All sorts of heady lessons getting learned on college campuses these days.
Locally, it was students at the University of Minnesota feuding with school administrators -- and each other -- over a "BUILD THE WALL" sign painted by College Republicans on a campus bridge. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler defended the sign as deplorable-but-allowable under the First Amendment.
That very same amendment was invoked by Kaler's counterpart at the University of North Dakota, where president Mark Kennedy says two instances of self-documented racism are not in violation of the school's code of conduct.
The North Dakota students involved in these separate but equally ugly incidents won't face any punishment -- except for the enduring images of them mid-racism, which will live online for some time.
In the first case, a couple white girls and a really happy guy appeared on Snapchat with the caption "Locked the black bitch out." According to Raw Story, they'd found a phone a black student had left behind, and did the most obvious thing: Posted something under her Snapchat calling her a "black bitch." And laughing.
The second incident came just two days later. A small group of students -- again, some girls and a guy -- posted an image of themselves wearing what look like face masks for skin care. They decided to make a joke out of their temporarily darkened skin, writing, "Black lives matter" as an accompanying message.
That's the thing about Snapchat. Without the ability to add offensive captions, these are just photos of college kids havin' fun! With the captions, they're an interracial incident waiting to happen.
Kennedy announced results of a campus investigation on Wednesday, the Grand Foks Herald reports, stating the students involved are protected under free speech laws. That means he can't enforce the "zero-tolerance" policy called for by black student leaders.
"While I appreciate the desire for such a policy, it is unachievable under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The challenge we all face is to find the balance between wanting to eliminate expressions of racism and bigotry and supporting the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. If we value freedom of speech, we must acknowledge that some may find the expressions of others unwelcome, painful, or even, offensive. We can, however, speak out and condemn such expressions, and we can work to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment."
One suggestion toward a "more welcoming and inclusive environment," Mark? Teach these idiots how Snapchat works.
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