Lewis & Clark College has declared two students, one African-American and one white, guilty of creating a “hostile and discriminatory environment” after racially themed jokes spoken between the friends at a private party were overheard and reported to campus authorities. The students contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. In the face of media scrutiny and growing faculty concern, the college has said only that it “may” respond to FIRE’s criticisms.

“To punish two friends for joking with one another simply because someone overheard their language and was offended is utterly wrongheaded,” said Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Senior Vice President. “If it really wants to fight racism on campus, Lewis & Clark should stop wasting its time on jokes among friends who happen to have different skin colors.”

On November 23, 2013, roughly 20 students, many of them members of Lewis & Clark’s football team, attended a private party at a campus residence hall. During a game of “beer pong,” one African-American student jokingly named his team “Team Nigga” and would exclaim the team’s name when scoring a point. The student also exchanged an “inside joke” greeting with a white friend, who welcomed him by saying, “How about a ‘white power’?”, to which the African-American student replied in jest, “white power!”

A student not present at the party overheard the language and reported it to Lewis & Clark’s Campus Living office, which turned the matter over to the college’s Campus Safety division. Campus Safety investigated the alleged “racial and biased comments” made at the party, interviewing the two students and questioning them about the language used both at the party and within Lewis & Clark’s football program. After the investigation’s conclusion, Lewis & Clark charged both students with “Physical or Mental Harm,” “Discrimination or Harassment,” and “Disorderly Conduct.” Although the students’ conduct charges and ensuing disciplinary hearings were spurred by the complaint about the November 23 party, Lewis & Clark made clear that it intended to investigate “[o]ther acts of potential hate speech and bias that have occurred recently on campus” as well.

Lewis & Clark found both students guilty on all charges and rejected each of their appeals. In one student’s disciplinary letter, Lewis & Clark wrote that the student’s language “contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.” In rejecting the same student’s appeal, Lewis & Clark claimed his speech “caused reasonable apprehension of harm to the community.” Lewis & Clark placed both students on probation and required each to complete “Community Restitution” in the form of “Bias Reduction and Bystander Intervention Training,” among other sanctions. {snip}

FIRE wrote to Lewis & Clark President Barry Glassner on April 18, demanding that the charges and sanctions against the students on the basis of their expression be removed. {snip}


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  • MekongDelta69

    “Jokes between a black student and a white student created a ‘hostile and discriminatory environment.’”

    The horror, the horror. They all need a safe place to hide.

    • So CAL Snowman

      I’m surprised they were not picked up by the local PreCrime unit and sent to an American Gulag for life.

  • IstvanIN

    So two students, in a private conversation at a private party, were kidding each other about race, obviuosly not judging each other by race, getting along with each other despite being of different races, and being what every liberal wants, two guys who don’t care a whit about race, and yet they are being punished. Amazing.

  • Alexandra1973

    What’s surprising is that the black student also got in trouble.

  • none of your business

    The Lewis and Clark gender studies department insists that all babies are born neutral but Drs “arbitarily assign the babies gender” I think that is standard.

    • Alexandra1973

      The “blank slate” theory.

      I’ve heard of parents that try to raise their children gender-neutral…but you give a girl a dump truck and she’ll likely make a crib out of it for a doll.

      I had Hot Wheels when I was a kid, but I was still more interested in Barbies. A family friend helped me make a wooden house for my dolls. No wonder I like Sims. LOL

  • ncpride

    reported to campus authorities…..

    What the…? The hysteria and paranoia about race in this country has hit new lows. The weenies that ran to ‘tattle’ need to be ridiculed and shamed. Grow up already.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Lewis & Clark wrote that the student’s language “contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.””

    I’m sure that the legendary explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark NEVER encountered a single hostile and/or discriminatory environment on their expedition across the United States, the Louisiana Territory and into Oregon Territory.

    “A student not present at the party overheard the language and reported
    it to Lewis & Clark’s Campus Living office, which turned the matter
    over to the college’s Campus Safety division.”

    This doesn’t even make sense, how can a person not present at the party overhear the language at the party? They would have heard it THIRD HAND, which damages the credibility of their statement. If the offended individual was not present at the party how could the language in question possibly have created “a hostile and discriminatory environment?” This is by far the most insane thing I have ever read on Amren. This is nothing less than Thought Crime.

  • Witch hunt. A hostile learning environment is whatever a Cultural Marxist administration deems it to be. It’s quicksand, ready to entrap and sink the unwary. Do not donate money to this university or to any other.

    And let me add that the “snitch culture” is promoted on every campus in the USA these days. It’s like Communist Cuba, where citizens are encouraged to rat on each other.
    At the big public university in San Antonio, this snitching is a daily event, although for some reason it never makes the news the way this story did. This story is just the one that went public. There must be tens of thousands of them that are bured in administrative paperwork and don’t go public.

    Also, let me add, how can a white student function in a climate of fear and witch hunts like this one. White males are special targets but it’s getting crazier when the school is willing to throw a black to the wolves. How do you stay focused on your studies if you can’t honestly communicate with classmates. Sick, sick, sick. Higher ed needs to be terminated.

    • gemjunior

      The new word for snitch is “bystander intervention” for which I see the college is providing “BIAS and bystander intervention training.”

  • [Guest]

    I see the potential for a hot new movement in which students hold balloons and candles and chant “Colleges should be joke-free zones!”

  • TruthBeTold

    private party at a campus residence hall.

    There’s your answer. Residence hall.

    Had it been an off campus party the school would have no case. That it happened on campus, well…

    I certainly don’t agree with this by any means but if the school had a zero tolerance policy and the students were aware, then their case is much weaker.

    I never make any comments at work and when I say something ‘off-color’ in any public area I look around first.

    I’m not paranoid just careful.

    I know I shouldn’t have to but that’s todays’ PC climate. I’m not going to give them another ‘hate’ statistic and end up in jail.

    • IstvanIN

      Ah, residence hall. That does make a difference. At work we are told that a comment is offensive if overheard by another employee not a party to the conversation. I believe, however, that the offended person is supposed to ask the offenders to cease making the offensive comment before they are allowed to take it to a higher authority.

  • Even as an undergrad, if some university hack official had pestered me about what I’d said at a private party, I’d have told him to go get effed.

  • A Freespeechzone

    This reminds me that children of socialist societies are brainwashed to report private conversations in the home that don’t follow the party line.

    The next step, unless stopped, being punished for thoughts; unless stopped.

  • RHG

    “In the face of media scrutiny and growing faculty concern”
    I am sure the only reason for the “scrutiny and growing faculty concern” is because a black guy became collateral damage in the campus PC Nazi’s war against white males.

  • SouthronKittie

    They have to complete Bias Reduction and Bystander Intervention Training.
    I can only imagine a big ugly feminist butch coming up with that name.

    • 1stworlder

      The funny thing is that sort of training actually makes some people wake up.

    • Don’t you mean Biased Ultimate Leftist-Liberal Sexual Harassment Intuition Training?

  • The Final Solution

    Lewis and Clark is an ultra-liberal arts college in the Portland area. Similar to Reed and Evergreen College. Easy to get away with gestapo tactics against 20 year old college kids. I can’t imagine if these campus security goons confronted me about some “comments” I made in private. I don’t think they would get anywhere.

  • FeuerSalamander

    The white student should have known better, whites do not have black friends.

  • A Chinese friend and I used to do the same thing in grad school in Australia. Everett’s joke was that Sayaka was part of a sinister plot to give my children slanty eyes, to which I replied that I was part of an insidious scheme to give her children big noses and brown hair. We had a great time.

    He even joked about my being part Injun: “You can dilute it out all you want, but you can never get rid of it all.” My usual reply was “Are you wearing enough sunscreen, Everett?”

    We had a great time, and I miss him. I wish he was here. I can’t imagine two friends like us or the guys in the article joking about race between themselves and this being subject to outside criticism. Who’s business is it except their own?

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Is it possible, just possible, that as reactions like this to supposed “racism” become more and more hysterical and totalitarian, that there will eventually be a huge societal backlash? Let’s hope so.

    • Anna Tree

      Sometimes this new orwellian world we are in is so ridiculous, I can’t help but wonder if it is not all a plot to indeed trigger whites to revolt, regroup and build only-whites countries.

      I fear it is not: the liberal leftists are just that crazy…

      Oh well, any ways, we will revolt, regroup and build only-whites countries. It’s better like that. For us.

      • They’re obsessive-compulsive. It can’t be fixed.

      • Norseman

        A dissident behind the former Iron Curtain, I believe it was in the former Soviet Union, said something to the effect that the real purpose of propaganda is not to convince people of the truth of the message. The purpose is to humiliate. By getting people to parrot absurdities and obvious untruths, their dignity and their ability, and perhaps motivation, to act and think rationally is destroyed.

        If I’m not mistaken, it was the British writer Theodore Dalrymple who made the comparison with the current hysteria of political correctness.

  • none of your business

    The administrators obviously have never heard blacks talking among themselves. They use the words MF and N****r every other word.

  • MBlanc46

    Best of luck to FIRE, but parents of students who are treated this way by Neo-Stalinist school administrators should start suing their @sses off.

    • thomasdosborneii

      This whole thing proves that they aren’t really trying to bring the races together in an atmosphere of mutual understanding, but drive them apart. The universities are in thrall to big government totalitarian desires or else big money donors who want an enslaved population of cowed and un-unified workers. Totally “1984”.

      I agree with you, MBlanc46, these people need to sue, and sue severely (as do all others put into similar situations of totalitarian nonsense all across the country). After all, the only ones harmed, here, are the two students. Do they think getting a lawyer would be too expensive? One doesn’t have to have a lawyer in order to file a suit. One can get books that tell you how to do it; any college student could master the procedures. They wouldn’t even have to get very far, as due to the media furor all this has generated already, the University would be more than willing to settle out of court (and might even be ordered to by their liability insurance company). In a settlement, one should go for the throat, make it really hurt. Because in litigating civil trials, you only need a bare majority to select the winner and I am sure that a majority would easily favor both the white boy and the black boy who were friends having fun and causing trouble for nobody. They make a very fascinating pair of plaintiffs, I would say, and for sure the college would have to be generally hated on several levels, even in insane Portland, Oregon.

      • The university administrators involved should also be individually named in the lawsuit. This way, they could potentially lose their homes.

      • Strike_Team

        The whole idea is to divide and conquer. Keep the races fighting. Keep everyone’s attention focused on battling each other so the usual suspects, the tribe, can go about their business, running things. Running them into the ground before running away. Even if there were no whites, the folks behind the curtain would keep the friction up between blacks, hispanics, asians, everyone else. And they would still portray themselves as victims, forced into horrible situations like running the fed, rigging Wall Street, controlling the media.

  • dd121

    The Lewis and Clark Central Committee has spoken.

  • Zimriel

    And then to be “fair” they hammered the black person too. Probably she’s now an “Aunt Jemima” amongst her peers.

  • Zimriel

    Their loyalty is to the team. If they’re stuck together and their status depends on them working together, they can’t have time for racial consciousness.

    • John R

      But, in the end, blacks ALWAYS have time for racial consciousness. White people just fool themselves that way. In the military, on a team, in any group endeavor. We think we can just forget race; we can’t.

  • John R

    I think the White students should be disciplined for socializing with black people. Stay the heck away from them, for your own good!

    • Some of the blacks who attend universities are not militant losers. I knew exactly one at Santa Cruz. Percy was OK. He was also very light-skinned; a quadroon at most.

      • John R

        “Some of them are really nice….”
        Grow up, please! Do you think that the minority racists will ever stop hating us just because “Some of us are really nice and not racist”? PLEASE! No matter how “nice” we act toward them, they never forget to side with their own. You think the 96% of black people who voted for Obama never encountered any “nice” White people? You think the blacks who celebrated the acquittal of double murderer O.J. Simpson never encountered any “nice” White people? Please, wake up. You have been too long on this site to say something so foolish.

        • I did say there was only one of those. Rare as hens’ teeth they are.

          • John R

            No offense intended, friend. I just get tired of White people who absolve minorities of all their hateful group behavior just because they have some minority friends; this is something minorities never do for us, no matter how kind we act toward them.

  • Marcus

    Tribalism is never good, there is a way to solve our problems without hate.
    The fear of life is the cause of all our anti-social, self-destructive, neurotic habits of behaviour and relationship with one another, and with the earth itself. We have found that a simple act that we call ‘looking at yourself’ washes away the fear of life and heals the mind of anyone who will try it just once:

    1. Close your eyes. Notice the symphony of sensations and thoughts about sensations rising and falling within you.

    2. Notice that you can move your attention to one or another sensation or thought at will.

    3. Now use that same beam of attention to look for the feel of what you would call ‘me’ – a faint sensation that is what you feel like to yourself.

    4. Try to ‘look at yourself’ whenever the thought of it comes to you. You cannot fail if you just try.

    That’s it, you’ve done all that needs to be done to bring you home to the beauty and satisfaction that are to be found in a human life lived without fear.

  • Dale McNamee

    When I was in college, I kept to myself, speaking little to anyone, let alone “joking” with anyone…

    I kept the same “rules of engagement” when I was working and was deemed “anti-social”, “not a team player”, etc. The HR rep at one company confronted me over this and wondered why I “didn’t participate” in corporate activities. I asked her : ” What ever happened to coming to work on time,doing one’s job well,and going home ?”

    She had no answer…