Two students on probation after a passerby heard a race joke during a party

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Reporter

Total Shares
This is the CRO SBAR

  • A pair of football players at Lewis and Clark College, one black and one white, referenced an inside joke at a party.
  • Nobody at the party was offended at the racial joke. But a passerby reported the players.
  • The two are now on unconditional probation.
  • An inside joke made at a party has sparked Lewis and Clark College (LC) in Portland, Ore., to hand down severe disciplinary sanctions on two football players—one black and one white.

    According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a national university free speech organization that has reprimanded the school in a six-page letter, a pair of friends exchanged some inside jokes while at an off-campus party in November.

    “Most universities will say that they share dual commitments to free speech and to the ideals of diversity, civility, and inclusion. But when incidents like this bring those into conflict, universities often seem to think they have to pick one over the other, and free speech often loses out when they do.”   

    During a game of beer pong, a black football player named his team “Team N***a.” Each his team scored, he shouted its name. At one point, the pair referenced an inside joke and exchanged two sentences roughly along the lines of "Can I get a 'white power?'" "White power!" 

    While no one attending the party was offended, another student passing by heard the slurs and reported them. The school then hauled the two players before the College Review Board, which found they had used “discriminatory language” and placed the players on unconditional probation for a year.

    If the players were to get in trouble again during the probation period, they could be suspended from the college.

    “And as for this case, I think universities are prone to taking incidents like these and thinking the solution is simply to go after and ban the offending language and punish its speakers, trampling on their right to free speech in the process,” Peter Bonilla, director of FIRE’S Individual Rights Defense Program told Campus Reform.

    “Most universities will say that they share dual commitments to free speech and to the ideals of diversity, civility, and inclusion. But when incidents like this bring those into conflict, universities often seem to think they have to pick one over the other, and free speech often loses out when they do.”

    The letter FIRE sent to LC on April 18 outlined the organization’s free speech and due process concerns and ultimately asked for the charges to be dropped and for the players’ records to be cleared. FIRE is hoping to hear back from the university within the next few days.

    According to Bonilla, this case isn’t unique.

    “As for campus parties in general, I see the hypersensitivity especially toward theme parties as getting distinctly worse and knee-jerk accusations of racism and discrimination over even mildly subversive or satirical themes becoming more predictable all the time,” he said. “In those situations, students’ sense of the right not to be offended is on full display.”

    LC, which is a private institution and is not held to the same First Amendment standards as public universities, declined to comment on the case.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @katie0509

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

    More By Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    LATEST TWEETS

    Mensrights reddits
    @mensrightsrdt - 1 hour ago

    @kaelynpk @K_Schallhorn @campusreform your citations are insufficient. http://t.co/I8R9lv70QD Your most RECENT is at least 7 years old.

    Mensrights reddits
    @mensrightsrdt - 1 hour ago

    @kaelynpk @K_Schallhorn @campusreform If we only condemn violence when it is against women THAT IS THE DERAILMENT http://t.co/vbo5YUg0vp

    Mensrights reddits
    @mensrightsrdt - 2 hours ago

    via @K_Schallhorn & @campusreform: student reporter says raped men shouldn't be heard in feminist rape convos. http://t.co/tASCt7UtE9

    jjgop
    @jjgop - 2 hours ago

    "He is a member of a hate group (SSI) and I think he comes in with a fishy agenda." http://t.co/Jly0UJkAiK via @campusreform

    Mens Rights Movement
    @MensMrm - 3 hours ago

    Student: Men who have been raped still have more privilege than women http://t.co/NVUydz6zos via @campusreform

    Immaculata Colbeck
    @vomuvuzuqin - 4 hours ago

    @campusreform @CalebBonham Harvard students are walking Robots indoctrinated by http://t.co/CbyQP9SK4e

    Toniey
    @AntoniusFstar - 6 hours ago

    @campusreform NEW HEAT 18 YR OLD HIP HOP ARTIST/DIRECTOR/CEO. TONIEY-THE SIEGE VIDEO #STARNATIVE #FUTUREATL http://t.co/TORrGVCNlm

    Michael Lee
    @Mike1282 - 7 hours ago

    @mearmstrong77 ok.@campusreform shown a video of students blaming america on @FoxNews and @FoxNews blames the students of be un american

    Michael Lee
    @Mike1282 - 8 hours ago

    @mearmstrong77 I'm not a troll. @campusreform is partisan. Watch their videos ok

    Latest 30 Articles