February 22, 2008

Max Karson's Latest Attention Scheme Results In Diversity Training

CU student and self-styled provocateur Max Karson's latest foray into the world of the First Amendment and adolescent attention-mongering has resulted in--you guessed it--mandatory "diversity training" and other politically correct "reeducation". The goal? A more "nuanced" Campus Press staff at CU:
The University of Colorado student newspaper's staff will undergo diversity training and meet other measures outlined Thursday by CU officials in response to a column published earlier this week that said Asian people should be rounded up, "hog-tied" and "forced to eat bad sushi."
. . .
On Thursday, five editors of the Campus Press and faculty advisor Amy Herdy met for 90 minutes with Paul Voakes, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to talk about how to deal with fallout from Karson's column.
. . .
He said the Campus Press also will work with Dave Martinez, the school's diversity coordinator, to establish a Student Diversity Advisory Board composed of non-journalism majors who "represent a broad swath of interests on the campus," which will provide editors with regular feedback.

The Campus Press also agreed in the meeting to:

Invite student organizations to meet face-to-face with the editors.

Adopt an "opinions policy," with standards and procedures for determining the acceptability of opinion columns or reader-generated content.

Schedule a series of diversity-awareness workshops for the entire staff with the CU Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, with participation of professional journalists of color.

Host a series of workshops for opinion writing and editing, to be presented by experienced professional opinion editors.

"I'm confident that the current crop of editors has begun to develop a new, more nuanced understanding of the delicate balance between absolute free speech and journalistic social responsibility," Voakes wrote. "I also want to apologize on behalf of the school for the upset that our student publication has created."
Instituting "diversity training" seminars and a kangaroo non-journalism-but-PC-advisory-board are hardly startling, especially for a moonbat liberal campus that can't seem to grasp satire (even if poorly written).

What is disappointing is the dean's necessarily PC notion of trying to "balance" between "absolute free speech" and "journalistic social responsibility". Karson's column--distasteful and perhaps misguided--and the editors' decision to run the piece can and should be criticized. But blurring the line of free speech latitude with cumbersome PC "advisory boards" and the ambiguous "social responsibility" mantra is the true threat in this instance.

Karson is a hack, albeit a dedicated one. CU's damage control went into overdrive (as it has in the past), seeking to deflect or mitigate another potentially damaging story. Where are the Ward Churchill acolytes to support Karson's free speech protections? Or is there (yes there is!) a double-standard? Had Karson targeted white Christian conservative males, there would surely be cries in defense of his rights to push the "boundaries" and challenge the status quo. Instead, he chose Asians as the vehicle for his satire.

Karson may not be funny, but once again the joke is on CU.

The Drunkablog has more background on Karson's previous free speech flaps at CU.

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