A college in midwest America discouraged 9/11 memorial taking place within its campus because it may create an environment where “students from a Muslim background would feel singled out and/or harassed.” Ripon College, a small liberal arts college in the state of Wisconsin, at an August 2018 meeting with a local chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), criticized a poster created by the group that referenced eight Islam-related acts of violence against Americans as part of the group’s planned 9/11 commemoration.
The college’s action prompted YAF to take to their blog to say: “Citing bias reports filed during last year’s 9/11: Never Forget Project, administrators at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, ruled that YAF’s 9/11: Never Forget Project posters are creating an “environment” where “students from a Muslim background would feel singled out and/or harassed.” As a result, Ripon administrators will not allow the Ripon Young Americans for Freedom to hang the flyers as part of their work to remember the victims of September 11 or other victims of radical Islamist terrorism.
“When leaders from Ripon YAF pressed administrators in a meeting to explain what was objectionable about the posters which merely depict history, the school’s “Bias Protocol Board” failed to provide anything more than the usual bizarre leftist excuses that rely on feelings, rather than facts, to back up their censorship.
“According to administrators, the objections were “raised to the administration and the bias incident team about the environment that that [the poster] creates… That because of the focus, in this case relentlessly on one religious organization, one religious group, one religious identity—in associating that one religious identity with terrorist attacks which go back far before 9/11 and after 9/11— creates for some students here an environment which they feel like they are not able to learn.”
“Administrators reminded the students that Ripon college is a private institution and therefore Ripon can decide what it feels is appropriate for display on campus and what is not. According to the administrators, they are allowed to rule on bias complaints using a “cost-benefit analysis” where they seek to understand “to what extent does something advance” or “hinder… the educational mission of the institution.”
“…Administrators further—and falsely—claim that one of their objections is because radical Islamist terrorism “represents a small percentage of the terrorist attacks that happened to this country, and they don’t represent the full gamut, and they show a very small picture of a specific religion or nationality instead of the larger viewpoint.”
The college Administrators further pointed out that YAF’s poster seem to suggest that terrorist attacks were only carried out by extremist Islamic groups, and that Muslim students on campus may be affected by it, as it sends the message that all terrorism happens by Muslims.
One Administrator said that the intent of YAF is admirable and suggested discussing Buddhist terrorism in Myanmar.
A YAF representative said, “Ripon administrators (should be reminded) that being a private institution does not render it immune from criticism of its decisions, especially when they attempt to censor key moments in our nation’s history that would be forgotten if not for bold Young Americans for Freedom activists such as those in Ripon YAF.”
In adding why its poster was relevant, the YAF spokesman added: “Students of history will recall that the Iran hostage crisis was “America’s first searing experience with Islamist terrorism,” and that ISIS rose out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and al-Qaeda carried out the deadly attacks of 9/11, as well as other attacks highlighted on the poster.”
A spokesperson for Ripon College firmly denied that administrators had banned the posters, pointing out that the school does not have a policy requiring students to clear flyers and posters with authorities in advance, and that the same poster had been put up on campus in 2017:
“Ripon College did not ban the posters … Ripon’s posting policy never requires prior approval for posting … When these were posted last year, it led to a vigorous debate on campus, including counter postings.”
The college further provided a photograph of one of the posters hanging on the campus in 2017, with a counter-poster next to it which read “Get to the point, focus on the victims of 9/11, not on Islam”.
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