitly in those exact words, but we get upset and frightened and angry all the same. It’s probably because of our inferior lady brains.

  157. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    So we should limit the defintion of threats to when someone says something like “I am going to hit you right now with this fist which is in proximity to your face”?

    Oh wait that is pretty much the definition! Anyone else for a Court with their heads a little less far up their collective asses? Anyone?

  158. token
    token December 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    But, you know, feel free to ignore this explanation just as you have ignored all the other times that distinction has been pointed out.

    Well, you know us ladies. We are so emotional and hysterical, we just can’t help getting the vapors just because some dude follows us down the street saying things like “I’d like to grab those titties and twist,” or says to his friends “Wouldn’t mind pounding that ass,” or writes “I’d like to rape that snotty bitch in my freshman comp class.” It’s not like any of those guys said they had intent explicitly in those exact words, but we get upset and frightened and angry all the same. It’s probably because of our inferior lady brains.

    umm, ok not sure how i provoked the anti troll response but i rly wasn’t trying to be snarky. To me, language of intent vs language of wanting typically means the difference between “oh, thats nice” vs “that person just threatened me!” when it comes to my level of security awareness but i figure im dude, obviously my sensitivity to that sort of thing is probably WAY different than a woman’s.

    Learning that stuff like little language details like that can illicit the same response as saying you’r gonna rape somebody is actually news to me, sorry for being a noob i guess ;(

  159. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    token: To me, language of intent vs language of wanting typically means the difference between “oh, thats nice” vs “that person just threatened me!” when it comes to my level of security awareness but i figure im dude, obviously my sensitivity to that sort of thing is probably WAY different than a woman’s.

    Definitely go into work and use your language of wanting – just as a hypothetical! – and let me know how it goes.

  160. zuzu
    zuzu December 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    Anon21: Do you want to engage at all with Rosenberger, which I maintain is the most apposite Supreme Court precedent? Looks quite similar to me–university setting, limited public forum for access to benefits, and a possible case of viewpoint discrimination. Do you want to actually show why it’s not applicable, or why this is not viewpoint discrimination, or would you prefer to just muddy the waters with irrelevant case law?

    Dude, we don’t even have all the facts yet as to the consequences or the content of the speech. You’re awfully sure this is viewpoint discrimination and therefore Rosenberger applies and therefore the university is SOL.

    But the university has suspended them previously for speech-related conduct, apparently without any sort of constitutional challenge. We don’t know all the facts, the investigation hasn’t been completed, the university hasn’t finished acting, and therefore casting this as the kind of pure speech issue as in Rosenberger is premature.

  161. token
    token December 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    Definitely go into work and use your language of wanting – just as a hypothetical! – and let me know how it goes.

    hehe, something tells me work is NOT the place to “test hypothetical’s” on speech that might be offensive to women ;)

  162. Katya
    Katya December 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    “the frat has simply been suspended while the national organization and the university investigate exactly what happened. How is that not perfectly logical and reasonable?”

    It’s totally reasonable. I can’t speak for others, but I was thinking more about the possible options once the investigation is concluded. The frat was suspended before for hazing, which is clearly prohibited by UVM policy. If anyone named a specific woman in response to that question, I think that, too, is prohibited by UVM policy, which I think defines threats more broadly than “true threats.” But what if no one actually filled out the questionnaire? What if no one answered that question? What if the questionnaire does not violate UVM policy as it is currently written? What then?

    That I find this topic interesting does not mean that I’m more worried about the frat than about the women of UVM. It means that someone raised the First Amendment issue, Jill responded to that post, and several posters chimed in with discussions of case law, etc. I found that discussion interesting–this wouldn’t be the first time that universities have had to deal with offensive speech and run up against constitutional issues. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that whoever made this survey isn’t a total douchebag. That doesn’t mean that the university shouldn’t exercise whatever other sanctions are at their disposal, although I don’t know enough to know what those are. It certainly doesn’t mean that I think that the national frat shouldn’t revoke its membership, which would result in its losing recognition anyway.

    *This applies only to people who are discussing the First Amendment issue in good faith, not anyone excusing the frat’s behavior. There’s no excuse for it.

  163. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    “umm, ok not sure how i provoked the anti troll response”

    How about, shit like this: “learning that stuff like little language details like that can illicit the same response as saying you’r gonna rape somebody is actually news to me, sorry for being a noob i guess”

    bc not listening when we say this until we say it directly to you doesn’t make you a noob, it makes you the kind of asshole who thinks that he knows more than women about what our daily lives are like.

  164. token
    token December 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    @166jennygadget

    sry, I don’t have any female close friends or relatives so I’m not around these conversations pretty much at all. Not sure how I managed to profess to “knowing what women’s lives are like” but I merely wanted to get some clarification on what i thought was being said.

    Actually on the subject, does this kind of offense extend into language not involving rape specifically? I get how saying you wanna rape somebody is pretty fucked up but what about stuff like “man id rly like to fuck the shit outa that girl / guy, he / she is so hot”? Cus i hear stuff like that all the time from both sides but have no idea if its not “feminist cool” to say stuff like that?

  165. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    “so I’m not around these conversations pretty much at all”

    and clearly can’t be bothered to read the fucking thread. which was my actual point

    and how about you stop pretending to give a shit about what you think is “feminist cool” and consider which of these things is actually remotely likely to happen, and therefore would give a reasonable person good reason to worry, seeing as how that’s the part the law cares about.

  166. token
    token December 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm |

    jennygadget: “and clearly can’t be bothered to read the fucking thread. which was my actual point

    sry, again, I thought you meant in general, and after reading the thread I couldn’t tell if ppl were mad because a group of men were having conversations about overt sexual wishes at all or if it was 1 word away from being not offensive (like if it said what women would you want to have sex with, would that be not offensive of just less offensive)

    and how about you stop pretending to give a shit about what you think is “feminist cool” and consider which of these things is actually remotely likely to happen, and therefore would give a reasonable person good reason to worry, seeing as how that’s the part the law cares about.

    well I always figure the definition of “reasonable person” is pretty relative right? I mean that’s why we have laws in the first place, cus people believe different things are reasonable ;).

    But I wasn’t asking about the law, I was asking what feminists consider OK, cus like a bunch of people said here “just cus it might be legal doesn’t make it OK” ya know? So I always try to figure out what most feminists think is OK that way I can avoid being punished and shamed for being a misogynist bigot when I have to put my real name on stuff or give public presentations ya know? I don’t rly have any women I can ask other than co workers and its not real safe to ask them cus if they got offended I was asking in the first place id be out of a job or worse :(. (heh never experiment with stuff you need to live right?)

  167. cory
    cory December 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm |

    According to the Associated Press, the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has closed the University of Vermont Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter indefinitely. The University of Vermont Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter is the fraternity that asked its members on a survey who they would like to rape (link below)

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ib4cOahV6HQO2VAtAOJ6L2-aHmdw?docId=36b2baad897041ed86c889f7e2541dcb

  168. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm |

    Good.

  169. Anon21
    Anon21 December 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

    token: So I always try to figure out what most feminists think is OK that way I can avoid being punished and shamed for being a misogynist bigot when I have to put my real name on stuff or give public presentations ya know?

    Oh yes, I’m sure you live in terror of crossing the totalitarian feminist gynocracy.

    Take a hike with this trolling bullshit.

  170. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    “I was asking what feminists consider OK”

    tip #1: we are not actually a hive mind, despite slander to the contrary

    “well I always figure the definition of “reasonable person” is pretty relative right? I mean that’s why we have laws in the first place, cus people believe different things are reasonable ;).”

    No, I’m pretty sure we have laws because some people don’t give a shit about what is reasonable. Also, you uninformed troll who still can’t be bothered to read the thread, “reasonable person” IS a legal standard, so clearly the law disagrees with you there.

  171. token
    token December 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm |

    Anon21:Oh yes, I’m sure you live in terror of crossing the totalitarian feminist gynocracy.

    Well I figure it’s a big world out there and knowing how to interface with as manny types of people as possible would seem to be a benefit. Heh, besides, with advertisements getting banned, groups being disbanded, and people lossing their jobs over the opinions of feminists, id say its a pretty large force to be reckoned with these days ;)

    jennygadget: tip #1: we are not actually a hive mind, despite slander to the contrary

    well yea, but there are general feminist beliefs right? I mean Michele Bachmann claims to be feminist but most other feminists think she’s um… not right? ;)

    jennygadget: “reasonable person” IS a legal standard

    right but I was talkin about the term outside of legal context… like “good normal reasonable person” ya know? Like how technically when people buy companies to break them up and get the money, its “legal” but most ppl think they are pretty unreasonable to do that to people right?

  172. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

    Token, in answer to your question, you may talk about wanting to have sex with someone. You probably should not talk about wanting to rape someone. Generally it is a good idea to only have sex with people who want to have sex with you.

  173. token
    token December 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    LotusBen:Token, in answer to your question, you may talk about wanting to have sex with someone.

    good to know! thnx

  174. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |

    And just to clarify one last thing token, you should not sexually harass women, as in repeatedly telling them you want to have sex with them after they’ve told you to shut up or leave them alone. Good luck at not being fired. I believe you overestimate the risk of that, but I also hope you don’t do anything misogynistic or bufoonish.

  175. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    LotusBen: but I also hope you don’t do anything misogynistic or bufoonish.

    I dunno, something about Token just fills me with hope and optimism. /sarcasm/

  176. token
    token December 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    LotusBen: And just to clarify one last thing token, you should not sexually harass women, as in repeatedly telling them you want to have sex with them after they’ve told you to shut up or leave them alone. Good luck at not being fired. I believe you overestimate the risk of that, but I also hope you don’t do anything misogynistic or bufoonish.

    oh I don’t “hit” on women, especially not at work (nor do i discuss the my attraction to women i work with (or lack there of) at work obviously). And obviously sexual harassment is a horrible thing, but in the off chance something i say is over herd or somebody forwards something I’ve sent to a personal email account or the like to a venue where somebody from work might find it, its nice to know what will make the difference between “hehe, oh look he thinks rachel is hawt” and “OMG HE SAID HE’D RAPE RACHAL IF HE COULD!!!”.

    thnx again tho ;)

  177. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm |

    token: “OMG HE SAID HE’D RAPE RACHAL IF HE COULD!!!”.

    Well, stay away from the word “rape” in general conversation. Problem solved?

  178. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    And on the eighth day, God said, “Y’know, I’m gonna make life for you bitches pretty tough. Today, I have founded a movement called feminism, and through it, you shall be equal to Adam in all respects, but especially in describing your own experiences and problems. I’m still not quite clear what I’m doing with my non-binary rib-begotten child of Adam, but I’ve still got all of eternity, amirite?” And it was good.

    And on the ninth day, God said, “JOKE. Here are some trolls, bitches.” And while it was not good, at least it was somewhat entertaining.

  179. zuzu
    zuzu December 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm |

    I can’t believe someone who types in text-speak actually has a job.

  180. Amber
    Amber December 18, 2011 at 11:05 am |

    All students are required to sign a code of conduct agreement when entering state universities- not just fraternities. Just because a member of the student body enters into a separate agreement with a fraternity/the panhellenic association does not mean they are no longer required to also honor their student agreement.

    There have been questions about what happens to students in a suspended fraternity. First, you don’t have to be enrolled in classes to be in a fraternity, so not all residents are matriculated students. Second, just because a university doesn’t recognize the fraternity, does not mean it goes away. Typically, the national organization owns the property and allows existing members to rent rooms still. Also, when houses are rushing potential pledges, if the house is suspended, they don’t receive university funding nor acknowledgment, but they are still included in the fraternity list/map/registry thing, but with an asterisk. At least that’s how it worked at the University of Washington when I attended from 2000-2004.

  181. Amber
    Amber December 18, 2011 at 11:14 am |

    Sorry, one last thing, freedom of speech doesn’t cut mustard when you have situations like Virginia Tech, where a person blogs about then goes on a killing spree.

    While it kills me that these douchers will probably get by with a slap on a wrist, I want to ask one question for the commenters here: if a fraternity can ban alcohol on their premises because one of their members dies during a party, why don’t they take greater steps to ban sexual assault, a rampant un-checked disease?

  182. EG
    EG December 18, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Amber: if a fraternity can ban alcohol on their premises because one of their members dies during a party, why don’t they take greater steps to ban sexual assault, a rampant un-checked disease?

    Well, dude, the member who died during a party was one of their bros. Sexual assault only happens to chicks, so who cares?

  183. Amber
    Amber December 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Token did bring up a point that’s been bothering me: the language of the survey. While it’s pretty widely accepted that most fraternity members are disgusting pigs, asking members who they’d like to rape is on a whole other level. I mean, just the violence alone, well, you all understand. It would be repulsive enough just to ask, “if you could hook up with anyone…” in a survey circulated to 100+ people, but it is a social conversation piece that comes up in most friend circles. I just can’t imagine the individual that thought printing that would be funny/appropriate/normal.

  184. zuzu
    zuzu December 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    Amber: Second, just because a university doesn’t recognize the fraternity, does not mean it goes away. Typically, the national organization owns the property and allows existing members to rent rooms still.

    Or, often, the university owns the building and the frat is allowed to use it at under-market rent.

  185. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    Amber: Token did bring up a point that’s been bothering me: the language of the survey. While it’s pretty widely accepted that most fraternity members are disgusting pigs, asking members who they’d like to rape is on a whole other level. I mean, just the violence alone, well, you all understand. It would be repulsive enough just to ask, “if you could hook up with anyone…” in a survey circulated to 100+ people, but it is a social conversation piece that comes up in most friend circles. I just can’t imagine the individual that thought printing that would be funny/appropriate/normal.

    I’m a metal fan…back in the late 90’s, when I was a teenager, I was subscribed to a metal news/discussion newsletter, as was a female friend of mine from the AOHell Metallica boards. Why am I mentioning this? Well, because the newsletter routinely, I mean routinely, included mentions of who male subscribers would like to rape. It was always female celebrities that were popular then, which is not any better than listing average women… My friend I were already rape survivors at that point. We quietly unsubscribed. We didn’t know what else to do.

  186. Henry
    Henry December 19, 2011 at 4:28 am |

    What the University may not be able to ban the National Chapter can, because unlike the government – they can regulate the speech of their members. Are the con law folks above telling us (and I am picking the worst examples I can think of here) that the KKK can form a student org at UVM and advocate all sorts of horrors like segregation, slavery, repeal of the 13th and 14th amendments etc. as long as they don’t actually commit any criminal acts? Or that NAMBLA can have a student chapter at UVM? That’s what we are talking about here – the advocacy of committing criminal acts.

  187. Kelly
    Kelly December 19, 2011 at 10:03 am |

    I have no problem with the University eliminating the Frat. That is what my small liberal arts college did back in the 1980’s. They eliminated all frats. And good riddance. But, one commenter here suggested that the University should sanction the students in some formal way, by placing some kind of mark on their transcript for example. That is the most chilling and irresponsible idea I have read so far. Who gets to decide what speech warrants that action? What if a white girl publicly states that black students on campus are affirmative action kids with lesser academic credentials? Should she be permanently sanctioned? What if a black girl claims that Asians are all racist people who hate black people? What about somebody who calls all religions cults, offending all people who have faith? YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO NOT BE OFFENDED. And then for those that find it “exhausting” trying to constantly teach others around you about what you find to be virtuous and correct, well, that is too dammed bad. That is your job in a free society. That is part of the grand bargain. It will not be unicorns and glitter all of the time. To give up and start talking about “sanctions” for legal speech you don’t like is dangerous and lazy. It is almost as if you are saying “I am too tired to educate the misogynists, so lets just lock them up and throw away the key”. That attitude can easily slip into the kind of totalitarian society that you might prefer, until one of your publicly stated beliefs is suddenly viewed by the majority as a sanctionable offense. The world is not black and white, even for feminists. I know it is difficult some times, but it is possible to believe that what these jerks did is horrible, but at the same time fight against an overreaction that is even more dangerous.

  188. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Kelly: They were threatening other students, not just making idle mouth noises. It may not have occurred to you that a lot of those female students live on campus, near these guys, and probably encountered them on a daily basis. Because these are fraternity bros, some of these threats may have been carried out, or they were planning to carry them out. The university has an obligation to keep all of it’s students safe (even the minorities and women.) It’s a bit different from one student making racist remarks.

    I have a strong suspicion that if some student said, “I’m tired of all these affirmative action students, let’s go kill them all,” they would probably end up in jail. Even if you aren’t in favor of having safe campuses, a lot of people here probably think college shouldn’t be a survival course. People go to college to be educated, and they learn better in safe environments.

    Also, misogynists really can’t be educated. It’s a waste of time trying to educate any man under 30 about feminism, so it’s safest to just isolate them.

  189. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Also, misogynists really can’t be educated. It’s a waste of time trying to educate any man under 30 about feminism, so it’s safest to just isolate them.

    Men under 30? I’d understand someone saying it’s a waste of time to educate any men about feminism, period, but I don’t get the age specification. It seems to me that the younger someone is, the easier it will be to teach them anything, since they have more brain plasticity as well as a less fully formed identity. This is the case for musical instruments, second language acquistion, pretty much everything–I don’t see why feminism would be different. Besides, what do you see more of: 20 year old men who say they’re feminist or 80 year old men who say they’re feminist?

  190. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT December 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 17 (UPI) — The national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity closed its University of Vermont chapter after a survey that asked members who they would like to rape surfaced.

    The closure was made public by UVM and the fraternity Friday, the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported.

    “Without suggesting that every member had knowledge of this questionnaire, the questions asked in the document are deplorable and absolutely inconsistent with our values,” Brian Warren, executive director of the Virginia-based fraternity, said in a statement.

    The survey, conducted earlier this week, reportedly asked Sig Ep members, “If you could rape someone, who would it be?”

    “Sigma Phi Epsilon will collaborate with the university’s Office of Student Life to consider the potential return to UVM at the appropriate time, which would occur only by mutual agreement,” the fraternity said in its statement.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/12/17/Sigma-Phi-Epsilon-closes-UVM-chapter/UPI-83441324143600/#ixzz1h0j0rTzv

    Well there is that at least.

    If you want to look on the bright side of life today, consider that this incident may in some small way have helped shine light on darkness, without actually involving rape (that we know of, anyway). Unlike, say, the Sandusky thing or countless other episodes.

    It’s not really that hard for an organization – even one entirely peopled by dudebros – to avoid this sort of thing. I distinctly recall an incident (not a rape, thankfully) when I was but a wee freshman that made it very clear that the fraternity I ultimately joined (or rather the membership of that chapter at that moment in time, which is how it really works) considered harrassing/scaring/maltreating women unacceptable. This is not to say it was a bastion of enlightenment. But seriously, it’s not hard to create a culture that would instinctively reject a “who you wanna rape?” survey.

  191. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    Lotusben: The answer to your question is that neither will be a feminist, of course. But the 80-year-old (unless it’s Hugh Hefner) might concede that women are people, not objects. The 20-year-old will make no such concession. Women are objects to him; things to fuck, things to impress his friends with. To any man under 30, his male friends are much more important than his female friends, girlfriend, or even his wife.

  192. groggette
    groggette December 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Also, misogynists really can’t be educated. It’s a waste of time trying to educate any man under 30 about feminism, so it’s safest to just isolate them.

    For fucks sake. Can you not go a single thread without spouting hateful nonsense like this?

  193. EG
    EG December 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: The 20-year-old will make no such concession. Women are objects to him; things to fuck, things to impress his friends with. To any man under 30, his male friends are much more important than his female friends, girlfriend, or even his wife.

    I am quite certain that this is not the case for significant portion of the male population under 30. I have met them and hung out with them and had sex with them. While not all of my male compatriots were sterling individuals, I am quite confident in saying that none of the ones I spent time with after I was 22 years old considered women to be objects rather than people, or fit for no other purpose than fucking.

  194. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Lotusben:Theanswertoyourquestionisthatneitherwillbeafeminist,ofcourse.Butthe80-year-old(unlessit’sHughHefner)mightconcedethatwomenarepeople,notobjects.The20-year-oldwillmakenosuchconcession.Womenareobjectstohim;thingstofuck,thingstoimpresshisfriendswith.Toanymanunder30,hismalefriendsaremuchmoreimportantthanhisfemalefriends,girlfriend,orevenhiswife.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. I’m sure glad the 70s are over.

  195. Donna L
    Donna L December 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: It’s a waste of time trying to educate any man under 30 about feminism, so it’s safest to just isolate them.

    You love making ridiculous generalizations, don’t you.

  196. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    LotusBen: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. I’m sure glad the 70s are over.

    BTW, that wasn’t a dig at your age, since I have no idea how old you are. I’m assuming you might be part of deadend Daly/Jeffreys/et al. neo-Victorian femaleist crowd, but possibly you are some other type of fundamentalist.

  197. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm |

    EG: That’s fine. That’s the risk you choose to take. Personally, I went to a women’s college, because they offered me the best deal, and I didn’t want to deal with rampant frat boys. I prefer not to have guy friends because I know that guys get very mixed signals – and most guys who have girls as friends actually want to be friends with women so that they can swoop in and play the white knight after that asshole-she’s-dating-instead-of-me dumps her. And again men are prone to rampant misinterpretation. (eye-contact sometimes equals consent, go fig.)
    So, most of what I need to know about men comes from the internet and anthropological observation.

    Lotus Ben: Yeah, the seventies were horrible. Your point?

  198. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    I said what my point was, but OK.

  199. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    Lotusben: I’m not really a fundamentalist, nor am I old enough to be a hippie. I just try to puzzle people out in my own way, and, as a result of that, I’m rather misanthropic. I expect the worst of *everyone.* I’m also not very good at interpreting people’s body language, or hidden meanings and I try not to engage at all with men in real life, so they don’t misinterpret something I did or said. I’m aware that young men, in particular are pretty bad at figuring out stuff like ‘no’ so it’s in my best interest to be wary of them.
    And men in all male instituitions (frat, military, sports, boarding schools) are really high on the danger list; they end up all thinking alike and without a shred of individuality.

  200. groggette
    groggette December 20, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    Politicalguineapig: they end up all thinking alike and without a shred of individuality.

    You are a sexist idiot.

  201. Andie
    Andie December 20, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    groggette: You are a sexist idiot.

    A-fucking-men. Sorry but pgp constantly spews the kind of stuff that would NEVER be tolerated if someone came and said the same shit about women. It’s disgusting.

  202. EG
    EG December 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: That’s fine. That’s the risk you choose to take. Personally, I went to a women’s college, because they offered me the best deal, and I didn’t want to deal with rampant frat boys.

    Congratulations. I went to a women’s college as well, in part because I didn’t want to deal with rampant frat boys, either. I don’t tend to have close male friends, either, though not as a conscious choice. But don’t confuse your personal choices with accurate pronouncements about all young men, and don’t confuse your personal experiences, whether on the internet or not, with anthropology, either. You actually get specialized training to do anthropology, and part of what the teach you is how to evaluate evidence.

    Politicalguineapig: I try not to engage at all with men in real life

    So why, precisely, are you so sure that your sweeping generalizations are correct?

  203. Anon21
    Anon21 December 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    Nice to know that someone is carrying the torch for actual misandry, I guess. One gets a bit jaded, watching MRAs find misandrists under the bed all the time.

  204. Donna L
    Donna L December 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: men in all male instituitions (frat, military, sports, boarding schools) are really high on the danger list; they end up all thinking alike and without a shred of individuality.

    I went to an all-boys’ private school from 7th-12th grades (much to my eternal regret!), although it wasn’t a boarding school. You never know what you’re going to find under the surface of people at such places, even among those who conform externally, and even among those who really are boys.

    By the way, in making your generalizations, you have a very bad habit of using the word “men” as if it were synonymous with “straight men.” Not that straight men themselves are nearly as monolithic as you think, but it’s very irritating when you do that.

  205. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: and I try not to engage at all with men in real life

    Then you can’t be doing anthropology.

  206. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | *

    Politicalguineapig, you are so far over the line it’s hard to know where to begin other than with what you have written is hateful and unacceptable. If you’d like to find a desert island all to yourself, please carry on. Otherwise, knock it the fuck off.

  207. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    Politicalguineapig. . .I don’t know if you’ll take what I have to say seriously, since I’m a man, but I suppose I actually want to come to your defense. I was initially just offended more by the ageism than the sexism. The idea of young people being more mule-headed and shallow than older people has some grain of truth, maybe, but I think the flip side of that is that we are sometimes also more flexible and in fact “open” to being educated about things outside our experience. I know I’m glad I came to feminism in my early 20s rather than waiting until I was “mature” enough to assimilate it. So my initial snideness was sparked by the ageism.

    In terms of bashing men, I’ve learned to not let that bother me very much. I was born into a lot of oppressor categories: male, white, American, etc. And I was taught to be very sensitive to people attacking my exalted status as a white man. But anti-man sentiment isn’t nearly as bad, not even 1% as bad, as anti-woman sentiment because there’s no institutional power to back it up. I know that politicalguineapig, or anyone like her for that matter, will never be able to do anything to me. I doubt I will ever be raped (by a woman), I doubt I will ever be denied a job, I doubt I will ever be unable to get my views out in the public discourse (for virtue of being a man, at least).

    I mean, most people make some overbroad and inaccurate assumptions, that’s just how human beings work, with our capacity for abstract thought but limited data sets. If I was a woman I might think some of the very same things as politicalguineapig. So I’m no longer offended. At least she’s honest enough to say what she thinks, even if I still maintain it’s inaccurate.

  208. Andie
    Andie December 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    That’s pretty generous of you LotusBen, but the fact also remains that this kind of thing is a pretty common occurence for PGP. Look through threads over the last few months and you’ll find she commonly makes wild generalizations and statements about men needing to be locked up and such that it becomes a nuisance, especially when we have to fight against being viewed as nothing more than castrating man-haters. It’s cool that you’re not offended by her statements but on behalf of guys I know who aren’t animals just waiting for any given opportunity to rape the shit out of people, I am offended. Continually.

    I am cool with people making comments about society and culture and such on a wide-spread level, but if someone came in here and made similar ‘bitchez be crazy’ type comments about women it wouldn’t be acceptable, and speaking only for myself, I don’t think it’s acceptable when she does it either.

  209. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    I hear you Andie. I see how pgp’s comments are hurtful since you believe it’s unfair to all the men you know, some of whom you probably care about a lot. That’s a legitimate response.

    In my opinion, it’s just relative. Things only hurt my feelings when they press my buttons. And when 100 people are telling me it’s great to be a man, and only 1 is telling me it’s horrible to be a man, I’m probably just gonna laugh that off. I don’t think women have the same privilege in our misogynistic society. And I know I can listen to a hundred uncharitable things about white people without batting an eyelash, but in other areas, like my youth (as I already mentioned) or my gender nonconforming behavior, I’m likely to be a lot more sensitive.

    So yeah, I’m not saying PGP should necessarily continue saying what she’s saying if it offends the community as a whole; and I can see how her over-the-top statements could make feminism look bad. But I do object to the idea that things like “men are pieces of shit” and “women are pieces of shit” are equivalently destructive statements, because I think the ignores the role of power dynamics in our society. And it can too easily slip into the sorts of ridiculous conservative arguments like “how is it fair that there’s a BLACK Entertainment Television when if there were a WHITE Entertainment Televison, that would be racist? Why is to cool for there to be an NAACP but not a National Association for the Advancement of WHITE people?”

    or “what about teh menzs!?!?!”

    etc.

  210. Katya
    Katya December 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

    But I do object to the idea that things like “men are pieces of shit” and “women are pieces of shit” are equivalently destructive statements,

    They might not be equivalent in terms of destructiveness, but they are equally wrong. Writing off an entire gender as monsters is just ignorant. Hatefulness is pretty much never helpful to having a constructive discussion.

  211. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

    Katya: They might not be equivalent in terms of destructiveness, but they are equally wrong. Writing off an entire gender as monsters is just ignorant. Hatefulness is pretty much never helpful to having a constructive discussion.

    Yeah, well, I don’t believe in right and wrong so that might be why I part ways with others on this. All I can say is that, personally, I have zero interest in expending any energy on counternig anti-men views as long as patriarchy exists, because of the comparitively minimal amount of harm it creates. I just have better ways to spend my time. Of course, I want people to do whatever they wish, so if someone feels driven to counter anti-male prejudice, that’s cool.

  212. Katya
    Katya December 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    I’m not only saying that it is morally wrong, but also that it is factually wrong, as well as non-productive and even counter-productive.

    The process of dehumanization is always harmful–if nothing else, it diminishes the humanity of the dehumanizer.

  213. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

    Katya: The process of dehumanization is always harmful–if nothing else, it diminishes the humanity of the dehumanizer.

    I really agree with this. It’s hard to remember because it can be so appealing for me at times to lash out with abusive anger at others (or a masked, passive-aggressive version of abusive anger) when I can frame myself as righteous or justified in doing so. There’s so many examples in life, and they are so obvious, of people dehumanizing others “rising to the top” so to speak. I’m sure many of the UVM fraternity members who thought this rape question was funny will go far in life. So it’s important for me to remember that ultimately the dehumanizer, or the oppressor, hurts himself. In his ignorance, he chooses to to better than someone else rather than embracing a world in which everyone can reach their fullest human potential as equals.

  214. Drew
    Drew December 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    I think the frat deserves to be disbanded.

    This is coming from a person who actually really likes highly offensive humor. But, here’s the thing about that kind of “Oh man that’s soooo fucked up” humor: you don’t actually fucking do it. Because, if you do, you deal with the consequences (like, for example, the school having the totally reasonable reaction of shutting down your frat).

    When you actually do it, you take it from an idea that’s amusing (by virtue of how unquestionably wrong it is), to an action that is harmful, and supports exactly the kind of culture we don’t *actually* want in the real world.

    If the frat had asked a similar question, like, “Who would you like to fuck”, I can see where it would be offensive, but I don’t think I would agree that the frat should be shut down. But going that far over the line? Totally deserves it.

  215. Raja
    Raja January 5, 2012 at 5:29 am |

    My best friend actually goes to UVM and has friends who were in that Frat who both thought it was blown out of porportion. I was actually surprised that my friend would say that considering hes usually a progressive person but yea that was a stupid question to ask on a survey and putting shit like that espicially being a fraternity is bound to have consequences.

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