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September 27 2016

Gorillas in the Dissed: Images of the Primates Banned From University of Kansas Dorm

Charlotte Allen

And you thought the "war on men" was only a war on human men!

Silly you! Campus Reform reports:

An RA at the University of Kansas was advised against incorporating an image of a gorilla into a jungle-themed floor decoration because the animal apparently represents “a very masculine image."...

“I think it would be best if your floor chose a different theme animal to be more inclusive,” Assistant Complex Director Dale Morrow wrote in an email at the start of this academic year. “First, gorillas represent a very masculine image, and I feel that this would not be inclusive to all of our residents on that floor.”

“Second, this animal could be triggering to some people as their [sic] are stereotypes that surround this animal,” he continued, noting that all the RA would need to change “is the picture and the words.”

I can't tell whether the RA in question has something against the species Gorilla gorilla, whether he actually meant to include all primates in the ban, or his gorilla revulsion was somehow related to the Harambe ban at Clemson University, also reported by Campus Reform:

A Clemson administrator sent an email to Resident Advisors (RAs) Friday instructing them to demand that freshman remove all Harambe references from dorm hallways and windows.

The administrator claimed Harambe’s death has been used to “add to rape culture” and can be “form of racism.” An RA further added that any student who disobeys these instructions will be “in trouble.”

“We are no longer allowing any reference to Harambe (or any other spelling) to be displayed on doors, halls, billboards, or windows,” the instructions state. “Harambe should not be displayed in a public place or a place that is viewed by the public.”

[Graduate Community Director  Brooks] Artis even implied the threat of Title IX being used against those who display exterior-facing Harambe meme, saying, “my hopes are that you are being inclusive in your words, whichever you choose to say, so that you are not reported to OCES or Title IX for using bias [sic] language against someone."

However, Artis does claim that freshman will still be allowed to say the name “Harambe” without administrative punishment.

“While we are not banning the word, I want to encourage you to think about what you are saying and how someone who may be a different gender, race, culture, or sexuality than you may take the comment,” Artis writes.

Poor Harambe! First killed in an unfortunate zoo incident, then turned into a non-person (or non-primate, if you will).

Top administration at both universities later disavowed both the Harambe ban and the gorillas-in-general ban, saying they didn't reflect institution policy. But it's still troubling that college personnel feel obliged to censor images deemed too "masculine."

And I'm also troubled by the signature line on the KU statement, captured in a screenshot by Campus Reform: Next to RA's redacted signature is the following printed notation: "(He/Him/His)." A list of preferred-gender pronouns obviously.

Is this something that all of us will be forced to add to our signatures in the future? Or just at our increasingly wacky and increasingly unfree college campuses?

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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