College Suspends Student for Six Months for Saying Black Women Are ‘Not Hot’

Courtney Such, College Fix, December 14, 2015

Saying that black women are “not hot” got a Colorado College student suspended for six months–appealed down from 21.

The sanction against Thaddeus Pryor was not the only action the school took against offensive comments posted Nov. 9 on the anonymous social-media app Yik Yak: His friend Lou Henriques was expelled.

Their jokes took place on a night where the Yik Yak conversation on campus was centered around the theme #BlackLivesMatter.

What started off as raising awareness quickly became “mud slinging,” Pryor told The College Fix in a phone interview. When someone wrote “#blackwomenmatter,” Pryor said he joined in, anonymously replying, “They matter, they’re just not hot.”

Pryor immediately regretted his crass remark. “I was ashamed, because some people were clearly upset” over the post, Pryor said. “So I deleted it.”

But when Pryor walked through the student center the next day, he learned his comment did not go unnoticed.

Publicly shamed, then framed

“Some people screenshotted the most racial things said [from Yik Yak that night], and they blew them up onto banners and hung them up in the student center in front of the dean’s office,” Pryor said.

One of the screenshots was his six-word post. A Student Life disciplinary panel brought Pryor in for questioning, where he learned that someone had reported him as the poster for almost all of the offensive posts.

Senior Associate Dean of Students Rochelle Mason, Dean of Students Mike Edmonds and Assistant Dean of Students Cesar Cervantes decided in less than 24 hours that Pryor should be suspended for 21 months–the exact time it would take him to finish his degree–and prohibited from being on campus.

In addition, Pryor was forbidden from taking courses for credit at other universities because of his crass remark. Because Henriques had a prior disciplinary record, he was expelled for a similar post, Pryor said.

{snip}

In a lengthy appeal letter to Edmonds, Pryor said he voluntarily admitted to posting the “not hot” comment despite Mason and Cervantes having “no evidence” other than hearsay that he was involved with the Nov. 9 posts.

He said the college violated its own rules–not only by failing to inform him of his alleged violations until he was sentenced, but by incorrectly recording in “sanction papers” that Mason and Cervantes had even informed him of alleged violations of the “student Code of Conduct.”

“During my hearing, rather than presenting me with my possible violations then investigating my actions and how they may have constituted those violations, I was simply treated as broadly guilty”–not just of posting the single comment, but all offensive comments that night, Pryor wrote.

{snip}

The “entire situation” on Yik Yak Nov. 9 actually began with crass comments targeting white students, calling them “dirty hippies with small dicks” who are “always fucking their cousins,” then moving on to mocking Muslims and even “Smurfs,” Pryor wrote.

{snip}

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education intervened in the situation late last month, telling President Jill Tiefenthaler in a letter that the college must honor its “moral and contractual obligation” to its students’ freedom of expression, as laid out in the Pathfinder student guide.

Colorado College has yet to reply to FIRE’s letter, according to FIRE. It has already missed FIRE’s Dec. 2 deadline of changing the sanctions against Pryor and Henriques.

{snip}

As a private school, Colorado College is not bound by the First Amendment, but it could be held liable for violating its pledges.

{snip}

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.