Fix Features

Washington University in St. Louis

A picture of four Washington University in St. Louis college students dressed up for Halloween in what appears to be costumes resembling SEAL Team 6 members holding water guns toward a fifth student dressed like Osama bin Laden with the American flag draped in the background has prompted outrage and controversy.

The photo, titled “Halloween ’13 Amurrica!!” allegedly detailed some fraternity Halloween festivities, and after it was posted on Facebook on Oct. 30 it was reposted by student Mahroh Jahangiri on Wednesday, who decried it as discriminatory and unacceptable.fbscreenshot

“This photo and its ‘Amurrica’ caption imply that ‘Amurrica’ is white (male) Americans; people with beards, or of darker color, or implicitly Muslims, are not,” states Jahangiri in her post, which went viral. “This photo implies that not only are Muslims not American, their lives are expendable. They can (and should) be brought to their knees with guns pointed at their damned faces. This photo makes a costume of the lives of the thousands of civilian Muslim men who have been murdered during our ‘War on Terror’ and the countless others who have been mutilated, robbed, and stabbed to death in hate crimes across the United States – very much because of the vehemently racist discourse such photos represent.”

In response to the photo, the college’s Muslim Students Association on Thursday night hosted a “Solidarity Forum,” during which one campus official apologized for not responding sooner to the photo, which was sent to her on Halloween, the Student Life campus newspaper reports.

Student Life reports that campus officials as a whole also commented on the controversy in an email to students, saying: “As a community, one of our highest priorities is to maintain an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome. Images like the one that was posted on a social media site by students on Halloween and the impact it has had reminds us that we all must be united in this effort and it must be on-going. Whatever the intention, the image has offended and hurt members of our community. … We are deeply disappointed and saddened that this has occurred. We must expect better of ourselves and of each other.”

IMAGE: Facebook screenshot

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The College Fix presents a roundup of the top scandals, screw-ups, and stupid decisions involving college campuses. February has been a banner month for bad decisions. Let’s jump right in:

3. HEDONISM 101: A student group at Swarthmore College recently formed, for all intents and purposes, to promote group masturbation. The student organizer of the group says it’s not a “masturbation club,” but adds he wouldn’t stop its members from masturbating in front of each other if they’re comfortable with it.

Let’s be real. The “American Masturbatory Theater Company” is what its title implies. One need look no further than the wording of its fliers, posted across campus, which states its goal is to create “a space for creation, exploration, and understanding of intimacy. … To share ourselves and rejoice in the sharing … to cast our names into the fire, to destroy barriers … to experiment towards a sensation of unmediated intimacy, because it is good and beautiful and worthwhile.” In effect, a call to hedonism.

What’s worse is that this club doesn’t seem to be raising any concerns, if a general lack of mainstream media coverage on the group is any indication. But this shouldn’t be a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge – college students will be college students” situation. It’s morally offensive. Not the masturbation part per se – but the student orgy undertone and whatever-feels-good-do-it mantra is off the charts.

CLICK HERE to read more about the “American Masturbatory Theater Company.”

2. NUTTY  PROFESSORS: Two examples emerged this month that exposed how extreme and bizarre professors can be. Remember folks, the following are just two examples caught on film. It’s the only way we are truly able to peek into major college campuses and get a raw and honest glimpse of what is often going on therein.

Exhibit A: An Ohio State professor likens Republicans to apes and advises students that in order for females to achieve gender equality they need to start killing more people. Seriously.

Exhibit B: A science professor at Columbia University began a lecture by stripping into his boxers and eating a banana while rap music played in the background. As the professor sat in the fetal position, two “actors” dressed in ninja costumes walked onstage and placed white stuffed animals – lambs – on stools before the audience. The ninjas blindfolded the lambs, then a ninja impaled one of the stuffed animals with a long sword and banged it against the stool – right as an image of a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers on 9/11 started rolling on a large screen behind the performance. It was the start of a long and graphic series of disturbing war images played on screen.

Post a comment to weigh in on who gets top Nutty Professor billing.

1. PORN ON CAMPUS: On Feb. 8, Washington University in St. Louis hosted a panel of porn stars who talked to students about what it’s like to work in the industry, and spoke on their most interesting sexual experiences, among other topics. The event was designed for students interested in pursuing a career in the pornography business, or for those who just wanted to see their favorite porn stars up close and personal.

In mid-February, as part of the University of Chicago’s inaugural “sex week,” the school flew in Axel Braun, the director of more than 400 pornographic films, for a Q-and-A. The school also screened one of his films, “Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody.”

To borrow a phrase, “The Porning of America” is alive and well at college campuses. The sad thing is: pornography is highly insulting and degrading to women; it ruins the sanctity and specialness of sexual intercourse; it desensitizes couples’ intimate experiences; it creates unrealistic expectations; it causes people to seek more and more sexual extremes in the bedroom; it has millions of men and women in an addictive vice grip; it’s filth passed off as normal.

Truly, the list goes on and on. Administrators at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Chicago should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for normalizing and promoting such smut.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.

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IMAGE: Ardens Way of Life/Flickr

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Getting naked, or just barely, in the name of charity or just plain fun is the latest trend on college campuses across America. Whether it’s a 5K run in bras and panties, posing in the buff for a fundraising calendar, or taking a Christmas card photo with Santa hats on and little else – coeds are getting naked nationwide.

More and more coeds, in fact.

Case in point: Arizona State University’s “Undie Run” Facebook page has more than 16,000“Likes,” and the upcoming run this year is already packed with pledged participants.

At the annual ASU run, female coeds don some of their best lingerie and their male counterparts don their own tighty whiteys. It draws thousands and has been described by at least one student as “a little freaky,” according to a local news report. The effort aids a variety of charities.

Similarly, the annual Nearly Naked Run at Boston University is so popular it had to change to a larger venue. It’s billed as a chance to “Undress, De-Stress and Do Good,” according to its Facebook page. The effort collects clothes for the homeless.

At Washington University in St. Louis, about 40 students took part in its inaugural Nearly Naked Run in December to raise money for an arts outreach program for underprivileged youth. Students ran around the campus in their underwear, sports bras and little else.

Many other campuses across the nation offer similar excuses to strip down for charity. But fun runs aren’t the only show around.

Yale University Men’s Freshman Heavyweight Crew in December took a Christmas card team photo in which they wore nothing but Santa hats and big grins, holding stockings over their privates.

Across the pond, both the male and female rowing teams at the UK-based University of Warwick took nude photos of themselves in which they were cleverly positioned or used props to show nearly everything, stopping just shy of the Full Monty, although there was plenty of buttocks to go around. The pictures, published in December, were taken to fundraise for their athletic programs as well as raise money for charity.

While some applaud the efforts or simply brush them off as youthful fun, others argue it’s an example of the sexualization of America’s youth and an abandonment of modesty.

Colleen Carroll Campbell, a prominent conservative commentator, said in an interview with The College Fix that these students have been raised in a sexualized culture and “absorbed its messages all too well, mistakenly equating exhibitionism with liberation and objectification with positive attention.”

The efforts are also misguided, added Campbell, a journalist, EWTN host, former presidential speechwriter, and author of “My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir” and “The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy.”

“College students have been pulling silly stunts and shocking pranks for generations, so that’s nothing new,” she said. “What is new, perhaps, is to try to recast group stripteases as evidence of altruism – as if scampering in your undies is somehow more selfless than serving in a soup kitchen, tutoring struggling students or helping build new homes for low-income families.”

She also questions whether students have thought longterm about their actions.

“This trend probably won’t be one that wears well,” Campbell said. “Romping in the nude may feel exciting when you’re 20, but when you’re 30 and job hunting – or spouse hunting – and trying to explain those compromising online photos, it’s another story.”

Fix contributor Judith Ayers is a student at York College of Pennsylvania.

IMAGE CREDIT: Huffington Post

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