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A crowd of female UC San Diego students took off their shirts and bras and hung around a grassy quad with their breasts exposed Wednesday in a protest against indecency laws.

The coeds were joined by male students as well in a 30-minute demonstration dubbed “Free The Nipple.” Dozens of students took part. Organizers provided snacks, water, music, body paint and masks for “those who want to participate but conceal their identity,” according to an event flier.

The rally took place on a campus that neighbors a public beach that allows nudity. The sit-in was advertised as a chance to challenge “social norms and show everyone that changing the world is as simple as taking off our shirts.”screenshot3

“Why is it OK that boys can do it but I can’t,” protest co-organizer Anni Ma said in a promo video. “It shouldn’t be illegal. It should be my choice to do what I want to do.”

Ma added her breasts aren’t “sex organs,” so they should not be regulated by indecency laws.

Various images from Wednesday’s protest show many students took off their shirts and were naked from the waist up. Others kept their bras on or covered their nipples with body paint. Phrases such as “still not asking for it” and “TITS: Sorry, did I offend you?” could be seen on signs and backsides. Some students remained dressed but hung out with demonstrators in solidarity with their cause.

“Typically nudity in public spaces violates San Diego municipal codes and UCSD student code of conduct, but the university [said] they support the students and their First Amendment rights,” reports ABC News.

UCSD student Aubrey Oxley told The Guardian campus paper society pressures women to cover up.FreeTheNipFBScreenshot1

“Men actually had to cover up their nipples, as well, but that law changed. If you look back into centuries, past women couldn’t even show their ankles because ankles were sexualized,” Oxley said. “We live in a very misogynic society where women’s bodies are hypersexualized, and this [movement] is the first step [away from that].”

The event’s Facebook page adds the main focus is “to combat the idea of body shaming, to show that we should be proud of our bodies, and to normalize all nipples in a society where only female nipples are hyper-sexualized and criminalized.”

UCSD is the same campus thrust into the national spotlight last week for offering a class that includes a final exam in which students strip naked.

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IMAGES: screenshots

Is it intolerance to have Bibles in students’ rooms, or intolerance to remove them?

The Students’ Union at Aberystwyth University in Wales voted 300-175 – out of 10,000 students – to remove the “tradition” of Gideon Bibles in residence halls, the U.K.’s Christian Institute reports.

They said it’s “inappropriate in a multicultural university” to provide Bibles to students, but the alumnus who leads the Bible Society responded: “The answer to a diverse and multicultural society is not to remove all traces of diversity. That seems illiberal and intolerant.”

The school will now consider whether to implement the resolution.

Read the story.

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IMAGE: Know Him Online

The mattresser has become the mattressee, or something.

After Columbia University’s “Mattress Girl,” Emma Sulkowicz, continued her rape accusation campaign against exonerated student Paul Nungesser at the school’s graduation ceremonies Tuesday, posters calling Sulkowicz a liar popped up overnight in the school’s vicinity, according to Deputy News Editor Teo Armus of the Columbia Spectator.

Armus has been on a tweet-storm since Sulkowicz and her friends lugged the mattress to the podium for their diplomas, and he’s got pictures now of the posters (most of which didn’t stay up for long before getting torn down).

The allusion is to the popular ABC Family teen drama Pretty Little Liars:

Actress and provocateur Lena Dunham – whose own years-late rape accusations helped smear the completely wrong person – was also targeted in the poster campaign, according to Armus.

For more poster activism – which is definitely lighter and more nimble than mattress activism – follow Armus on Twitter.

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IMAGE: YouTube screenshot

Quentin Wright, a math teacher at the Champion Middle School near Atlanta, was arrested yesterday after it was alleged he permitted students to engage in coitus in a classroom closet.

The New York Daily News reports:

“He [Wright] told my son you can have it from 7:30 to like 8:30,” the mother told the news station as she scrolled through and read the text messages. “‘Did you tell the girl what’s going to happen? That she cannot tell anybody?’ Basically don’t tell anyone I’m allowing you to use my room.”

DeKalb County schools has fired Wright and the mom pulled her eighth-grade son from the school last week after filing a complaint with the district and school principal, according to WSB.

The “sickening and disheartening” messages between the boy and his teacher included an exchange about condoms and using a laptop to drown out noises coming from the closet.

“Yall can’t be long,” the teacher and coach allegedly told his student.

The teacher’s mother was incredulous, calling the charges “baseless.”

“They’re trying to ruin his career as an educator,” Joyce Wright said.

Read the full story.

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Some things are too much even for progressive Jesuits to tolerate. One of those things is a school-sponsored mural honoring a convicted cop killer.

Marquette University has canned the director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, which hosted a mural honoring FBI most-wanted fugitive Assata Shakur from late March until Sunday night, after the mural’s presence became known nationally, according to Marquette Wire:

“Susannah Bartlow is no longer an employee with Marquette University,” said University Spokesman Brian Dorrington in an email. “We will work with the Center’s advisory board to search for a new director so that we can continue to grow the important programs in the Center.”

That also means Bartlow is out of her academic job – she was a women’s and gender studies professor who joined Marquette to lead the center upon its 2012 founding, the Wire says.

The murky phrasing around Bartlow’s status suggests she may have been convinced to leave the university before it tries to fire her, as it’s trying to do with the professor who exposed the mural, John McAdams.

The College Fix received word this afternoon that there were machinations against Bartlow – a Google Docs petition titled “Save Dr. Susannah Bartlow’s Job!” was making its way around the Internet. As of late Tuesday night, it had just under 200 signatures.

Read the article.

Related articles:

Catholic school takes down homage to cop killer after professor points it out

Marquette professor fired for blogging, academic freedom groups up in arms

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IMAGE: Marquette University Gender and Sexuality Resource Center/Facebook

If two theologians who’d like to send each other to hell can have a “delightful conversation over a glass of wine at the post-seminar reception,” why can’t today’s students have civil disagreements that end with mutual respect?

That’s the question posed by Carl Trueman, professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, in a fantastic essay at First Things.

Trueman recounts speaking at a recent seminar “at an Ivy League divinity school” where a woman minister “challenged me with some vigor” for his position against the ordination of women:

For a few minutes we exchanged trenchant but civil remarks on the subject. We each spoke our minds, neither persuaded the other, and then we moved on to the larger matter in hand: The use of modern media in the church. The matter of my opposition to women’s ordination never came up again in the remaining two days of the seminar.

This exchange amazed not only “a young research student” at the seminar who said his generation has “no idea” how to disagree respectfully “on an issue that typically arouses visceral passions,” but also Trueman’s son, who said he’d never seen “such civil disagreement” in a university classroom:

This is an ominous, if fascinating, indictment, for I had simply done what I had seen modeled when I was an undergraduate: Vigorous disagreement in the classroom followed by friendly conversation in the pub. If we no longer have a university system which models ways of civil engagement on such matters, then the kind of civic virtues upon which a healthy democracy depends are truly a thing of the past.

Trueman has good thoughts on oppression as a “psychological category” that blurs together actual, speech and thought crimes, and the “American tendency” to bring all our disputes to court, as contributors to this student perspective.

Anyone else think of persecuted Mozilla ex-CEO Brendan Eich when reading Trueman’s description of humans now as “aggregates of whatever opinions they happen to hold”?

Thus, those who hold even a single belief which the panjandrums of the culture find obnoxious are of necessity essentially defined by that, no matter how marginal it might actually be to their overall social existence and no matter how many other virtues they might embody.

Try to ignore his use of “safe places” – his heart’s in the right place:

I suspect that the future health of democracy depends upon university administrators worrying less about the dangers posed by whatever is the micro-aggression du jour and more about providing safe places for those who actually want to hold opinions and have debates.

Read the essay.

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IMAGE: Eric Langley/Flickr